Biopact--a EU-based organization advocating a green energy pact between Europe and Africa--asserts that developing countries "have everything to lose by simply following fossil-fuel based industrialization, and everything to gain by recasting their development strategies around the prospects for renewable energies and biofuels." In its Biofuels Manifesto, Biopact advises these countries to strategize around renewable energy if they are to avoid the perils that are sure to result from their current dependence on fossil fuels. What does that mean, exactly?
Strategizing around renewable energy is fundamentally different from securing strategic supplies of fossil fuels, in particular oil. To engage in global strategic games (with their deadly consequences in the form of resource wars) in pursuit of security of oil supplies is one thing...The key issues here are military strength, international political and military alliances, and diplomatic maneuvering. But to strategize around renewable energy sources calls for calculations of a quite different kind. This calls for interventionist industry policies to kick-start new renewable energy industries, such as those based on growing and distilling biofuels; or on capturing solar energy; or building wind farms and kick-starting domestic industries to produce PV solar cells and wind turbines. But more than this it calls for sophisticated design of the institutional settings in which a transition to utilization of renewable energy may be effected – from mandating the use of ethanol-petrol blends in motor vehicles, and extending such mandates to diesel-powered machines, to mandating rising proportions of electric power generation from renewable sources; to sophisticated tax measures that offer incentives to move towards energy conservationand efficient fuel usage and disincentives to inefficient fuel use (such as indiscriminate use of SUVs in cities). The point is that strategizing around renewables goes to the heart of an industrial development strategy – and one that is, moreover, tuned to the fundamentals of energy supply and demand, rather than being framed inpurely monetary terms.