We certainly need cheap renewables like solar, coupled with batteries, to clean our grid and mitigate climate change. But these technologies also hold incredible promise as economic development lifelines for remote indigenous communities.
The Guardian recently profiled a growing indigenous renewable energy alliance in Australia:
Only a handful of Indigenous communities have embarked on renewable energy projects in Australia. The Indigenous-owned and -operated company AllGrid Energy, for instance, has installed solar panels and battery storage systems to replace diesel generators in the Aboriginal communities of Ngurrara and Kurnturlpara in the Northern Territory’s Barkly Tableland. Within two months of the system being installed in May 2016, people were moving back to their homelands from Tennant Creek, the communities growing from just two permanent residents to about 40.
As these technologies become cheaper, not only will the developed world benefit, but historically disadvantaged communities across the globe will have access to clean, cheap power for their hospitals, homes and businesses.