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A project to map renewable energy resources in developing countries was launched on 24 December by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Solar and Wind Energy Survey Assessment (SWERA) will start by analysing the potential for renewable energy in 13 developing countries. The survey aims to remove uncertainty over the extent of solar and wind energy resources, and to provide reliable site-specific information on the viability of individual projects.

The project expects to uncover massive potential for the production of clean energy. A recent study in the Phillippines showed that wind power there could generate tens of thousands of megawatts of energy, not just a few as had previously been supposed.

“If we can accelerate the deployment of renewable energy, we can not only bring down the costs, but also help in the fight against global warming and poverty”, says Klaus Toepfer, executive director of UNEP.

SWERA will be an international collaboration between UNEP and national organisations including India’s Tata Energy Research Institute and the Brazilian space agency. An initial three-year pilot phase of the project — costing over $9 million — will be conducted in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cuba, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sri Lanka.

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Full text of UNEP press release

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