WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, the House passed the Electrify Africa Act of 2014 (H.R. 2548) which aims to expand access to electricity to sub-Saharan Africans in an effort to reduce poverty, improve health, foster educational opportunities, and create jobs. The passage of this legislation was led by California Republican Edward Royce and New York Democrat Eliot Engel, along with 116 bipartisan cosponsors, and it marks an increasingly rare case of energy legislation passing the House with bipartisan support.
In response, John Coequyt, director of the Sierra Club’s International Climate Program, released the following statement:
“The Sierra Club applauds Reps. Royce and Engel for not only reaching across the aisle to bring this important issue to the forefront but for advancing a bill that is free of controversial amendments in an effort to protect safeguards against carbon pollution at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
“Focusing our efforts on expanding access to 21st century energy technology, coupled with a combination of falling solar prices and increasing improvements in energy efficiency, will allow us to provide the energy services many Africans need to further their development opportunities. This will afford more energy access at lower costs, and as home solar system prices continue to fall, these cheaper, smaller systems will be able to power the modern technologies Africans need -- like energy efficient lights, cell phone chargers, fans, and televisions.
“As a result, the Electrify Africa Act will create an unparalleled opportunity to catalyze 21st century distributed clean energy solutions to energy poverty rather than focus on outdated and polluting approaches. Just as mobile phones leapfrogged land line telephones, distributed clean energy will be the fastest, cheapest, and most effective means of solving energy poverty. By passing this clean energy bill, Royce, Engel and their colleagues are working to ensure a clean energy future for hundreds of millions of Africans currently without power.”
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org.