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Solving Africa’s energy crisis

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African entrepreneurs are introducing new technologies in solar power to fill the gaps in the African energy landscape. Image credit: Africa Energy Indaba

Solving Africa’s energy crisis

Entrepreneurs are introducing new technologies in solar power to fill the gaps in the energy landscape.

By Africa Energy Indaba

Rapid advancements related to technology have certainly rendered life easier than ever before. However, such progression is driven by energy and many regions in the world are quickly running low on means to generate it. With over 600 million people devoid of access to electricity, Africa is a region amid an energy crisis.

Despite Sub-Saharan Africa’s booming population, the region has a an extremely low electrification rate. The average electricity consumption in the largest African countries is less than one-tenth of what is consumed in large countries, such as China or Brazil.

Meanwhile, most residents of Sub-Saharan Africa are living in the dark without any access to electricity. This burgeoning power gap continues to hamper Africa’s economic growth as the lack of affordable energy staves off new ventures and investments.

Further, those who do opt to conduct business in the region are plagued with the high costs of generating their own electricity or operating in-house generators. These solutions cost them up to six times more than what people are paying for electricity around the world.

Moving beyond traditional methods  

Such high costs of power generation can be attributed to the means through which power is currently being generated in Africa. As the cost of fuel and diesel rises, traditional methods of power generation no longer represent a viable option.

To make electricity more accessible and affordable for the rural part of Africa, entrepreneurs and governments are moving beyond such traditional methods and leveraging renewable energy to bridge the power gap.

Apart from proactive efforts to expand Africa’s power grid to make electricity more accessible, there is a need to embrace the continent’s abundant renewable resources.

African entrepreneurs and innovators are now introducing new technologies in solar power to fill the gaps in the African energy landscape.

These ventures use mobile money to finance large scale projects that power households in rural Africa.

Creating job opportunities

Most of the African population lives below the poverty line, with 70% of households earning less than USD5000 per annum.

Companies utilising solar power to meet demands are making electricity more affordable for low-income areas with their sustainable business model.

Solving Africa’s energy crisis

Increasing the prevalence of solar power is not only more affordable but also less time consuming than conventional alternatives.

Furthermore, it reduces Africa’s dependence on imported fossil fuels that trigger soaring electricity prices.

In addition, new projects involving solar power are creating job opportunities and improving household incomes to build a brighter future for Africa.

Addressing the energy gaps

Additionally, the focus on bridging continental energy gaps implies an understanding of the disparities in energy access across different regions of Africa.

By addressing these gaps through the deployment of innovative technologies there is a potential to create more inclusive and equitable energy systems, positively impacting economic development, healthcare, education, and overall quality of life.

As the world undergoes a climate change crisis, turning to renewable energy, such as solar power, is the ideal solution for Africa to reduce emissions and build a more sustainable energy landscape.

In its embryonic stages, solar power is said to meet 15-20% of Africa’s energy consumption requirements.

Meanwhile, the advancement in technology has brought forth new innovative techniques such as the Internet of Things (IoT), that is powering smart grids and electricity systems optimised for technology.

As solar grid systems become more sophisticated through this new technology and other forms of renewables are integrated, transformation of Africa’s energy generation will bring about new economic growth and prosperity for the region.

Moving forward

As the investment in renewable energy sources increases, it is upon African governments to encourage and accelerate the growth of renewable energy across the region.

Governments can start with defining political targets and adapting regulatory practices for renewable energy generation. Access to energy is a fundamental human right and African nations need to be prepared for the new wave of renewable energy to transform and sustain the continent’s energy landscape.

The upcoming Africa Energy Indaba is Africa’s esteemed energy event and is supported by Strategic Partner, the African Union Development Agencyand with the full support of the South African Government Host, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE).

This signature event is set to host riveting, engaging and pertinent discussions as well as feature an exhibition showcasing and covering renewable energy innovations to bridge Africa’s energy gaps with a focused Renewables Indaba conference programme.

Such technologies are not only aligned with global climate change policies but represent the optimal solution to ensure a more accessible and sustainable energy realm across the region that is Africa.

The event highlights a recognition of the importance of technological advancements in overcoming energy challenges and improving access to reliable and sustainable energy sources across Africa.

WhyAfrica is a media partner at the Africa Energy Indaba that will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 5 to 8 March 2024.

Solving Africa’s energy crisis

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Solving Africa’s energy crisis

 

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