Alexander Muyekhi, a construction worker from Ebubayi village in the heart of Vihiga County in Western Kenya, and his school-going children can now enjoy a tiny solar kit supplied by the British-based Azuri Technologies to light their house and play their small FM radio.
Sub-Saharan Africa is still far behind in its ability to generate electricity, hampering growth and frustrating its ambitions to catch up with the rest of the world.
Renewable energy is at the forefront of the changes sweeping Africa, and a “triple win” is within the region’s grasp to increase agricultural productivity, improve resilience to climate change, and contribute to long-term reductions in dangerous carbon emissions.
When some 40,000 delegates, including dozens of heads of state, descend on Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference later this year, a group of African women mayors plan to be there and make their voices heard on a range of issues, including electrification.
When, in 2003, Professor Richard Smalley, winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, listed the top 10 problems facing humanity for the next 50 years in order of priority, energy was at the top of his list, followed by water, then food.
Driven by solar and wind, world investments in renewable energy reversed a two-year dip last year, brushing aside the challenge from sharply lower oil prices and registering a 17 percent leap over the previous year to stand at 270 billion dollars.
In response to rising demand for electricity, pressure to keep prices affordable and a need to maintain energy security, the Turkish government plans to increase electricity generation from coal.
India’s Government under Narendra Modi is in overdrive mode to please businesses and investments in the country. The much aggrandised ‘Make in India
’ campaign launched in September 2014 is a clarion call for spurring investments into manufacturing and services in India and all eyes have turned to the power sector which is expected to undergo dramatic shifts.
There’s a buzz in Zimbabwe’s lush forests, home to many animal species, but it’s not bees, bugs or other wildlife. It’s the sound of a high-speed saw, slicing through the heart of these ancient stands to clear land for tobacco growing, to log wood for commercial export and to supply local area charcoal sellers.
Janet Mutoriti (30), a mother of three from St Mary’s suburb in Chitungwiza, 25 kilometres outside Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, frequently risks arrest for straying into the nearby urban forests to fetch wood for cooking.
Diversification of Africa’s electricity sources by embarking on renewable energy solutions – such as solar, wind, geothermal and hydro power – is being heralded as a solution to the continent’s energy poverty.
“People have gathered here to tell their politicians that the way in which we used energy and our environment in the 19th
centuries is now over,” says Radek Gawlik, one of Poland’s most experienced environmental activists. “The time for burning coal has passed and the sooner we understand this, the better it is for us.”
Pressure is building here for lawmakers to pass a bill that would funnel billions of dollars of U.S. investment into strengthening Africa’s electricity production and distribution capabilities, and could offer broad new support for off-grid opportunities.
Although most of Iceland already uses renewable energy for its heating and electricity, a handful of places are still reliant on oil. But, at least on Grimsey island in the north, this could change in the future.
On the roof of a modest house amidst the alleys of Nusseirat refugee camp in central Gaza Strip, Ibrahim Sobeh and his sons spent more than 200 days working on a primitive device that converts waste plastic into fuel.