Sunday, October 07, 2012

Unlocking Africa's renewable energy potential

Sunday, October 07, 2012
For example, academics say about abundant solar, wind, water and biomass resources, properly used, that could change the energy picture in Africa. Environmentalists speak of deforestation, unsustainable use of coal in the cities and the risks associated with the production of biofuels. Social entrepreneurs speak kerosene by Pico solar systems to replace. Carbon Traders Select opportunities for wind farms on growing electricity grids. Community activists want programs energy to expand access with hydropower, solar, wind and electricity from cogeneration. Climate changer talk climate protection and adaptation strategies, and politicians make sweeping statements about new investment programmes.

Although the experts each 'right' are their special prescriptions, we land in the noise of the discussions blind for the 'big picture'. Yes, because the right stimuli, renewable energy can and will pull out in sub Saharan Africa. Appetite and resources are unique.

Renewable energies make enough progress in Africa unfortunately not fast. Electricity sector leave still primarily on petroleum, coal, and large hydro. Rural areas have bad power access and remain overly dependent on biomass from dwindling forests involved. Policies are murky, technical capacity lacking, and where there is cash, finance terms are absurd. While making companies in Africa are starved for electricity and fighting, the growing demand in most countries to deliver renewable energy not fill are frustrated the gap quickly enough and renewable energy companies.

As the case is still in many developed countries, renewable energy in Africa must overcome significant financial, political and social barriers. Finances all along the line are primary among these low understanding among all stakeholders, inertia and lack of lack of transparency by Governments and lack of investment. Despite hundreds of small projects by dedicated groups, the entire policy and industrial infrastructure in most countries remains incomplete.

If renewable energy talk, there are two major storylines: first use of renewable energy to build energy infrastructure and secondly use renewable energy to increase access to modern energy services. Growth depends both on the renewable sector. In fact, development of renewable energy infrastructure and increased access are interwoven and not seen. Renewable energy infrastructure-typically has predicates of the use of renewable energy sources to improve the access and attempted use of renewable energy sources, to increase rural energy access without investing in renewable energy infrastructure in many places too much less of an impact.

The 'prerequisites' growth of renewable energies described in long-term cross-sectoral strategies must be coordinated. Must fit the components carefully together like pieces of a puzzle and staged - sometimes sequentially and sometimes as parallel activities. Each country is a different plan is based on it have elements of these components.

Understanding of the situation and how we here

To know where we are and how we here, enough to plan perspective for a renewable future offers us. Now trails the developed world Africa and most of South-East Asia in renewable developments. This has much to do with government policy, donor decisions 20 years ago and a lack of attention by renewable companies even to Africa. It has to do attention to the issue with a lack of civil society.

First energy sectors in many countries are focused on the present crises makes survive. Although it may be easy on paper, that an investment in wind or solar PV is cheaper in the long run, must solve African energy sectors, which require immediate solutions with low. It is easy to see why diesel Gen-sets have such a huge share the culmination of the power supply across Europe won - they are cheap, flexible, manageable and available immediately. Some Governments have to invest long-term budget (or vision) in renewable solutions, even if they are more cost-effective.

Secondly, renewable energies are donor-led investment in grid part of market development problems. Is 1992, that global environment facility (GEF) and donor largely targeted renewable energy in Africa for off-grid rural energy access, programs, to believe that off-grid installations would be best for promoting one scale-up renewable energy in Africa. However during Africa grid sought, much of the rest of the world (Japan, Germany, California and recently China) were building policy to support grid-connected renewable markets. Thus failed Africa focused renewable programs on building grid, which often focused during the 'global' renewable player in fast-growing markets for grid developed-country, because she are isolated, small-scale and were unattractive for international players. For example, while global solar PV systems between 1995 and 2011 95% grid to 95% grid went, spent his planning of resources to expensive grid programs and almost nothing about plans for grid-connected PV PV Africa.

Thirdly, to much of the rest of the world, African energy sectors of centralized coal, petroleum, and large hydro in contrast are haunted. Although a lot of lip service paid, renewable energy, were actual investments of African sectors in biomass, solar, wind and small hydro makes much less than investment in renewable solutions over the last two years. Oil is much money in Africa and renewable energy were able to stimulate not appetite of the leaders in the same way, the oil. Coal and oil players are "old timers" in Africa, but renewable companies are only learn how on the continent to operate.

Once we know where we are, we can do the hard work renewable energy a central component of any energy discussion - and each Ministry program further.

Get renewable energy into the mainstream

Renewable energy must be in Africa 'Mainstreaming'. For this to occur they need to move away from the periphery will be seen and supported as integral, essential components of the energy sector in the country. Also, there is a need for coordination to build renewable infrastructure, increasing access to plans and traditional biomass address sectors. It's all about the message.

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