Is government intervention hampering private investment into East-African renewables?

Many experts believe the contribution of governments within East-Africa is slowing the speed of growth in the renewable energies sector. Government involvement in the design, development and operation of mini-grids is deterring potential private investments; private investments into East-African renewable energies were predicted to surge in recent years but this has not been the case.
Experts from within the sector are pointing the finger at government agencies that are crowding out the developers using legal and political tools that are in need of reforms. Private companies have indeed shown an interest in investing but they have insisted the power and subsidies given to government companies need addressing if their investment is to be warranted.
Kenya’s ministry of energy has said that overall electricity access has increased within the country from 23 percent in 2009 to 50 percent in 2015; however, the unequal distribution of this electricity is still highly prevalent with much of northern Kenya still deprived of such resource. Regions such as northern Kenya have access of about 5 percent. It says eight out of the 20 poorest parliamentary constituencies “where 74 percent to 97 percent of people live below poverty line” are found in this northern region.
A number of renewable energies companies would happily address this problem, through investment into the northern and other neglected territories of Kenya, however, the unfair position of power given to Kenya’s Rural Electrification Authority (REA), just completely deters these prospective companies.

In countries such as Kenya, which has such vast areas which do not have access to any electricity, mini-grids are definitely a better option to grid extension; it provides better quality and more reliable electricity to remote areas.

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How drones are revolutionizing the construction industry

Drones have been one of the fastest growing phenomenon’s in the last few years, both in terms of private and commercial use. To be the expansion into context, back in 2012 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimated that by 2012, 30’000 drones will be operating in US airspace; at this current time (2016) around 2.5 million drones are operational in the United States, of which 500’000 are being used commercially. Unsurprisingly, the FAA has since revised their forecast and now predicts the country will have 7 million drones in the air by 2020.
Many believe drones are the next step in the process of the ‘industrial revolution’. Before the availability of the modern cranes and industrial equipment, we rely so heavily upon today, laborers would be forced to complete every single job on the construction site by hand. Jobs that today take months to complete would have in years gone by taken years, and in maybe 20 years time, the jobs we see today taking months could take weeks, thanks to the use of drones.
Assessing the earth for the foundations of construction is also something that a drone can be considerably more efficient for. Traditional land survey equipment gets the job done and provides accurate results, however, when the apt software is installed into a drone, it will also attain accurate result but it will complete the job in a time 85-percent quicker at a cost of 10 times cheaper than traditional methods.
Furthermore, the job a project manager is also made fundamentally easier through the assistance of drones. In years gone by builders manually assessed project dimensions, which would predominantly be unreliable, timely and costly.  By using drone data tools, the drone can automatically measure essential projects components, such as stockpile volumetric, whilst also sending instant feedback to the project manager who can begin analysis.
Drones are becoming increasingly common in day-to-day life but this is just for leisure, more importantly, drones are becoming more and more prevalent in a variety of industries but none more crucially than construction. Construction is an industry very much built on efficiency, in the sense of cost and time; hence the reason drones potentially have such a pivotal role to play, when the above reasons are taken into consideration.

You would be a brave person to bet against drones being a key player in the next industrial revolution.

VERTICAL FARMS: ECO SOLUTION FOR URBAN CONSOMMATION

As the world population continues to expand everyday, one of the main question of today’s researchers is to find new ecological and sustainable solutions to feed everyone.

In big cities, most of the food come generally from the outskirts of their territory. Having little space or even none at all, urban zones cannot produce their own food and rely their food stock on productions outside of their active territory. Therefore, the system is mostly based on peripheral to central relation that consists mainly on feeding the large number of population concentrated in the central or in the city itself.

DICKSON DESPOMMIER, an american professor of microbiology and public health, has proposed a solution concerning this matter : THE VERTICAL FARM CONCEPT.

 

So what exactly is it ? 

The Vertical Farm consists of cultivating plants mainly for human consumption such as vegetables within a skyscraper or on a vertically inclined surface, hence the name. The concept is almost similar to glass houses which captures the optimal natural sunlight. The use of artificial lightning is also possible to accelerate the growth of the plants and to modify their properties according to different dietary preferences.

The idea of this concept is a possible answer to some of the urban issues we mention before :

1. Vertical surfaces are more suited for the lack of space in urban cities.

2. Producing food IN the urban zone reduces pollution related to transportation, food waste, etc.

3. Vertical Farms permit to produce various types of food in a small surface and therefore can satisfy different needs of the population.

Various models of Vertical Farms :

Singapore’s and world’s first commercial vertical farm
Spanish architect Javier Ponce reveals his plans for a vertical farm in Tai Po
Completely constructed from glass and steel, this model is just one of Despommier’s designs of a vertical farm

Tell us your opinion about this farm of the future ! Brilliant ideas like this one is important in times like ours where the main goal is keeping up with the population growth by maintaining a good environmental level. Shanghai Metal Corporation shares this vision and wants you to spread innovations like Vertical farming and sustainability.

As representatives of the metal industry, Shanghai Metal Corporation is one of the leading businesses in the manufacturing of metal quality products in the global field. As a major producer of metal related products and reliable services, our most important value is to promote environmental sustainability.

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Maria // SMC Editor

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Maria // SMC Editor