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.
By Fran Witt, Renewable World
One kilowatt may not seem like a lot – some heaters in the West use this much energy every hour. But in Songambele, Tanzania, comparatively little energy is going a long way.
Renewable World, the UK based charity who work to provide renewable energy to remote communities in the developing world, is helping the off-grid community of Songambele to power itself out of poverty.
Climate change has impacted its 21,000 inhabitants, with crops becoming increasingly difficult to grow, resulting in adults and children working longer hours for smaller wages. Today, power provided by a new wind turbine is being used to improve crop yields directly by pumping water for irrigation. This enables children to spend more time at school and provides both time and opportunities for adults to expand their skill-sets.
Together with Tanzanian partners ALIN, and local wind power firm Wind Power Serengeti, Renewable World has established a wind/solar hybrid system which powers a Maarifa (information technology) Centre. In addition to solar panels, a 1kw wind turbine has been installed to power the Centre, to provide additional power for productive uses, such as access to modern information technology services. The 12 metre tall horizontal axis turbine is locally produced and is designed to cut in at low wind speeds. It produces an average of 3kwH of energy per day.
Zawadi Michael works at the information centre
Last month the EWEA blog brought you the story of a small wind energy project in Tanzania and how it has helped to change the fortunes of some African farmers. Today, in this project update by Fran Witt from Renewable World, we look at how wind-powered electricity is connecting remote communities to the knowledge economy.
We all know that wind energy can light homes and businesses, but how about powering entrepreneurial spirit through education and information access?
Today, social and economic development is based on a “knowledge economy” in which access to knowledge is directly related to information and communication technology. However, as these technologies rapidly advance, the gap between the “information-haves” and the “information have-nots” continues to widen. In many low-income countries such as Tanzania, participation in even a full course of basic education is not universal.
The wind-solar hybrid project in Songambele, supported by Renewable World and its East African partner, the Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), specifically addresses this digital divide, recognising that increased educational participation and achievement ensures that knowledge and skills can be harnessed to improve health, raise incomes, sustain economic growth and promote equity.
Wind energy in the Tanzanian village of Songambele
By Fran Witt Renewable World
Did you know that 1.3 billion people in the world have no electricity? That’s the same as the entire population of the EU (500 million) twice over and the US (300 million) combined.
While wind energy in Europe is providing energy solutions on a large scale, in some of the world’s poorest zones the opposite is true – small, local wind energy micro-businesses can provide a vital source of affordable electricity for lighting, water pumping, access to information, agriculture and refrigeration of food and medicines
We at international charity Renewable World are working on setting up small scale renewable energy micro-businesses to change the fortunes of some of the world’s poorest communities.
In the Tanzanian village of Songambele, Renewable World has installed a wind-solar hybrid project in which a 1kW wind turbine is helping to power an Information Centre housing books, mobile phone charging points and internet access.
Anyone who has ever visited Africa and witnessed the continent’s still grinding poverty and its poor access to electricity will be delighted by recent news that work should begin later this year on a 300-MW wind farm in Kenya.
Officials with the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project (LTWP) said 365 wind turbines would eventually be erected in an arid region in the east African nation, which has a population of about 43 million people.