Adoption of biomass power generation technologies in Africa has been challenged by a variety of factors including high capital costs and lack of feedstock. However, with biomass contributing to only 5% of power production in the continent, these projects hold a promise to helping boost the much needed power in developing world. It is not only the largest biomass power plant in Africa, but Gorge Farm AD Plant in Kenya will be Africa's first anaerobic digester.
Availability of reliable, low-cost energy is the cornerstone of economic development and is a primary limiting factor for many developing countries. We share knowledge on an energy sector which is undergoing massive change with new technologies that will provide cheaper, more accessible and cleaner energy.
Sanitation and water treatment in the developing world is set to change with the onset of the Omni Processor. The Bill Gates and Melinda Gates Foundation have decided to invest in a machine that turns sewage into drinking water and can also generate energy. Just as importantly it is relatively low-cost, making it a technology that can be rolled out quickly in emerging economies.
The Pew Charitable Trusts launched a report Power Shifts Emerging Clean Energy Markets in May, tracking the investment in renewable technology in developing countries. The report provides some great statistics on where investment is occurring, predicts future growth and examines in detail the top spending in the 10 leading developing countries, which includes Kenya.
In 2007 the government of Rwanda established the NDBP (National Domestic Biogas Program) in partnership with SNV (The Netherlands Development Organization) and GIZ (The German Development Organization) as financial and technical support partners. The objective of the program was to develop a commercial and sustainable domestic sector, substituting firewood with biogas for cooking and increasing agricultural production through provision of bio-slurry as a fertilizer.
The project is estimated to cost a whopping 582 million Euros and provide 300MW of low cost power to the national grid. The wind farm will occupy 40,000 acres of land in Loiyangalani district in north eastern Kenya stretching from 450m at the shores of Lake Turkana to 2,300m above sea level at the top of Mt Kulal. As a result of the daily temperature fluctuations, strong and predictable winds between the lake and the dessert are experienced with expected average speeds of 11 m per second.
Mobile payments, digital financing and innovative financing options are enabling the rapid deployment of renewable energy in Africa. This is good news for a number of reasons – including public health. The World Health Organization (WHO) found that fuels such as wood, dung, coal and other solid fuels - termed as the “killer in the kitchen” causes 1.5 million deaths annually and two thirds of these deaths takes place in sub-Sahara Africa and South-East Asia.
The Rural Electrification Authority in Kenya has provided electricity to around 250 off-grid public schools from November 2014 to date, through solar photovoltaic systems. One school in Narok County – Ngaambani Primary, has not had electricity connectivity for the last 30 years. Through this initiative, the school’s performance has increased with more students able to study in the evenings after class hours and early mornings before regular class hours.
Mobilizing of support from private entities into renewable energy generation in Africa has always been a challenge as the investors shy away from spending on technologies and projects that guarantee uncertain returns. This has had a big impact on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are related to power/energy generation. The Lake Turkana Wind Power farm is one example of how this is changing.
The good news is the improved deployment of cold chain technologies will dramatically decrease food waste in emerging economies. The bad news cold chains will increase emissions due to the refrigeration process - leading to greater climate change. New technologies are being developed to make cold chains more efficient - absolutely critical as they rapidly increase around the world.
Although renewable energy is moving forward on many fronts like wind, hydro and marine energy, it's solar energy– and specifically the photovoltaic panel variety – that is showing the most progress and potential for becoming the dominant source of energy on Earth. This article discusses a few reasons why solar panels may eventually dominate fossil fuel and other renewable resources: