Ulf Svane Completes Renewable Energy Project for International Renewable Energy Agency

Aug 6, 2020
Photographer Spotlight

Isn’t it great to be able to pay the bills by doing work you want to be doing? We all have things we want to help improve (or eliminate) in this world through dialogue and imagery, be it educational opportunities for the underserved, institutional racism and its effect on specific communities, or — as with Ulf Svane — renewable energy infrastructure.  

I recently did a project about renewable energy in Saint Vincent & The Grenadines and Sierra Leone for the International Renewable Energy Agency and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

Ulf Svane IRENA St. Vincent & The Grenadines

First stop was St. Vincent & the Grenadines, an island state in the Caribbean extracting thermal energy in order to secure the country sustainable clean energy. 

Ulf Svane Renewable Energy  solar panels

I had great creative freedom. We flew first to St. Vincent & The Grenadines and from there — five stops and 35 hour later — to Sierra Leone. The country has made significant progress in recent years following the civil war, end of the Ebola outbreak, and severe flooding in 2017.

Not only did Ulf get great shots of the countryside and developments, he created portraiture for the corporate side of things as well. He did the same while in Sierra Leone. 

Ulf Svane Renewable Energy Project portrait of a optimistic consumer

But still, the main aspect of this work is the renewable energy, and both places are prime candidates for this — especially a Caribbean island like St. Vincent & The Grenadines, which has big plans for its renewable energy outlook.

Geothermal energy has tremendous prospect for many Caribbean islands, which are largely volcanic in origin.

Ulf Svane Renewable Energy technician outside the plant

The plant on St. Vincent will bring the share of renewable energy sources to approximately 70% of the national power generation. Furthermore, it will avoid the combustion of nearly 4.5 million gallons of diesel fuel each year.

In the case of Sierra Leone, it’s something of a pioneer within its region of the African continent. The country is crafting a solar park near its capital, which will provide that city with plenty of clean energy.

Ulf Svane Renewable Energy child and working parents

With support from the International Renewable Energy Agency and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Sierra Leone's Ministry of Energy is constructing a solar park near the capital, Freetown. This will provide the city with clean and reliable energy and be among the first large-scale installations in West Africa.

Ulf Svane Renewable Energy portrait of a happy woman

Ulf completed this work with first-time clients, who lauded the photographer’s ability to “show people with dignity” and capture everyday situation in a “real and unpolished way.” The Dane's work, which was created in conjunction with a pair of video assets, will be used by both clients online and during conferences around the world.

I was invited into the project via Muasya Media and Phoenix Design Aid, neither of whom I’ve worked with before. I've long wanted to work more with topics like environment and renewable energy, so I was super pleased to be part of the team.

We had some really positive feedback from both the clients as well as from colleagues across the sector. The local partners were all super proud of the projects and how they were contributing to a brighter and greener future for their country. 


Phoenix Design Aid: Yeliz Cicek
Muasya Media: Vibeke Muasya, Benjamin Muasya & Bella Muasya
IRENA: Job Mutyaba
Videographer: Anders von Holck
Video editing: Liva Asmussen 

Check out more of Ulf's work at ulfsvane.com.

Check out our other great photographers on our Find Photographers page!