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.
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.
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:
During the 1990s almost all infrastructure in Rawanda was damaged. In the past few years, however, Rwanda has made significant progress to recover its economy and solar energy is starting on the path to what could be a fantastic Cleanleap. One of the big stories is the work from GigaWatt Rwanda Limited in developing the first grid-level solar electric generating plant in the East African region.
At the bottom of our oceans and buried deep beneath permafrost surrounding the arctic circle is a vast store of methane – a natural gas produced by the anaerobic decomposition of millions of years of organic matter. Estimates vary but even conservative figures suggest there may be over a thousand gigatonnes of methane precariously stored as ice crystals under high pressure and low temperature.
Some 120 Km North-West of Nairobi, a group of Kenyan engineers work tirelessly to drill as many wells as possible at the Olkaria Geothermal Plant. Located right in the central part of Kenya; a region considered as one of the most exciting geothermal prospects in the world, it is the first geothermal power plant in Africa. The facility is in Hell's Gate National Park on the eastern edge of the Eastern Rift Valley. At this rate the engineers are drilling more than forty wells in a year. Each well has the capacity to produce 18MW of energy annually.
A debate that focuses only on fossil vs wind / solar oversimplifies the energy sector and discounts the drivers for why countries make energy decisions– namely available resources, energy security and existing capital investments. One result of this shortsighted view is that hydropower is often left out of the discussion. As our mission at Cleanleap is to share knowledge on clean technology in emerging economies so projects are deployed more effectively we think its important to focus on hydro.
Ethiopia has a defiant will to stand out. This will extends to its efforts to become a world class developer of clean energy sources like wind power. Ethiopia has become a major exporter of energy in the region and has embarked on a journey to harness its clean energy with a goal of producing over 1.3 million megawatts of electricity from wind.