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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Africa is becoming a renewable energies headquarters!

The West-African country of Senegal has recently begun the construction of a major solar farm in the sub-Saharan desert, it is a 20MW project located in Bokhol and is called ‘Senergy2’. The project is estimated to cost $28 million and is going to be developed by French renewable energy platform – Greenwish Partners, which dedicates much of its work to sub-Saharan projects. Senergy2 was also financially backed by the Senegalese state; with financial support from the UK and Norway through their joint investment vehicle Green Africa Power, according to local news
When completed and operating at full capacity, it’s predicted that 160’000 people will have access to clean power, a move that will drastically increase the countries chances of 20% renewables by 2017. “With no energy, there can be neither growth nor development. With the Bokhol facility, we are now able to take a new step and Senegal comes unreservedly into a new, clean energy period,” said President Macky Sall.

Senegal is eager to attain a position as one of the continent’s leading countries in renewable energy production, as well as positioning itself as the leader in West Africa; currently, South Africa and Morocco are the flagbearers for the continent.

 

Meet Solar Farm: The Future in City Light & Power

Resembling something out of a movie, the Ivanpah Solar Thermal is the world’s largest solar power plant located in Ivanpah Dry Lake,
California’s Mojave Desert. Occupying approximately 3,500 acres (14.2km2) and grounded on BrightSource’s solar tower technology, the thermal complex produces gross total of 392 MW of solar power.

Over 300,000 garage-door-size mirrors are used to attract the power of the sun in two dimensions and reflect the sunlight to boilers that sit atop three 459 foot tall power towers. A center of earth location in relation to the sun is used so that each mirror in its solar generating system is precisely aligned.

Atop one of the three 459 foot tall power towers

What is so special about Ivanpah Solar Thermal? Economic, social and environmental benefits are many. With the thermal’s construction 2,636 new local jobs were created, generating about $350 mi in local and state taxes. Clean, sustainable and reliable solar electricity serves 140,000 homes on average in California, while 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emission per year is reduced, which equals to removing 72,000 vehicles off the road.

Not only that, the construction of this iconic project was a breakthrough as it kept the majority of the natural landscape untouched unlike other mega constructions. When BrightSource’s 173,000 heliostat pylons were installed, grading and concrete foundations were limited to the maximum, allowing the vegetation to co-exist within the solar field below the mirrors. The project also accounted with an innovative and customized design; excavators operated in the 130-foot wide no-drive zones, traveling in the same tracks through the solar field and installing between 75 and 125 pylons per day, per machine.

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Low environment impact heliostat pylon design

The innovative technology uses the same principal of electricity production i.e. high-temperature steam which turns a solar7conventional turbine, where electricity is produced and transmitted to homes and businesses. The big difference is that at Ivanpah, the concentrated sunlight (and not fossil fuel) strikes the boiler’s pipes and heats the water to create superheated steam. Besides, the technology uses 95 percent less water than competing wet cooled solar thermal plants by employing a dry-cooling process, which uses air instead of water to condense steam. All water used by the steam production cycle is recycled back into the system, or consumed to clean the mirrors, highlights BrightSource.solar8

The Ivanpah Solar Thermal System is “critical to establishing America’s leadership in large-scale, clean-energy technology that will keep our economy globally competitive over the next several decades,” says Tom Doyle, president at NRG Solar. This is the future and the Ivanpah has, for sure, started changing the way we produce and consume energy.

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Shanghai Metal Corporation is proud to follow on news that represent massive step forward for renewable energy as previously reported here. SMC manufactures a wide range of Solar panel aluminum extrusion widely used in solar panels and tin coated/plated copper strip used in solar panel batteries. To find out more, please visit our Website or send your inquiry here. Our English speaking personnel will be more than pleased to help you. Follow us on  LinkedInTwitter, FacebookInstagram and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Or you could try our new mobile app by scanning our QR code.

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Source: latimesblogs.latimes.com, dailyfusion.net, energy.ca.gov, blog.nrgsolar.com, infrastructurenews.co.nz, brightsourceenergy.com, forconstructionpros.com

Picture:flickr.com/photos/brightsourceenergy/sets/72157633434942709/show

Camilla G.//SMC Editor

A Simple Solution to Water Shortages

The world is running out of fresh water and population growth remains on an exponential trajectory. Regions around the globe have been suffering though droughts for a number of years now but in 2014 they reached a catastrophic level.

Both the USA and Australia are reporting record droughts with California and Queensland being hit the hardest.  The drought in California has caused the sate to lose 63 trillion gallons of water and 80% of Queensland is suffering through severe droughts.

