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Renewable Energy Across the Globe: Africa

Great steps have been made across the globe toward adopting more environmentally conscious energy sources. How each continent makes use of their varied resources is what sets them apart from each other.
Here’s what’s happening in Africa:

Africa is home to vast, largely untapped solar energy resources. Enough solar radiation falls on North Africa that if 0.3% of the area were devoted to solar generation there would be enough energy for the entire European Union. However, currently there is only one a single, grid-linked solar power station in Rwanda, the Kikali Solaire power station. In addition, there are many solar powered water pumping and holding systems and community charging stations in Chad and the Sudan, which are used to deliver water and electricity to rural communities. A noteworthy example of solar power in action is the use of solar disinfection to generate clean, disease-free water for locals in Kenya and Uganda. The agricultural department of Kenya is progressive and well-funded, making the country a good candidate for future solar water pumping systems. There are also several large-scale solar power facilities under development in South Africa and Algeria.

Africa has an extensive coastline where wind and tidal energy can be harvested. The first turbine in West Africa was erected in Batokunku, Gambia. It supplies 150 kilowatts (kW) to 2,000 people. In Morocco, the Koudia Al Baida wind farm is the largest in the continent. There are two more big wind farms under construction in Tangier and Tarfaya, with more planned for the west coast, north of Cape Town, and in Marsabit County, Kenya. The latter two are planned to generate 90 megawatts (MW) by 2015, and 300 MW once the farms reach full capacity.

In Eastern Africa, there are concentrated hot spots of geothermal energy potential but so far geothermal energy is mainly used for agricultural projects. Kenya, the first country to make use of geothermal energy and home of the largest geothermal plant on the continent, uses steam wells to power the greenhouse at the Oserian flower farm. It is that Kenya can offer an estimated potential of 10,000 MW of geothermal energy, with 20 possible drilling sites marked for survey. There are also several sites planned for construction in Zambia, but a lack of funds to has postponed those projects. Preliminary exploration for potential geothermal sources have taken place in Eritrea, Djibouti, and Uganda.

Energy from biomass is generally only taken advantage of in Africa in its crudest and oldest form—burning wood for warmth and cooking. While this is technically a renewable resource, it is an inefficient use of energy from biomass and it causes air pollution and leading to respiratory illness.

Want to know what’s happening in the other continents? Check below:

Africa – lots of untapped potential.
Antarctica – yes, even in Antarctica.
Asia – find out how Japan is doing in response to the Fukushima nuclear accident and where the rest of Asia is at renewable energy.
Australia – hydroelectricity accounts for almost 60% of their renewable energy.
Europe – guess which country has the first commercial wave farm.
North America – who is the world’s largest wind producer, Canada, Mexico or the United States?
South America – find out why it is the leader in electricity from renewable sources.


Kathryn Hannis

Kathryn spent the first half of her life in Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States. Then, just as she was about to begin her freshman year in high school, her family uprooted and transplanted to The Hague, the Netherlands, Europe. Kathryn studied Environmental Engineering at NAU, in Flagstaff, Arizona, and then later moved back to the Netherlands to get a Master’s degree in Sustainable Energy Technology.

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