Wind power in Africa is likely to experience a huge boost in installed capacity over the next few years, according to an African Development Bank (AfDB) study.
While wind power on the continent currently makes up only 1% of total electricity, or 1 GW, there is an additional 10.5 GW in the pipeline, the study, Development of Wind Energy in Africa, shows.
Africa is faced with the challenge of generating more power to meet existing and future demand as more than 500 million people on the continent lack access to electricity, the study says, adding at least eight African nations are among the developing world’s most endowed in terms of wind energy potential.
Noting that wind power is one of the world’s fastest-growing energy resources, the study said Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Mauritania, Egypt, Madagascar, Kenya and Chad have large onshore wind energy potential.
Exploring 76 African wind energy projects, the study found that only 24 are completed. Of the completed projects, the study said 74% are located in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia – which collectively accounted for 99% of total installed capacity at the end of 2010.
The reason fossil fuel firms are not trying to reduce their carbon emissions could be due to uncertainty on climate and energy policy, suggests the Economist in a recent editorial.
The paper cites cuts in renewable energy support schemes as one of the elements influencing investors. “Companies are betting that government climate policies will fail.”
This is exactly what EWEA has been warning for many months:
“The financial and economic crisis has provoked a wave of uncertainty across the European Union since 2010, with national governments making damaging retroactive changes to policies and regulations for wind energy.”
The Economist added that in mid-April the European Parliament voted against attempts to shore up Europe’s emissions trading system, the world’s largest carbon market, against collapse.
Fiddlers Ferry power station, UK
Coal-fired power stations cost the European Union up to €42.8 billion a year in health costs associated with coal-fired power stations, a new report says.
The study — ‘The Unpaid Health Bill: How coal power plants make us sick’ — also found that EU-wide impacts amount to more than 18,200 premature deaths, about 8,500 new cases of chronic bronchitis, and over four million lost working days each year.
Published by the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), the study said the figures for mortality increase to 23,300 premature deaths, or 250,600 life years lost, while the total costs are up to €54.7 billion annually when emissions from coal power plants in Croatia, Serbia and Turkey are included.
The use of coal in power generation in Europe is on the rise again and that there are about 50 new coal power plants currently in the pipeline, said the study.
Maria van der Hoeven, IEA
The continued expansion of wind power, coupled with a decrease in costs for the emissions-free electricity-generating technology, was one of the few positive notes in a new International Energy Agency (IEA) report on efforts to create a low-carbon world.
The IEA report, which was presented in India last week to the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), said that wind power capacity grew by 19% from 2011 to 2012 despite ongoing economic problems.
In its report, Tracking Clean Energy Progress, the IEA described onshore wind power as “one of the most cost-competitive renewable energy sources” and noted generation from 2000 to 2011 increased by 400 TWh (+27% per year), reaching an estimated 435 TWh in 2011.
By 2017, the report said, onshore wind generation is expected to reach almost 1,000 TWh.
New York City
Wind energy could play a major role in providing all the power needed for the entire state of New York by 2030, according to a new academic study.
New York’s power demand for all sectors in 17 years time could be met, in part, by 4,020 onshore 5-megawatt wind turbines and 12,770 offshore 5-MW machines, the study by researchers from Cornell, Stanford and the University of California-Davis found.
Harnessing power from water and sunlight would also be part of the alternative energy plan for New York, which has close to 20 million people and is the third most populated state in the US.
“Converting to wind, water and sunlight is feasible, will stabilize costs of energy and will produce jobs while reducing health and climate damage,” study co-author Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, was quoted as saying.