Those of you following our Microgrid Lab project know that we’re interested in supporting the United Nations Foundation on the U.N.’s “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative, one of the most important efforts imaginable. As described on its website:

Energy is central to nearly every major challenge, and opportunity the world faces today. Be it jobs, security, climate change, food production or increasing incomes, access to sustainable energy for all is essential for strengthening economies, protecting ecosystems and achieving equity. 

In fact, more than 1.4 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity, and 1 billion more only have intermittent access. Some 2.5 billion people – almost half of humanity – rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made sustainable energy one of his five priorities that will guide his second 5-year term. Universal access to energy, improved efficiency and enhanced deployment of renewable sources are ambitious goals, and the Secretary-General is leading a Sustainable Energy for All initiative to make them achievable. The goal is to meet three objectives by 2030:

• Ensuring universal access to modern energy services.
• Doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency.
• Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

In recognition of the importance of energy access for sustainable economic development, the United Nations General Assembly has designated 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.

SFIP looks forward to supporting the MicroGrid Work Group of the U.N. Foundation’s Practitioner Network, and the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. The MicgroGrid program, which is already being assisted by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, is designed to deploy functioning microgrids at a rapid rate throughout the developing world. As such, it represents a perfect “proof-of-concept” for many of SFIP’s key methods, especially the development of community-scale solutions that can be diffused and scaled for global impact on systemic challenges. We can’t think of a better way to start 2012.

Happy New Year!