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Despite our depleting water resources one of the largest allocations of fresh water is for watering lawns and other landscaping activities.  Recently California passed laws that levy fines on people who water their lawns and this has caused outrage as it has damaged the aesthetics of peoples property.  However, there is another way to get a great looking lawn without using a drop of water.

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Artificial grass is the future of outdoor landscaping as conventional lawns are becoming socially and environmentally unacceptable given water shortages across the world. In the USA 9 Billion gallons are used everyday simply for watering lawns.

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This waste could be entirely eliminated through artificial grass as it requires absolutely no water. Furthermore, artificial grass can be customized very easily to fit any environment.  This means artificial grass can be used to increase drainage which in turn means more water will be sent back into the municipal systems rather than going to waste.  The environmental and water benefits of artificial grass are massive and will be the future of our new environmentally friendly suburban yards.

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Shanghai Metal Corporation is committed to sustainable growth that improves the quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come.  Artificial grass is part of that plan as water conservation is too important of an issue for us to ignore.

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For our full list of products that we offer check out our website here. Be sure to join the conversation in our LinkedIn groupFacebookTwitter and Instagram. Try also our new mobile application by scanning the QR code below.

Jordan S.//SMC Editor

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Sources:

smcbuildingsystem.com/Artificial_Grass–pds6436.html

epa.gov/WaterSense/pubs/outdoor.html

washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/08/28/californias-drought-what-losing-63-million-gallons-of-water-looks-like/

bom.gov.au/water/restrictions/

greenviewfertilizer.com/articles/keep-outdoor-space-green-without-over-watering

Pictures: geekologie.com, designermaterial.com, archiexpo.com

The Cure that Lowers Aggression Caused by High Temperatures

Many philosophers, writers and narrators have for ages shared a common belief that hot temperatures increase violence and aggression. Even in the English language we use expressions such as “hot tempered” or “hot headed” to describe the character of an aggressive person. Scientists have also been interested in this connection for years, and through various studies, they have also found evidence for the correlation.

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Many laboratory, field, correlational and archival studies give an unanimous result: hot temperature causes violent crimes. The emphasis is on the word violent, because contradictional  studies show that crimes also do occur in lower temperatures but they are most commonly non-violent. Also archival studies show that when the weather is hot e.g. a baseball player is more likely to hit the pitcher with a bat (source).

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Still, the correlation between high temperature and violence is not flawless. For instance, what if everybody stayed at home on a hot day? Wouldn’t that prevent at least some occurrences of violence? Time is also a critical factor in this sense. Most of the violent crimes occur during the time when masses of people are most likely to engage in activities at the same time. In general, when a third variable changes the correlation between two variables so remarkably, we are talking about the Simpson paradox. In this case time changes the situation so that the relation between temperature and violence needs some modification.

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Scientists have redefined the correlation and state that when the temperature rises above an uncomfortable level, the probability for aggression and violence rises as well. Therefore it is really important to ensure that especially public places such as schools,  shopping malls and even prisons have an enhanced air conditioning system. A research also shows that drinking cold beverages will decrease the probability of becoming angry (source).

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Especially today, during the times of increased global warming, it is really important for countries and cities to keep their citizens cool. Today when we discuss global warming, the emphasis seems to be on natural disasters or effects on agriculture. What we are very likely to forget that because global warming raises temperatures, the crime rates will also increase. Most global warming experts predict that if temperatures rise between  2°F and 8°F (1.1°C to 4.4°C) the rates of violent assaults will also increase by approximately 80,000 annually.

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A new business idea for areas suffering from global warming (which by the way means everywhere on the planet) is to establish pop-up cooling rooms, places where temperature is substantially low and where people can spend a short time to cool down. This can be easily implemented with refrigerated shipping containers whose temperature can decrease drastically (on extreme even below zero). In order to decrease crime rates and increase public safety we really need to keep even the common people cool and prevent their blood from boiling.

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Shanghai Metal Corporation is a major supplier of high quality refrigerated containers that are equipped with fresh air conditioning system and have a low Co2 footprint. More details about our reefer containers can be found in our website (www.smccontainer.com). Please also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Try also our mobile application by scanning the QR code below.

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Tuomas P. // SMC Editor

Pictures and original articles: Psychology Today, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Sage Journals, Livestrong.com, Usmra.com, Kingwood.com, Everykidwins.com, Photobucket, Crazycreolemommy.com