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East Africa Needs More Renewable Energy Solutions Than Ever

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Author : Emily
Update time : 2020-08-06 11:59:00

East Africa needs more renewable energy solutions than ever. With electricity demand in Africa projected to triple by 2030, it’s essential to meet this demand by investing in renewable technologies and diversifying its energy sources. A prime location for solar energy to flourish, the communities of East Africa can achieve a higher quality of life when empowered with renewable energy.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that 1.2 billion people worldwide did not have access to electricity in 2013. More than 620 million of those people live in sub-Saharan Africa. In terms of energy access, East Africa is the most affected region of the continent. These statistics convey the dire situation faced by many East Africans, especially those in rural areas. Even those fortunate enough to have access to electricity experience a service that flows sporadically and is costly.

Africa is home to vast renewable resources, including geothermal, wind, hydro and solar energy. These energy resources have not been harnessed to their full potential, as modern renewables account for less than 2% of the sub-Saharan energy mix.

However, there is an increase in the use of renewables in the region. For instance, Kenya is now the world’s ninth-largest producer of geothermal energy and has plans to expand the existing Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant, doubling its capacity by the end of 2016. The Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, also located in Kenya, is a 40,000-acre wind farm that aims to provide reliable and low-cost wind power to Kenya’s national grid.

The EAC currently uses hydropower as its predominant electricity source. However, over-reliance on a single source of energy can lead to potential challenges. In Africa, there is a concern that hydropower systems could be compromised by reduced rainfall and increased evaporation. Further, the development of these systems has put indigenous communities who rely on natural flood cycles to sustain their life at risk, as the flood water is being used to fill reservoirs to generate hydropower. Energy diversification can help reduce the stresses placed on the environment and communities in the area.