East Africa’s clean energy boom
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Africa is very much in the firing line when it comes to climate change so the recently adopted Paris Agreement – where developed and developing countries alike are required to limit their carbon emissions to keep the global temperature increase to below two degrees celsius – is positive news, although the devil is still in the detail.
The continent’s vast untapped potential when it comes to renewable energy is a hugely significant resource that could bring clean power cost-effectively to many of the estimated 585 million people that the International Energy Agency (IEA) believes are currently living without access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. Energy access improves living standards, especially for women, and also creates income opportunities boosting economic growth.
Even though the national grid is expanding in many countries within Africa, many people are still ‘beyond the grid’ and so not in reach or can’t afford to connect. Off-grid solutions are therefore crucial in meeting people’s energy needs, particularly electricity. One of the major off-grid options from renewable resources is through solar. There’s an enormous potential market because of the amount of money that people spend on fuels like kerosene – which is dirty, smoky and dangerous – for light and heat.