U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
U.N. Finds Huge Solar and Wind Potential in Developing Countries
April 27, 2005
Thirteen developing countries hold the potential for thousands of
megawatts (MW) of solar and wind power, according to the preliminary
results of a study by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The UNEP announced in mid-April that its Solar and Wind Energy
Resource Assessment (SWERA) project has found the potential for 26,000
MW of wind power in Sri Lanka, as well as 7,000 MW of potential wind
power in Guatemala and 2,000 MW of potential wind power along Ghana's
border with Togo. The project has also carried out studies in
Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cuba, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras,
Kenya, Nepal, and Nicaragua. The $9.3-million project, largely
supported by the Global Environment Facility, started in 2001.
One specific result of the project was the finding of significant wind
power potential in Nicaragua, prompting the Nicaraguan National
Assembly to pass a decree that gives wind-generated electricity
priority over other options when fed into electricity grids. The
U.S. Trade and Development Agency and Inter-American Development Bank
have subsequently launched wind energy feasibility studies in
Nicaragua, and two wind projects totaling 40 MW are now moving ahead.
See the UNEP press release and the SWERA Web site.
DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is contributing to
the project, which uses satellite data, ground-based instruments, and
computer models to assess wind and solar energy resources in the
13 countries. Results from six of the countries are available on the
NREL Web site.