DE can reduce unhealthy air pollution thus improving quality of life.
Conventional energy production accounts for a majority of the world’s polluting emissions. The wider use of DE can create positive impacts in terms of health on at least two levels.
Power generation accounted in 2004 for 41% of total man-made CO2 emissions. The power sector also accounts for large proportions of heavy metals, NOx, SOx, and dust. WADE research has demonstrated that DE results in much lower emissions of these pollutants in most cases.
Studies have shown that pollution has quantifiable effects on people’s health in both industrialized countries and emerging economies. Examples of studies exploring the health costs of centralized electricity generation include one in Canada by the Ontario Government and one in the United States by the Harvard School of Public Health. Because DE results in the same energy services with less fuel use and less pollution DE is one approach for effectively reducing the negative health impacts of energy provision.
In developing areas of the world a supply of clean DE can have significant positive health impacts by displacing traditional fuels or improving the means by which energy is derived from them. Providing biogas to residences in developing regions to replace direct burning of fuels such as dung and or wood can drastically increase indoor air quality because it is cleaner burning and allows for more complete combustion.
Supplying DE for electricity can also result in improved hygiene by allowing refrigeration or improved water supply with the introduction of pumps. The effectiveness of remote clinics and hospitals can also be increased by introducing electric light and the ability to refrigerate vaccines and medicines.
DE, like the solar panels at this health clinic in Mali, can improve the effectiveness of health facilities by allowing refrigeration for medicine and lights.