AFRICA HAS ENORMOUS POTENTIAL TO FURTHER EXPAND THE USE OF RENEWABLE ENERGIES AND THUS PROMOTE ECONOMIC GROWTH. THE POTENTIAL FOR SOLAR ENERGY, GEOTHERMAL ENERGY AND HYDROPOWER IS GIGANTIC. AFRICA HAS ABUNDANT RESOURCES, BUT THESE VARY FROM PLACE TO PLACE.
BECAUSE OF OUR OWN PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND, WE KNOW QUITE A BIT ABOUT THE WASTE INCINERATION INDUSTRY. WASTE INCINERATION IS AN EXCELLENT TECHNOLOGY THAT ADDRESSES THE PROBLEMS OF WASTE MANAGEMENT AND ENERGY PRODUCTION. WASTE INCINERATION WOULD ALLOW LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO ADDRESS TWO IMPORTANT AREAS AT ONCE.
CONSIDERABLE INVESTMENT HAS BEEN MADE IN THE AFRICAN ENERGY SECTOR. MORE INVESTMENT MAY BE NEEDED IN THE ACTUAL ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION NETWORKS AND DECENTRALIZED RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION. THE KEY LIES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF INFRASTRUCTURE TO FULLY EXPLOIT THE POTENTIAL OF EACH REGION.
1. AFRICAN ENERGY COMPANIES CAN CHOOSE FROM A WIDE RANGE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES.
Africa is rich in energy resources, hydrocarbons, uranium, and beyond that, rare earths and metals needed for the construction, production, and distribution of renewable energy technologies and related infrastructure.
These resources could serve as the basis for building a renewable energy system. Even if we switch to renewable energy sources, hydrocarbons (especially oil and gas) will continue to play an important role in the energy system for decades. The shift to other forms of energy is inevitable, whether renewables or other energy-rich sources.
The use and application of uranium could be interesting, although fissile material for power generation should be considered on a case-by-case basis. However, Africa is rich in uranium reserves. The nuclear power industry has produced many innovations: safety improvements, smaller reactor designs, and thorium research are areas where important milestones have been achieved. All of this depends on policy goals, but more important is how these energy goals are implemented at the local level in African countries.
In addition to hydrocarbon and uranium resources, many African countries have excellent renewable energy technology capabilities across the renewable energy value chain, including solar, wind, hydropower, biomass and biofuel, and geothermal. Exactly which energy technology can be deployed will depend on location and how well the solution can be integrated into the larger energy infrastructure. Grid expansion will also be critical. Further investment in electricity distribution and electricity generation will be required. Many of these efforts may require joint efforts by more than one country.
One of the most promising solutions could be waste-to-energy. Converting municipal solid waste (MSW) into electricity and heat is an option that offers significant benefits and may stimulate economic growth. The electricity can be fed into the grid as baseload power and the heat can be used for industry.
The reason we mention this is that waste-to-energy solves two major problems that every country faces. One problem is how to dispose of waste as household consumption increases. The other problem is how we can generate enough energy that is cheap, environmentally friendly and always available. In many cases, it is difficult to meet the requirements.
The potential for renewable energy in Africa has not yet been exhausted. There are countless opportunities for companies that want to expand their contribution to decentralized energy management solutions.
The expansion of the power grid will play an important role in some places. Due to the sheer size of the African continent, it may be difficult to connect all places. As more and more power grids are connected, new business models are likely to open up, creating more opportunities in the energy sector.