While much of the globe is considering how to use additional green energy and reduce CO2 emissions in advance of the COP26 climate meeting, the challenge in Africa is quite different. Many individuals across the continent are struggling to find any kind of electricity. In Africa, 600 million people lack access to energy, limiting their ability to establish and run businesses.
Even in South Africa’s and Nigeria’s megacities, companies must contend with the recurring power outages. Businesses, governments, and inventors are working together to address the problem. According to Ghana’s Ministry of Power, upwards of 80% of the country’s population has the access to power via the national grid. Connecting with people in rural areas, has been tough.
As a result, the nation is utilizing solar and wind power to install microgrids, that are self-contained power sources that serve particular areas, to bring low-cost, renewable power to isolated settlements. Eric Pupulampu, a trader in Pediatokope, which is a Ghanaian island village on Volta River, is happy. Thanks to the microgrid project that offers him with the energy to maintain his freezer running, he can be able to stock and trade perishables and cold drinks, which has boosted his business.
Nevertheless, the issue is not limited to the rural areas; large cities are also having power outages. In Nigeria, Lagos City, which has a population of around 15 million people, rendering it among Africa’s busiest cities. However, the city’s electricity supply is neither consistent nor safe. Due to this unreliability, most people who do have an access to the grid electricity must rely on alternate power sources, primarily gasoline and diesel generators.
As per Nigerian Energy Commission, Nigerians also spend $22 billion annually on generators to run their offices and residences. Companies, predictably, are seeking solutions that can provide consistent power while also being environmentally friendly.
Many people believe that natural gas is less harmful to the environment compared to oil, making it a potential alternative to renewable energy. Gas-fired plants generate about 80 percent of Nigeria’s electrical capacity. As per some experts, natural gas plants are more than double as dependable as solar plants and generate four times the amount of electricity per acre of land.
“People perceive gas as a bridge between fossil fuels like oil and renewable energy,” Rolake Akinkugbe-Filani, who is a member of Africa Energy Chamber’s Advisory Board, explains.
“Gas emits less carbon dioxide than oil.” Nigeria has the greatest gas reserves in Africa region and the 9th largest in the world, thus making use of such resources makes sense. However, gas processing and distribution infrastructure is required, and someone must invest in it with long-term funding.” “Solar prices have gone down by 80% in the last decade, while the battery prices have fallen by 85%. Certain methods of power provision are becoming increasingly appealing as a result of the combination of these 2 factors. “The most abundant commodity we have is sunlight, not oil or gas,” he claims.
“We’re just getting started on a transformation that will only grow as solar panel prices fall and battery technology gets better.” It’s a revolution which some believe will offer clean not only energy but also new employments.
Investing in energy
Olusola Lawson is in charge of investing over 0.5 billion dollars in infrastructure and power projects across Africa for the company African Infrastructure Investment Managers during the previous decade. His firm has invested in the solar and gas industries, and he is positive about Africa’s energy future. “By 2050, renewable energy will account for roughly half of all new energy installed in Africa.”