Last week, 50 heads of state from Africa gathered in Washington, D.C. for the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Among the many topics of conversation, eradicating poverty throughout the continent was a frequently voiced goal. One key component to achieving this goal, particularly in Africa’s sub-Saharan region, is increasing access to affordable electricity.
President Obama pledged to boost U.S. spending for his Power Africa initiative to $300 million annually in order to bring electricity access to 60 million homes and businesses across sub-Saharan Africa through “clean energy” and infrastructure development programs. Upon his announcement, we questioned the efficacy of the president’s commitment as it runs contrary to his actions, which speak louder than words. Since taking office, the Obama Administration has not only vowed to eradicate the use of coal both abroad and domestically but has taken decisive steps to ensure that coal-based power, which is critical to electrification in the developing world, is kept out of reach by encouraging leading financial investors to not fund coal-based power generation.
Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank said during the summit that Africa will need to rely on traditional power sources to grow its economy, including coal, and underscored that intermittent sources like wind and solar have so far contributed little to industrial development. We couldn’t agree more.
Peabody Energy launched its Advanced Energy for Life Campaign earlier this year, and they’ve made great strides in bringing attention to the issue of energy poverty. As the world’s largest coal company, Peabody understands how vital coal is to powering lives, especially those in less developed nations. This is why Peabody’s campaign aims to end energy poverty, a more serious global issue than many realize.
Nearly 3.5 billion people, half the world’s population, lack adequate access to electricity. Peabody is working to change this reality by harnessing coal’s ability to “solve energy poverty, keep energy prices low, fuel the world’s best economies and use advanced technologies to improve the environment.”
Trying to establish a basic electric infrastructure in some of the world’s poorest areas is a daunting task, yet one that will yield life-altering results across the globe. We must harness all our resources, especially affordable, reliable power from coal. Coal keeps the lights on in the U.S., and it must play an important role in bringing electrification to the developing world, helping these families and businesses turn on the lights for the very first time.
If you support affordable, reliable energy in the U.S. and around the globe, take action to protect our future today.