As African Presidents, Prime Ministers, and business leaders arrive in Washington to attend the first US-Africa Summit, one topic that will be paramount in their discussions with President Obama and his Cabinet is: how governments and families can access affordable electricity across the African continent. Consider the facts: one in three Africans, that’s 600 million people, has no access to electricity. Neither do some 10 million small and medium-sized enterprises. Those homes and businesses fortunate enough to have power pay three times as much as those in the United States and Europe; furthermore, they routinely endure power outages that cost their countries from one to four percent in lost GDP every year.Despite the fact that Africa is blessed with some of the world’s largest hydropower and geothermal resources (10-15 GW of geothermal potential in the Rift Valley alone), bountiful solar and wind resources, as well as significant natural gas reserves, total power generation capacity in Africa is about 80,000 megawatts (MW) (including South Africa), roughly the same as that of Spain or South Korea. As Africa enters its 20th consecutive year of economic expansion, with the World Bank forecasting that Africa’s GDP growth will remain steady at 4.7 percent in 2014, and strengthening to 5.1 percent in each of 2015 and 2016, the continent needs more electric power. Specifically, Africa needs to add 7,000 MW of generation capacity each year to meet the projected growth in demand, yet it has achieved only 1,000 MW of additional power generation annually. Over the last week I visited Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, two of Africa’s so-called ‘fountain states.’ The resources in these two countries – along with Guinea, Ethiopia, and Uganda – can generate enough hydroelectricity to satisfy the growing demand in Africa. I saw the range of applications for which this power is needed, and I saw clear solutions. In Eastern Cameroon I visited the construction site for the Lom Pangar hydropower project. Once construction is complete and the reservoir is filled in the next couple of years, this new dam on the Sanaga River will improve the reliability of power supply and lower the cost for up to five million Cameroonians. The Lom Pangar project will also pave the way for developing the full 6,000 MW of hydropower potential of the Sanaga River by regulating the flow of the river. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, last week, I visited the Inga hydropower site on the mighty Congo River. DRC’s overall hydropower potential is estimated at 100,000 MW, the third largest in the world behind China and Russia, yet only 2.5% of this key resource has been developed. With 40,000 MW of generation potential, Inga is the world’s largest hydropower site. Its proper development can make Inga the African continent’s most cost-effective, renewable source of energy with an estimated generation cost of US$ 0.03 per kilowatt hour with little or no carbon footprint--a significant added virtue.
Governments, businesses, investors and others are embracing the ‘green economy’ idea, but differences in the way they interpret it pose barriers to sustainable development, according to a report published today by the International Institute for Environment and Development and the Green Economy Coalition.
Solar energy group SunEdison announced on Wednesday that it had secured R1.8-billion in development finance from the US government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) for its 60 MW Boshoff solar park project, being developed in South...
Energy is a priority sector for Ugandan-German development cooperation. Since 2004, the German Government and the German KfW Bankengruppe have provided more than 120 million Euro in grants, loans and technical assistance to the sector, which is aimed at improving power generation from renewable energy sources, increasing access to power especially in rural areas, as well as promoting the sustainable use of biomass.
The African Renewable Energy Fund (AREF) announced that it raised $100 million to support small- to medium-scale IPPs. The fund is targeting a final close of $200 million within the next year to invest in grid-connected development stage renewable energy projects (small hydro, wind, geothermal, solar, biomass, and waste-to-energy).
State-owned electricity producer Eskom, which declared its fourth power emergency of the 2013/14 summer maintenance season on Thursday morning, began implementing load shedding from 9:00, causing shops to shut, disrupting cellular networks and raising fresh concerns about the constraint being placed on South Africa’s already poor growth outlook by the country’s electricity shortages. It was the first time that the utility had resorted to rotational load shedding since the country’s power crisis of 2008, during which mines were shut, factories reduced output and offices and households across the country were left without power for extended periods.
The world’s leading wind-turbine manufacturer Vestas, which is building 435 MW of capacity in South Africa and has a further 112 MW advancing towards financial close, has opened permanent offices in Johannesburg, from where it intends pursuing South African and African growth opportunities. In an interview with Engineering News Online ahead of the official opening of Vestas’ Southern Africa head office, global CEO Anders Runevad said the Danish company was once again on a growth drive, following the completion of a two-year turnaround programme, during which it had unburdened itself of €1-billion in debt.
ASHEGODA, Ethiopia (Reuters) - Africa's biggest wind farm began production in Ethiopia on Saturday, aiding efforts to diversify electricity generation from hydropower plants and help the country become...
A Philips Light Center is an area of 1000m2, or the size of a small soccer pitch, lit with new solar-powered LED lighting. It is a communal area which can be used for sport and other important activities such as healthcare clinics, education and evening classes, social events and commercial activities. A Light Center extends the day by enabling communal life after dark. It creates a safe area and supports sanitation programs.Philips Light Centers