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Jamais Cascio, 14 Apr 05

swera.jpgSWERA -- The Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment -- is a site from the UN Environment Program which serves as an information resource about (you guessed it) solar and wind energy resources in thirteen partner countries. Notably, all thirteen are in the developing world: Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya in Africa; Bangladesh, China, Nepal and Sri Lanka in Asia; Brazil, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua in Latin America. The tools provided by the SWERA site range from maps and regional assessments to support for decision-making software and geospatial/GIS planning kits.

The overall aim of SWERA is to bring sustainable energy approaches to developing countries through increased investment in renewable energy projects. The database and analytical tools developed through SWERA will help governments develop realistic energy policies and programmes that are based on sound knowledge of available renewable resources.

SWERA doesn't try to fund projects or coordinate activities; rather, its purpose is to make the information available which will make those projects and activities possible in the developing world. The "About Solar and Wind" page is a good example of the site's value: a clear, structured set of links explaining the tools for measuring solar radiation, the models and satellite data available, and how to set up a ground measurement station. And while the thirteen participating nations are the focus of the data collection, the SWERA site also includes links to solar/wind assessments, tools and projects across the globe.

This is one of the many UN programs quietly making a difference, even while higher-profile controversies rage.

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