The Not So Dark Continent
And, not a moment too soon. In the wake of global climate change, Africa’s population of more than a billion people has experienced more and more drought exacerbated by water shortage and rising water/food prices. Blackouts and interruptions in electricity service are not uncommon, existing sources of power consist mainly of fossil fuel and coal and approximately 70 percent of Africans aren’t connected to the power grid at all. These poor souls must rely on rechargeable LED lights distributed to villages by aid programs like the World Bank’s Lighting Africa. The bottom line is that any increase in resources would most likely be welcome. However, it’s just as vital to start Africa off right with clean and efficient energy platforms.
The White House press release states Power Africa will build off of “new discoveries of vast reserves of oil and gas, and the potential to develop clean geothermal, hydro, wind and solar energy” in Africa. It also claims the project will “help countries develop newly-discovered resources responsibly, build out power generation and transmission, and expand the reach of mini-grid and off-grid solutions.”
Last week during his climate change address, the president referred to Power Africa by underlining the importance of getting developing nations geared towards sustainable growth, and said that “by developing and disseminating clean technology and sharing our know-how, we can help developing nations leap-frog dirty energy technologies and reduce dangerous emissions.”