Although most of the sub-Saharan African countries face serious challenges when it comes to power and energy, Africa has succeeded in finding solutions to these problems. Renewable energy in Africa is fast becoming one of the continent’s leading sectors with a number of countries having adopted the latest trend of renewable energy.
Morocco, one of the leading African countries in the solar sector recently launched the first phase of the mega , near the Saharan desert, just outside Ouarzazate. Noor 1 uses CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) instead of PV (Photovoltaic) solar panels. The Noor complex would initially power 650,000 houses and up to 1.1 million houses when finished by 2018, whilst the CSP would have the capacity of storing energy for up to three hours after sunset.
Algeria: The Algerian government has taken up a development programme on renewables. The aim of the government is to obtain majority of its clean energy from renewable resources. The country has already installed 268 megawatt of solar photovoltaic capacity.
South Africa without doubt is the biggest contributor of wind energy in the African continent. Located between the towns of Jeffery’s Bay and Humansdorp in S.A’s Eastern Province is one of Africa’s biggest wind farms. The R3 Billion wind farm was designed to generate 460GWh of renewable energy a year. It comprises of sixty 80-meter high turbines spread over 3700 hectares with a capacity of 138 megawatt (MW) able to power up to 100,000 homes in South Africa. Energy from the farm is connected to the Eskom grid line.
Egypt: The Gulf of El Zayt Wind Farm is one of the largest wind farms in Africa and possibly the largest in Africa upon completion. The 200 megawatt (MW) farm is located on the west bank of the Gulf of Suez. The project, which cost $359 million, is financed by the European Union (EU), Germany’s KfW and the European Investment Bank (EIB). The wind farm project has the capacity to generate up to 800GW a year, which can supply 500,000 people with electricity. It also prevents 400, 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.
Zimbabwe is home to the world’s largest dam based on water storage capacity. The Kariba dam which is gotten from the dammed river Zambezi has a storage capacity of 185 billion cubic meters of water. The Dam is able to supply 1,626 megawatts (2,181,000 hp) of electricity to parts of both Zambia (the Copper belt) and Zimbabwe and generates 6,400 Gigawatt-hours (23,000 TJ) a year.
Ghana: The Akosombo dam also known as the Volta Dam is located in the southeastern Ghana and is the world’s third biggest dam also based on storage capacity. The dam generates 912 megawatts of electricity, which lights up most of Ghana, and also has more than enough to sell out to other countries. The dam not only provides electricity, but also job opportunities for up to 300,000 people through fisheries in the lake.