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.

Hyperloop One to debut in UAE

Hyperloop One, the firm who have carried and developed the brain-child of tech-innovator Elon Musk, has signed a deal with the Dubai’s head of transport. On the 8th November, the company announced that it’s highly likely the very first version of the futuristic transport system will connect Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
In a promotional video, the company claimed that the journey between the two cities which traditionally takes about 1 and a half hours, will take just 12 minutes inside the Hyperloop. The high-speed transportation system would use electric propulsion to accelerate a passenger or cargo pod through a low-pressure tube at speeds of up to 700mph. The vehicle would levitate above the track, which is likely to be built on stilts above the ground.
Hyperloop One, which hosted its Dubai announcement at the top of the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa – has signed a feasibility deal with the emirate’s roads and transportation agency. The firm has said they will explore the feasibility of testing the technology at Dubai’s Jebel Ali port, where they hope a successful testing period will lead to further confidence from the city and countries officials.

It is important to note that due to the extreme innovation behind the Hyperloop, it’s still very much in the preliminary stages and therefore, the details revealed were very limited and it’s likely to be a considerable amount of time till we see this system get anywhere near public use.

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.

 

Germany’s Key in Increasing the Uses of Green Energy

The majority of the world’s energy consumption is still supplied by fossil fuels. Even though this type of source has negative impacts on environment and has a limited quantity, the world still hasn’t found a satisfying solution to replace it.

The improvement of technology creates another alternative, which is the natural and renewable energy. The use of natural energies grows each year, but its development is low because their cost are more expensive than fossil fuels, therefore more economic sacrifice. A study shows that even though the a great number of Americans favor green energy, most of them are less willing to pay more for it. Another downfall of natural energies is that they’re climate-dependent and need to be backed-up by a more reliable source, such as fossil fuels and nuclear, which add expenses to the costs. Some say that “trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work”. So should we change our aim for a green energy and change it to develop nuclear energy ?

But, there is still hope for natural energy ! In just a dozen years, Germany has managed to replace around 30% of its nuclear and fossil fuel produced electricity with natural energy. This phenomenon could be explained by how Germany’s power supply is managed. In comparison to a centralized power plants that aims to meet the demand of energy in most countries, the German system is decentralized and includes more than 2 million small and medium scale renewable producers (businesses, farmers, villages, towns, co-ops, etc.) whose numbers keeps to increase over time. Their output are traded from locality to locality and even internationally via intelligent networks.

This transition was accentuated with Merkel’s decision to shut down a third of Germany’s nuclear reactors, following Fukushima’s disaster in 2011. This decision encouraged renewable energies to progress and fill the gap.

What happens in German shows us that with motivated leaders and the right policies, it is possible to little by little replace non-renewable energy source with renewable source. Much technological progressions are still need to be done because as we saw earlier, green energy is still expensive and unstable. We have to keep in mind that increasing the uses of green energy is possible.

Visit these websites to learn more : theblaze, foreignpolicywikipedia

To help spreading the use of green energy, Shanghai Metal Corporation manufacture a wide range of solar panel according to your request. Visit our website to discover more and feel free to send us your inquiry if you need any question. Follow us on social media to be updated on our products.

    

Credits to theblaze, foreignpolicy, wikipedia
Pictures from Google image.

Ayu P.//SMC editor