Energy is an enabler of both growth and development
Access to clean, reliable and affordable energy is a key sustainable development goal (SDG). Energy supply and access is a major challenge in Africa. As populations increase, energy demand rises and the need for innovative approaches to supply and consume energy are urgently required. Currently, over 80% of Africa’s population relies on unrefined biomass. These fuels emit smoke and other toxic gases posing high risks to the health and lives of particularly women and children. In 2012, close 700,000 deaths were caused by air pollution mainly in the internal environments of households.
What We Need
Energy is an enabler of both growth and development. Both economic and social development leads to increased demand and consumption of energy. Energy availability also fuels the two. The consumption of energy does not always improve living standards especially when the measure is kilowatt-hour per capita. The situation is worse when focus is per capita supply as has become the case in most of Africa. The existing strategies are mainly those of centralised supply which is usually based on per capita supply capacity and less on per capita consumption. With a skewed (to only small segments of the population) availability, this approach inevitably increases energy access inequalities.
This project seeks to displace dirty biomass (charcoal, firewood, etc) from domestic kitchens and replace it with biogas (and electricity). In effect, outcomes will include improved health and wellbeing (and thus life expectancy), better quality education through modern lighting in schools, increased food security by providing organic fertiliser and cooling systems for farm produce/ fish (and value addition), reduced costs of national healthcare.
Additionally, climate change remains the greatest challenge of the 21st century. Africa is home to some of the most vulnerable communities. Erratic rainfall patterns are already endangering livelihoods and fueling conflicts. This project will be a means of mitigation and adaptation, to climate change, for these communities. Black carbon has been proven to have significant contribution to anthropogenic climate change.
Displacing biomass will reduce warming of the planet and creation of adverse microclimates, thereby slowing down global climate change. At national and regional levels, forest covers, which are already unacceptably low and alarmingly decreasing, will be saved; creating a real chance of growing to the required 10% of landmass.
Rural electrification is paramount and in recent years, African governments have made great efforts to electrify off-grid communities. Nevertheless, over 80 % remain off-grid. This is due to:
• High costs of grid expansion
• Rapidly growing demand (new and existing)
• Sparse population distribution which makes is uneconomical to extend power lines to some regions
This project proposes distributed approaches to tackle these set of challenges.
To map out the need, energy resource availability and policy prioritisation in countries, counties and regions to identify access gaps and supply potential.
To improve education quality in schools by providing clean cooking fuels and lighting solutions for learning institution and research centres
To protect the environment and health of women by substituting fossil fuels, charcoal and wood with renewable energies especially for cooking
To improve the livelihood of fishing communities by providing cooling systems and value addition facilities fuelled by renewables
Assist African Governments in formulating and supporting policies that support off grid electrification so as to increase the contribution of distributed generation and renewable energy technology towards electrification
To increase jobs and opportunities created for the locals through transfer of skills directly and indirectly.
To eliminate inconveniences of power outages and over-reliance on the grid in Africa.