Africa’s hope for cheaper electricity: Renewable energy
By Frank Sainworla,Jr/WADR News
With Africa’s abundance sun and the availability of biomass, experts say there is said to be huge potential for developing renewable energy to power the continent’s industries and rural communities.
“Africa is lacking infrastructure in terms of transmission and distribution of power; so by covering at lease rural areas with renewable energy—be it hydro or solar, I believe that will give the African communities in the rural areas the electricity that they need to achieve the growth in GDP,” says Mohamed Ali Gam, Vice President for Business Development of SuntroughEnergy Packaged Solar Thermal Power Plants in California, USA.
Gam was speaking in an interview with West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) on the sidelines of the African Economic Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia recently.
Jointly organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Development Bank Group (AFDB) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the forum put a spotlight on building a “green economy and structural transformation.”
Back in the corridors of the conference, a senior official of the AFDB had earlier told Journalists that his bank was investing billions of dollars into renewable energy such as solar, hydro and wind power.
Kurt Lonsway said though there were some environmental problems and huge funding associated with building large scale hydro power dams, there were now more willingness in international cycles in funding such projects.
This, he said is because of their advantages over other nonrenewable energy sources.
Lonsway spoke about the big hydro project being funded by the AFDB in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other large and small scale wind and solar power projects in Uganda, West Africa, Egypt, South Africa and other parts of Africa.
Although the cost associated with acquiring and developing the green technology is huge Gam, who is a Tunisian, sees a bright future for renewable energy in Africa.
The executive of the US-based renewable energy company says, the cost would be far cheaper than producing electricity for Africa by diesel in the short, medium and long terms, if certain measures were put in place.
He cited getting “the right investors”, outlaying proper framework and payment guarantees, which he said were seriously lacking in certain African countries.
If these measures are put in place, he stressed, renewable energy in Africa stands to be very viable and the cost of electricity on the continent would substantially reduce.
But in practical terms, how can this be achieved, when most African countries lack the infrastructure for the transmission and distribution of electricity through the traditional fossil fuel, let alone renewable energy?
Click audio below to listen to WADR Frank Sainworla’s full interview with Mohamed Ali Gam, Vice President for Business Development of SuntroughEnergy Packaged Solar Thermal Power Plants in California, USA.Tweet