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Energy alternatives for Africa August 17, 2008

Posted by OldGuy in Alternatives, energy conservation, Wind Power.
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“Africa is fast becoming an important player in cleaner energy sources. If only 0.3% of sunlight falling on the Sahara and Middle Eastern deserts can potentially provide all of Europe’s energy needs because of its intensity, how about everything else?”

With these words, Sam Aolo Ooko (a writer for Green Options), introduced a bold idea – switch Africa from eco-costly investments into planting and developing biofuels, but instead jump-start more developed continents by developing alternative energy sources and innovating conservation measures. He continues:

“How much wind blows from Nouakchott to Natal, and how much of this is ever utilized as an alternative energy source? How much water flowing in the Zambezi is used to power villages in Zambia and Zimbabwe; and how much more of the great Nile waters that flow into the Mediterranean can sustainably be harnessed to run corn mills in Nakuru and cotton ginneries in Jinja and Khartoum or fisheries in Cairo?”

Ooko quotes Ester Nyiru, a respected African economist, as saying “African countries are not using alternative power supplies since international combines do not encourage the switch; indeed, the use of such technologies may damage their business.”

Ooko is on to something. There are vast deserts with abundant sun and wind. In those regions, there is little reason to use oil and coal to generate electricity. Africa has vast coastlines and many rivers capable of producing hydro- and tidal generation.

Ooko’s future is hopeful: “Every single village in Africa can have cheaper, cleaner, sustainable energy and we can re-write every book that proclaims the end of poverty. Forget oil, alternative energy is the way to go for Africa.”

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