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New Year, New Horizons - Africa

Pam Sornson

Posted on December 22, 2018 14:12

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Africa has been, literally, in the dark for centuries, despite industrial revolutions rolling on almost everywhere else. New opportunities for renewable energy, however, are promising to both light up the continent and provide its citizens with a bright new future.

Hallelujah - 2018 is over!!! These past two years have been disillusioning, as government chaos and corrupt politicians have worked to erode long-standing protections of civil rights and the environment. The incoming U.S. House of Representatives promises at least some level of accountability and perhaps even a set of brakes on the occupants of the oh-so-White House. Hopefully, the repeals will stop and we will have a respite until the next election opens new doors to a brighter and cleaner future.

In the meantime, though, I have been heartened by how the country - and the rest of the world - has rallied together in defense of common environmental ideals. Watching the climate crisis unfold seemingly unfettered has helped me to clarify not just what those environmental ideals are, but also why we have them and why we continue to need them going forward. So now I'm hopeful that those of us who may have been taking our clean air and water for granted will step up and be more proactive in terms of protecting and extending the protections around them.

Ergo, I will continue writing about progress in the fight against climate change and environmental destruction. Imagine my delight when my research revealed efforts in Africa to bring light to millions of its citizens. I'm excited to share what I learned with everyone who is invested in getting and keeping our planet clean and green.

Africa's Quest for Power - Renewable Power
Despite rapid and expansive industrial development in most other corners of the world, much of Africa remains both undeveloped and in the dark. Not only is a lack of power hampering industrial, economic and social growth, but the lack of lighting keeps millions of people in darkness every night, eliminating their opportunity for productivity at home. The impact on health care, education, and commerce is also negative and demoralizing.

Low access and insufficient capacity - One in four (24%) Sub-Saharan citizens has no or limited access to power.

Unreliability - On average, African manufacturers suffer through 56 days per year of power outages, resulting in almost two months of lost productivity. Those that don't have backup power resources can lose as much as 20% of their annual revenues because of the blackouts.

Expensive - In the developed world, electricity costs as little as $.04 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). In cities in Sub-Saharan Africa that have some form of a utility system, the cost averages $.13/kWh. In areas where there is no such system, companies often use diesel-powered generators, which raise the cost of electricity to three to four times as much as the utility customer pays, and adds CO2 and other pollutants to the air, besides.

As dire as these statistics are, there is much to be hopeful for regarding the status of Africa's emerging energy industries. The continent is awash in naturally occurring renewable energy sources, and global investors are working to harvest them. You'll read about those here.

Pam Sornson

Posted on December 22, 2018 14:12

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