African dilemma and the right energy path (4)

Favorable climate and sustainable energy supply and use can coexist in a complementary and sustainable way in Africa. For this to happen, many important issues need to be brought to the attention. First, Africa needs to develop a policy that addresses both problems simultaneously as a two-way street. The interwoven issues, the required interaction and the changing socio-political environment will have to be placed in the right and right context.

Adnan Z. Amin, in the Renewable Energy Renewable Energy Agency's Renewable Energy Roadmap, wrote: "Africa faces an enormous challenge in the field of energy, and because of the growing population and economic progress the demand for energy is increasing enormously. rapid expansion of supply on the continent, to which all forms of energy must contribute in the coming decades. "One of the areas throughout Africa, in which Amin's remarks are eloquent, is the revolution of the mobile phone with various functions and millions of poor Forcing Africans to ask for electricity. Other forms of portable devices requiring repetitive use of electricity are now emerging.

Although Amin recognizes that Africa has been richly endowed with fossil and renewable energy sources, he warned that "a constant dependence on oil and gas along with traditional biomass combustion for energy will bring significant social, economic and environmental constraints." Reasoning before "Africa therefore has a unique opportunity to pursue sustainable energy development as a basis for long-term prosperity," he insisted on "a firm commitment to accelerating the use of modern renewable energy sources" as part of the efforts to to tackle the contemporary energy challenge on the continent.

More than a billion people around the world do not have access to electricity; most of them are in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In reality, less than 20 percent of the population in Africa has access to electricity – a situation that is much worse in rural areas where less than five percent are connected to the net. Africa can use modern renewable energy to eliminate power shortages, bring electricity and development opportunities to rural villages that have never enjoyed these benefits, boost industrial growth, create entrepreneurs and support more prosperity across the continent.

The largest infrastructure shortage in Africa can be found in the energy sector. As observed by the World Bank, the power generated in all 48 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, with a combined population of more than 750 million, is about the same as for Spain, a single European country with less than 50 million inhabitants. Africa therefore urgently needs power supply that is accessible to everyone and can be updated through appropriate investment and political commitment to connect every corner of the continent, even though the electricity grid now seems to be overdue with solar power. The alternative that Africa needs now must be cheap, easy to use, decentralized and effective enough to provide millions of people with electricity in the shortest possible time. Solar energy is therefore the option that stands out here.

Modern renewable energy sources can thus enable a cost-effective transformation to a cleaner and safer energy sector. Especially in this effort are Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa. Some other smaller African countries, including Cape Verde, Djibouti, Rwanda and Swaziland have also set ambitious targets for renewable energy. Others follow this and renewable energy is increasing on the entire continent.

Because of its ubiquity, the solar energy comes in handy. Africa is around the equator. With an average of 325 days of bright sunlight a year, solar energy remains one of Africa's most abundant but scarcely used sources. According to the latest Global Solar Demand Monitor from GTM Research, plants will reach 104 gigawatts this year, which means an annual growth of 6 percent. Thereafter, annual installations will easily exceed the 100-gigawatt milestone to at least 2022. Installations in China, which reached 53 gigawatts in 2017, are expected to fall back to 48 gigawatts in 2018. Despite the decline, only China is still counted as a bookkeeper for 47 percent of the worldwide demand this year.

The analysis by GTM Research stated that Spain will again appear in Europe this year, while France will position itself firmly as one of the three largest European markets. Egypt and Brazil are expected to become gigawatt markets for the first time in 2018. The mention of Africa in this analysis lay in the reference to the Middle East and North Africa, including Egypt. As the costs go down, wind and solar energy are becoming more and more comparable with new fossil fuel alternatives in a growing number of countries. China remains the dominant player, but India is increasingly coming to the forefront. The government policy ensures more competition through renewable auctions, which reduces costs further.

A publication about the Sustainable 2017, Market Report series: in 2018 revealed that Latin America will add 5.6 gigawatts and the Middle East and North Africa will add 4.7 gigawatts, which means an explosive year-on-year growth of 61 percent and 281 percent, respectively. The global solar PV market will add more than 100 gigawatts of capacity for the first time in 2018. Nowadays solar panels are a mass product, spread over the roofs of superstores and suburban houses and flourishing in huge fields from California to Mongolia. In Africa, deployment requires much more capital than existing sources can offer, and institutional investors are promising targets.

Varun Sivaram tried in his new book, Taming the Sun, a road map to lead the solar industry to the brightest future. He also warned that solar energy can hit a dead end, with defective technology that limits growth. The argument of Sivaram was that the solar industry has grown enormously in the past decade as a result of the broad support of the government and the costs that have led to competition against fossil fuels. "That progress has been made possible not by a technological breakthrough – silicon cells have been in use since the 1950s – but by large-scale production, especially in China, which has created economies of scale."

He expressed the fear that these silicon panels would hit their economic and technical boundaries in the 2030s, while in the meantime they had stifled more advanced rival technologies. His solution is therefore innovation: in electricity networks, in financial structures and in solar technology. Sivaram wrote that "the first priority of the US government should be to drastically increase the funding for applied R & D to pioneering solar technologies."

The growth trend is worth our attention. The Global Solar Demand Monitor stated that the expected 81 gigawatts in 2017 was more than double the installed solar capacity in 2014. And it was 32 times more solar than ten years ago. In the year 2000 the total installation amounted to 150 megawatts. By 2022, global capacity is expected to reach 871 gigawatts; that is about 43 gigawatts more than expected cumulative wind installations by that date. And it is more than double the current nuclear capacity.

According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), manufacturers in sub-Saharan Africa experience an average of 56 days of shutdown per year as a result of power outages. Energy generation based on fossil fuels is the most expensive form of energy worldwide, but it is the largest source of electricity generation in Africa. A significant part of the electricity generated on our continent comes from non-renewable resources such as petrol, natural gas, coal and other fossil fuels. These fuels remain expensive and have dangerous consequences for our health, the environment and the climate.

One piece reads as follows: "One of the core challenges where African countries continue to grow and develop is energy: meeting the increasing demand for electricity, transport and other uses in a way that is economically sustainable and secures the livelihood. changing lifestyles and the need for reliable modern energy access are expected to require at least a doubling of the energy supply by 2030. For electricity it should even triple. Africa is richly endowed with renewable energy sources and the time is right for proper planning to make the right choice. The decisions that are made today will determine the energy consumption of the continent for decades. & # 39;

This transformation would cost on average $ 70 billion per investment year between 2015 and 2030. "While the energy sector is the most visible candidate for energy transformation, the opportunities in the heating and transport sector are also considerable." A complete review of Africa's energy supply is already long ago, but this requires a higher penetration of renewable energy in the three sectors and would bring huge socio-economic benefits. "

Up to now, African leaders may see the opportunities that renewable energy offers for their nations. Therefore, policies are needed to encourage private capital, including public-private partnerships, to share costs and risks and build capacity in local financial sectors to increase access to loans and other forms of financing. Recently, Google invested $ 12 million in Jasper Power Plant in South Africa, a solar energy project planned to deliver nearly 100 megawatts of clean energy to the country.

The core of solar energy is sustainability; and Sivaram seems to strongly advocate sustainability in the solar business in its new book. How to find a delicate balance between energy generation on the one hand and use on the other hand and keep our environment safe and sustainable in the future remains a huge and recurring challenge that needs to be tackled so far. This should interweave knowledge, investments and continuous adjustments into a robust plan that is both proactive and responsive. Africa can only hope to find and retain its rightful place in the emerging economy of today and the future if it has control over energy supply and use while at the same time making the environment worthwhile.

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