Global warming, renewable energy and how it affects Africa.

Renewable
energy is
energy that is generated from natural processes that are continuously
replenished. This includes sunlight, geothermal heat, wind, tides, water, and
various forms of biomass. This energy cannot be exhausted and is constantly
renewed(Daniel ciolkosz, 2013) .

The global use of renewable energy sources are solar,
wind, hydropower, geothermal, biomass, and biofuel. Over the decade, the
generation of electricity has grown significantly, reaching 19% of total power
generation in 2010 compared with 14% in 2002(Daniel ciolkosz, 2013) .

The rise in the use of renewable energy has mainly
been driven by increased awareness of effects of climate change and
governments’ incentive programs aimed at enhancing the development and the use
of green energy (AFDB 2012).  In 2010 African development bank group
did a survey and gave this report  
Africa still lags behind other regions of the world in electricity
consumption and generation. Electric power in many African countries is still
inaccessible, unaffordable, and highly unreliable (AFDB 2012) . About 90% of
the rural population in Sub-Saharan Africa has no access to electricity, with
Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali and Sierra Leone among the most severely under-powered.
Some USD23 billion per annum (AFDB, 2010)”. In Nigeria for example, electricity
is still very unreliable and expensive, and has been a major clog in our quest
for economic development . Different political parties often make energy one of
their major campaign topics during election, with promise to improve
electricity generation and supply when voted into power, but this has often
time ended as just being a campaign promise , as the situation  do not change when voted into power. The
report by the AFDB in 2012 revealed that Africa is rich in renewable resources
and could benefit from the increasing use of renewable energy, such as
hydro-power(potential estimated around 1,750 TWh) and geo-thermal energy
(estimated at 9,000 MW), but this huge potential has remained untapped. Africa is endowed with substantial
renewable energy resources. The region has 1.1 Gigawatts of hydropower
capacity, 9000 Megawatt of geothermal potential and abundant biomass, solar and
significant wind potential (Karekezi and Ranja, 1997). The renewable energy
resource potential in Africa has not been fully exploited, mainly due to the
limited policy interest and investment levels , and lack of technical capacity
on the part of local investors and entrepreneurs, and financial capability have
contributed to the low levels of uptake of Renewable energy technology in the
region (Karekezi and Ranja) as was revealed in the article written by
(AFREPREN)

 

What are the benefits of renewable energy in Africa?

Renewable
energy technologies can play a major role to play in Africa’s energy sector and
overall economic development. With the right approach, the renewable energy
industry in Africa can become a major player in the energy sector, and meet the
energy needs of a significant proportion of the population. It can also play a
major role in national development in terms of job creation and generation of
income, as well as promoting  environmental sustainability . Pursuing
provision of  sustainable energy should
involve all stakeholders , and should be implemented at national, regional and
sub-regional levels required.

Renewable
energy sources offer numerous benefits ranging from contributing to economic
growth through the creation of new enterprises and jobs to mitigating the
effects of climate change and providing electricity to rural areas. (African
development bank group, 2012). The fast global growth of the renewable energy
industry would foster economic growth mainly through investment and direct and
indirect jobs creation. (African development bank group, FEB 2012)

Obstacles to the development of
renewable energy in Africa are:

Subsidies on fossil fuel-based energy coupled with insufficient
access to finance make the adoption of renewable energy sources
challenging.

·        
The renewable energy industry is capital-intensive, with
heavy funding requirements for development

·        
There is still a huge knowledge gap on the potential benefits
of renewable energy and many countries consider it a less-reliable energy
source compared to traditional fossil fuel power plants.

·        
Inadequate regulatory and institutional environments in most
African countries further impede the development of the renewable energy
industry

Extract from an article written by African
development bank group FEB 2012.

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