To view this page ensure that Adobe Flash Player version 11.1.0 or greater is installed.

BACK-UP GENERATION EMERGENCY POWER SUPPLEMENTS INSTALLATION OF RENEWABLE ENERGY Hounded by unreliable power supply, maintenance and spare part procurement challenges and high transmission and distribution losses, sub-Saharan Africa is harnessing alternative energy sources. P RENEWABLE ENERGY OPTIONS ARE GRADUALLY GAINING TRACTION The International Energy Agency (IEA), in a recent report, cited that wind, solar and other renewable power capacity is continuously developing globally, and is now responsible for approximately 22% of the world’s electricity. In 2013 alone, added the agency, more than $250 billion was invested in “green” power generating ESI AFRICA ISSUE 4 2014 technologies, and more key entities were encouraging higher levels of investments, saying that renewable energy sources were necessary elements to achieve global energy security. Closer to home, the renewable energy scenario in sub-Saharan Africa also holds much promise. In the first quarter of 2014, the African Renewable Energy Fund (AREF), a dedicated renewable energy DID YOU KNOW? fund focused on sub-Saharan Africa, has raised an estimated $100 million for the development of grid-connected renewable energy projects in the region. The fund will be distributed to independent power producers (IPP) to allow them to set up solar, small hydro, wind, geothermal, biomass and waste gas projects of between 5MW and 50MW. AREF is said to commit $10 to $30 million to the ▼ ower utilities across sub-Saharan Africa have been observed to fall short in providing adequate levels of electricity services to the majority of the population, especially to rural communities and underdeveloped urban areas. According to studies, provision of electrical power is largely confined to middle- and upper-income communities, and commercial and industrial facilities in the cities. Owing to this, the financial performance of utilities in the majority of sub-Saharan African countries is below satisfactory levels. The region’s energy situation calls for urgent attention, and one of the most plausible solutions that stakeholders are seriously considering is harnessing the potential of renewable energy sources. The challenges of harnessing sun, wind and water Renewable energy sources have characteristics that differ from those of conventional energy sources. Conventional resources can be available on demand, particularly to meet system peak loads, while renewable energy sources are yet to reach that level of stability. Hence, renewable sources, like wind, are oftentimes called energy resources, while traditional sources are capacity resources. Currently, only a fraction of the total renewable energy capacity has an elevated probability of running as consistently as traditional/conventional sources. Incorporating renewable energy sources into power system planning and operation will require innovative ways of thinking about energy resources. Other challenges related to the development of renewable energy sources include lack of national capacity, distance from global supply chains, socio-political hurdles, perceived lack of expertise in matters of alternative energy sources, shortage in qualified consultants and contractors, the inability of existing grids to absorb large amounts of intermittent electricity supply, and operation and maintenance of renewable energy facilities. 67