ICT Clinic (Punch Newspaper)

Renewable energy: Panacea to Africa’s development challenge [ICT Clinic]

The narrative behind the use of technology around renewable energy, has oftentimes, been discussed as an expensive project, only affordable in the developed parts of the world.

This appears to be far from the reality because, for the past two to three years, tons of investments in renewable energy, has surged, in some developing countries as well.

A number of African and Latin American countries in the developing sphere, have seen a significant increase in renewable energy investment. Energy generated from fossil fuel is quite expensive to transmit and distribute and this is where other sources of energy, that are more viable, affordable and readily available, should be sought out for use, especially, on the African continent.

Renewable energy appears to have all these features and if properly put in place, could just be the ultimate solution, to Africa’s energy challenge.

Renewable energy sources, which include solar, wind, rain and geo-thermal heat, are gradually coming to prominence, as the most viable alternative sources of energy, for developing countries, due to its efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Presently in 2019, of all the new electricity capacity that is installed worldwide, two-thirds of it are from renewable energy. In years to come, the consumption of fossil fuel would suffer a decline, as there would be an increase in the consumption of renewable energy.

As present, two Nordic countries, Iceland and Norway generate their electricity through renewable energy sources already and other countries would most likely join the train, to attain a 100 per cent renewable energy in the future.

Many cars that are currently being powered by fossil fuel, are now being re-modeled to be powered by renewable energy. The big question is how would a country like Nigeria cope with this new reality?

The technologies behind renewable energy are most, especially, built for remote, rural areas, found in developing countries, a description, which suits the African continent.

These are the parts that require energy the most, for human development. It is a fact that, many parts of the rural areas in Africa, are not connected to electricity grid and they tend to spend more, to access power, even, more than the people in the developed countries.

Kenya, for a long time, has already keyed into the use of renewable energy sources for power, it is leading other countries in Africa, as the country with the highest number of solar power systems installed per capita.

It is high time that other African countries embraced renewable energy as power sources. A country like Nigeria with abundant sunlight and natural resources really has no excuse whatsoever.

Nigeria, as one of the leading African countries, should start looking beyond reliance on fossil fuel for the generation of energy, as a large number of the population is living below the $1 mark, which invariably means that, energy consumption, as we are used to, today is relatively not affordable, solar power, as a form of renewable energy, could help to reduce cost expended, on energy consumption and give a boost for sustainability.

In many developing countries, especially, in Africa, renewable energy projects have indicated that it can make direct contribution, in the reduction of poverty, through the provision of energy required to initiate the creation of businesses and employment opportunities.

Renewable energy also contributes indirectly to poverty alleviation through the provision of energy for cooking and lighting. The absence of power and infrastructure, are the two key factors stunting growth and development on the African continent.

Trends have shown that, over 60 per cent of sub-Saharan — Finish Reading on the Punch