Archive for June, 2018


Increasing access to reliable and affordable electricity in energy deficit regions of the world

That was the workshop held in Feb 2018 in Italy. What is surprising is, none of the participants had any clue about the geothermal energy that is being utilized in Sub-Saharan countries like Kenya. Not only Kenya for that matter, other countries like Eritrea, Djibouti, Yemen, Egypt and Ethiopia, all of them fall within the focus of this workshop, do have considerable geothermal resources. Geothermal energy resources in these countries are best suited for off-grid electrification solution. Surprisingly even World Bank African programme authority never spoke about this source. Tendaho, Aluto Langano in Ethiopia, Alid volcanic province in Eritrea, Lake Asal and Lake Abhe in Djibouti and the entire East African Rift Valley extending from Afar to Tanzania have excellent geothermal energy sources. For example, Kenya has already exploring and exploiting geothermal energy at Olkaria and Menangai snd Suswa are ready to take off soon. Once Kenya goes full swing on its geothermal expansion programme, the entire East Africa Can come under 100% electrification grid. Here there is no risk is involved in generating power, no carbon dioxide emissions, no biomass burning, land requirement is small, no back power batteries are required, don’t need wind velocities to turn the blades. This is what an official from the African Development Bank highlighted….” yet many African countries still struggle to surmount the energy poverty which affects the lives of hundreds of millions. While many successful schemes have provided specific energy services, such as solar’. I don’t know why the entire world is engulfed in solar and have no time to think any think other than solar. No doubt solar is good but it is not the only world!! When cost effective solutions are showcased in the East African Countries, financial and research institutes turn a blind eye to the realities. Is it a deliberate method to support ancillary industries (supporting solar like batteries, cadmium metals for the batteries, raw material for manufacturing the acids, other small components to put the battery system in place) in Europe to sustain its livelihood? If solar is not supported, the fear is that these industries will collapse and shatter the GDP of these countries.

At least one person from ADB is able to voice his unbiased opinion “Africa has significant raw energy resources both in renewables and fossil fuels, yet many African countries still struggle to surmount the energy poverty which affects the lives of hundreds of millions…………………………. a solar lamp does not resolve cooking needs, nor can a TV provide medicines. “ Absolutely right. Too much of anything is not good!! Solar cannot provide affordable desalinated water to develop agriculture; solar can not provide 27 x 4 electricity capable of supplying baseload power. What the African countries need is water….freshwater to sustain their lives. Freshwater that is accessible at cheaper cost is what they need. To grow their food and do away with imported food. Virtual water trade is not good for any country. If solar is the ultimate solution for everything, why then the GCC countries are not promoting solar for desalination, which they require very badly? These countries still depend on fossil fuel supported desalination plant to meet freshwater demand

A workshop or a conference of this type should in fact debate on all possible renewable energy sources. Selection of team is very important in such forum….to drive the right message to the population.