The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with Bloomberg New Energy Finance recently released their 10th Annual Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment report. The report examines investment in renewable energy technologies such as waste to energy, geothermal, solar, wind, biomass, tidal and small hydropower at a country level. An exciting trend was that developing countries investment exceeded the spend of developed countries for the first time.
There will be a 10 per cent growth in the photovoltaic solar markets around Africa for the coming ten years. This growth, is propelled by a number of factors including government policies that favor adoption of renewable energy, increased environmental awareness for adoption of more renewable energy, viability of these systems as alternatives in powering homes including better costing plans, and the fact that they are becoming cheaper than traditional grid power.
Project Loon the research program with the ambitious vision of delivering global Internet coverage is well underway. And with some luck, by the end of this year we’ll have a great indication of what the project means for the dream of universal Internet access. Project Loon is a flagship of X (previously Google X), the five-year old experimental projects lab fostering so-called ‘moonshot’ projects from Alphabet, the parent company behind Google. By any measure Project Loon is an undertaking of truly global proportions — it involves establishing a fleet of high-altitude balloons that will form a network of Internet-carrying transceivers.
Fear factor - the TV show a number of us watched through parted fingers - almost always featured bug eating (entomophagy). The creators of the show had a knack for choosing the most succulent, squiggly, disgusting looking grubs - a la Lion King. Now scientists are saying insects could be the answer to the world’s food sustainability challenges. Should their thinking catch on; you may just find yourself dining like Simba.
Use of scalable off-grid solutions in advancing rural electrification is important in developing worlds. Last year, Kenya awarded the first utility concession permit to a off-grid power company to generate, distribute and sell power. This year marks an important stage for the project that will demonstrate how these solutions can fit into the agenda, and probably pave the way for entry of more private players of scalable off-grid energy generation and supply solutions.
In Nairobi telecommunications firm MTN have opened a new data office with 70 racks aimed at supporting small to medium sized businesses. Liquid Telecom’s East Africa Data Centre has 600 racks and IBM have recently opened a cognitive cloud computing service in conjunction with Sidian Bank. Kenya is now a growing hub for online supported services and cloud technology not just in East Africa, but across the continent as a whole.
Africa needs to invest in more mini grid and off grid solutions to provide more people with power and support economic growth and social transformation, so says Africa Progress Panel - led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Traditional methods of supplying power are unreliable and experience many challenges, with mini grids and off grids as modern methods can help bridge that gap. Their demand is increasing and costs decreasing.
In late 2004, Kisumu bay, Lake Victoria, was covered in a blue-green hue. The algal bloom - a proliferation of cyanobacteria – demarcated an area of low oxygen and eventually decomposing algae, causing fish to suffocate or flee and contaminating the drinking water- a dead zone. Adapt-N, a software programme developed by researchers at Cornell University seeks to solve this problem.