The potential for exploiting massive solar and wind resources in many regions throughout the continent of Africa have attracted Independent Power Producers (IPP’s) eyeing the potential for renewable energy in the cradle of civilization. Current projected road blocks include problems posed by unstable and dangerous regions, minimal financial resources and the lack of infrastructure.
According to a World Bank Report, Africa could produce 170 gigawatts of energy. This number is double their current energy output. The report further stipulates a yearly reduction of carbon dioxide emissions at a staggering 740 million tons. One interesting study conducted by a researcher from the European Commission’s Institute for Energy stated that .3 percent of the Sahara and Middle East deserts sunlight could meet all of Europe’s energy demands.
Wind Energy Projects in Kenya
Kenya relies heavily on hydropower generation to facilitate their energy needs. Even though the electrical bill is higher for Kenyan’s than for every country in Africa except for Rwanda, they still have problems with sustaining their energy demands. Power cuts and losses are common occurrences.
The possibility of renewable energy options being more cost effective has driven the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) to invest in wind energy projects for the country due to its promising geographical potential in producing wind energy. KTDA believes future wind farm investments will save their country money while stimulating the economy. Farmers would ostensibly gain significantly from reduced energy costs and their personal investments in any turbines installed on their property.
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Kenya Electricity Generating Company (Kengen) already has wind farms installed in Kenya and plan on increasing their power production from 5.1 MW’s to 25.5 MW’s by the end of the year. Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) is currently installing a 300 MW wind farm. Once complete it will be the largest wind power project in Africa. The Kenyan Government is planning to invest in other energy resources as well to ensure they meet rising energy needs.
Nigeria Finds Funding for Renewable Energy Projects
The Climate Investment Funds (CIF) committee provided Nigeria 85 million dollars of an eventual 250 million dollar fund for renewable projects, according to the African Development Bank (AFDB). CIF is a global funding agency acting under their Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program for Low Income Countries (SREP) to promote endeavors by private and public entities to create renewable energy projects in the region.
This fund includes projects to create mass transport installations for urban areas as well. Investors in CIF include the United Nations, international banking institutions, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), and a list of individuals and other organizations as well. According to AFDB, they will provide 200 million dollars of financial support to facilitate two bus-based mass transport projects in the country.