Green energy in Africa expected to grow

Posted on October 12, 2012 11:40 pm

Green energy has become a global issue irrespective of how wealthy or poor the region or country is.As the African continent strives to keep its pledge to cut carbon emissions by 50%, a good number of companies in the continent are paving the way for renewable energy from different platforms. Some companies have been harnessesing the sun while the others derives energy from solid waste. There is a firm believe that these systems will lead to a greener environment. As electricity tariffs  continues to skyrocket and increase beyond average African, more people are looking for alternative and green ways to power their homes and farms and businesses.There is a deep feeling among many African countries that alternative energy will be the next power generator for the continent. Some studies have claimed that if no alternatives are found, sub Saharan Africa will be a total net importer of fossil fuel in the next six years, which means we will be buying most of our petrol and gas from other continents’ as has been the case for the past five decades.I was talking to my friend Batsirai Chivhanga who works with a leading Finnish solar technology company Ledin Oy and despite the arguments we had,we all agreed that the future is green.Harvesting energy from waste is not new and several companies in Africa especially East and Southern Africa countries are starting to dabble in the sector.The current shortage of subsidized energy sources,many businesses view researching renewable energy as a viable option have increased threefold for last five years.

In South Africa,Yeboah Masinga who works in an energy company that deals with aerobic treatment which merely removes solid waste from the water explained to me why green energies are the most appropriate alternative for Africa.In anaerobic treatment, microbes are introduced to breakdown the solid waste and the process produces bio-gas. For your information,this bio-gas or methane is equivalent to the natural gas that is derived from fossil fuel.Such technology has significantly helped poor farmers in the sub Saharan Africa and also livestock owners who can turn the waste into organic fertiliser.Solar panels like those of Ledin Oy are an opportunity for individuals to be independent power producers.In some countries in sub Saharan Africa there are initiative where individuals supply energy harnessed from their solar panels to supply the national grid.Some African governments are also funding research at a local universities like Makerere University in Kampala Uganda, which aims to come up with a solution to supply electricity to rural homes in East,north and western Uganda.In Africa, the uptake of renewable energy will accelerate soon enough, as more Africans start to adopt a greener lifestyle especially in rural and semi-urban areas.In my conclusion, I believe the green industry in Africa will still needs to develop further, and that more experts are needed in this field especially from developed world. At the moment there aren’t enough, which is why governments should be working with a local universities like the case with prestigious Makerere University to train and develop more skilled people for the industry.

Contador Harrison