For the pursuit of oil, wars and global conflicts were and still flared up throughout human history. Countries are invaded with civil wars or third-party interventions, refugees are enforced to flock to other countries, and war-torn societies are facing more and more challenges. Of course, oil should not worth such a dilemma. But how can a peaceful development be realized without energy security?
Climate change and energy security: two sides of the same coin
With a closer scope to the global conflicts which are happening for years, we can see that they are mostly for the sake of non-renewable energy sources: the fossil fuels. However, the driving force behind such conflicts is not energy safety but rather money and individual power. That thereby caused geopolitical tensions and the exhaustion of natural resources.
Burning fossil fuels is one of the main reasons for climate change. In 2017, the global greenhouse emissions from fossil fuels and industry increased by 2%, reaching a high record of approximately 37 billion tons of carbon dioxide, according to the report Global Carbon Budget 2017, conducted by the Global Carbon Project (GCP).
Clean renewable energy is the key solution
As a matter of fact, countries lacking access to reliable energy sources, especially the modern energy services, have fewer opportunities for general human developments such as economic growth. 1.06 billion People of the world population still do not have access to electricity; besides 3.04 billion others still rely on solid fuels and kerosene for cooking and heating (the State of Electricity Access Report (SEAR) 2017 by the International Energy Agency and the World Bank). Those households are for instance exposed to high levels of indoor air pollution, which is associated with high rates of mortality and morbidity. Especially women and children suffer the most of this pollution.
In Egypt, more than 99% of its people have access to electricity, whereas more than 90% of the power generation relies on oil or gas. With the drastically increasing population, an increasing rate of energy consumption is expected. Thus, a fast-growing pollution rate is inevitable. This explains the urge behind the country’s growing renewable energy projects: the Egyptian government has recently adopted a long-term strategy of diversifying the country’s energy mix. This will include a renewable energy contribution of around 42% to be achieved until 2035 through upcoming joint ventures with local and international organizations.
Energy is fundamental to all aspects of development
SEKEM knows since it’s beginnings that a peaceful development is possible if we ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all and thereby supports the seventh Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 7) by various renewable energy projects and activities among all its members.
At the household level, SEKEM has introduced for instance Biogas units to its contracted farmers. Two years ago, an application of a soil-surface Biogas unit was implemented in the rural areas of Beheira. Out of animal manure, it produces methane gas, to be used in cooking and heating instead of the nature-incompatible butane gas. This system of extracting clean renewable energy from biological wastes was also underground-installed at the premises of SEKEMs contracted farmers in other areas.
Together towards sustainable energy
On another advanced level, SEKEM also develops various solar energy research projects. In 2013, SEKEM installed its first photovoltaic system with the support of the DEG (German Society for Development) on the roof of the Heliopolis University. The system does not only generate electricity for the Engineering Department of the university, but does also serve the students as an efficient tool for trials and research. Also, in cooperation with other local and international partners, SEKEM established three solar water pumps on its land in the oasis Al-Bahariya. It guarantees a sustainable irrigation system that works by solar energy instead of diesel generators.
SEKEM Energy, the Austrian partner company of SEKEM, has been working on raising the business awareness towards the high-potential solar energy in Egypt for almost eight years. That is done through conducting so-called Training the Trainer (TOT) sessions that provide sustainable energy solutions for agriculture in Egypt. The SEKEM Energy program is not only targeting the SEKEM staff but also officers from interested parties in the Egyptian renewable energy sector.
100% Renewable Energy in SEKEM by 2050
Having an eye on the future and foreseeing the upcoming challenges, has determined SEKEM’s vision since its establishment in 1977. 40 years ago, SEKEM founder Ibrahim Abouleish started to work on those upcoming problems by a holistic approach. Today it is the bigger SEKEM community that developed a vision for the coming years. In this strategy, SEKEM formulates among others its intention to run all business activities by renewable energies until 2050 – a new mission contributing to a 40-year-old vision. And still, SEKEM wants to foster a sustainable and peaceful society in Egypt by a holistic development approach; certainly by an affordable and clean energy that enables a secure and harmless livelihood for all people.
40 years ago, SEKEM was founded with the idea of sustainable development and building of a prosperous future for Egypt and the world. For SEKEM, sustainable development is not a fancy topic to talk about, but the core business. SEKEM commits itself to the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and works to fulfill all 17 SDGs. SEKEM measures its holistic concept with the Sustainability Flower. The flower represents a management, assessment and communication tool symbolizing the concept of sustainable development in its four dimensions: economic life, societal life, cultural life and ecology.