Category Archives: electricity

Sun, Wind and Water: Africa’s Renewable Energy Set to Soar by 2022


There has been a loud cry for clean, more efficient, less carbon sources of energy all over the world. About 22 percent of electricity on the world is produced by renewable energy, while the remaining 78 percent is by the use of fossil fuels — gas, coal, etc. This accounts for the massive global warming worldwide; and also the desertification, gully erosion and flooding experienced in some parts of Africa.

Africa too is having a shift towards the use of renewable energy. Countries like South Africa, Ethiopia, and few other countries are making headway in the use of renewables. Energy officials have said that the strong demand for power in Africa would give rise to the use of renewables in the next 5 years.

solar-farm

So many communities in African nations (especially Sub-saharan Africa) just have access to electricity by the advent of the use of renewable energy in those places. Much more people now have access to power.

In Nigeria, the Energy commission have forecast that by 2030, Nigeria would need about 200,000MW of power to be able to effectively distribute electricity to it’s citizens. This can’t be achieved by the use of gas alone; but more of the renewables — sun, wind, and water; and even biomass; because of the current rate of production (which is about 5,500MW).

In some places in Nigeria, power has become affordable and easy to access. For example, in Ofetebe community in Edo State, Nigeria, a solar mini-grid produces 4kW of electricity to power a community borehole, a clinic, 30 households, a barber shop and relaxation spots like a video parlour. The cost of installation was about N4.8m, the mini grid will last for 30 years: an investment of N500 per month for each household. The community would therefore enjoy electricity every day, 365 days per year.

Ghana is currently building what is to be Africa’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant with $400m, which will consequently produce 155MW (the Nzema Solar Project). Kenya is also planning for sufficient solar power to provide more than half of the country’s electricity by 2016. Construction of the plants that would help achieve such is expected to cost $1.2bn. (For the same amount, Nigeria could build about 1,000km of gas pipelines – but this would constitute only 10% of what she needs).

The use of renewable energy in Africa is really growing. Paolo Frankl, head of the renewable division at the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) had this to say, “A big chunk of this (growth) is hydro because of Ethiopia, but then you have solar sources in South Africa, Nigeria and Namibia and wind in South Africa and Ethiopia as well.”

He forecast that the installed capacity of renewable energy in the Sub-Sahara region would almost double the current 35 gigawatts to above 60 gigawatts under the right conditions. Ethiopia has a set of hydro-power projects that are being constructed, this includes the $4.1 billion Grand Renaissance Dam along the Nile River that will produce about 6,000 megawatts when it is completed.

This is sufficient for an averagely populated city for a year. “Africa has one of the best potential resources of renewables anywhere in the world, but it depends very much on the enabling framework, on the governance and the right rules,” Frankl told Reuters on the sidelines of a wind energy conference. The advocacy for a low-carbon energy source to reduce harmful greenhouse gases is a form of threat to industries who use fossil fuels, as well as beneficiaries of such.

In Africa, South Africa’s state-owned electricity company, Eskom, best illustrates the effect of the shift from fossil energy to renewable energy. The company has shown reluctance to sign new deals with independent power producers, according to analysts.

In May 2017, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) said that the energy regulator agreed to probe into Eskom’s refusal to sign the agreements that delayed almost 3,000 megawatts

in new solar and wind projects. Mark Pickering, chairman of SAWEA, said on Wednesday, “Our government does not appear to appreciate the forces of nature.”

Eskom’s reluctance to sign the new power purchase agreements for two years has delayed investment of $4.03 billion, and affected investors’ confidence with the record of at least one wind turbine being closed down. “The continent has a lot of potential, but the problem is financial and political issues, so all of our projects are being delayed for quite a long time, like with Eskom,” said Mason Qin, business development manager for southern and eastern Africa.

Hence, the strong demand for less carbon energy, and the prospective plans of African nations regarding electricity, and the demands to achieve such plans, has projected that, only by the use of renewable energy can these be achieved. 5 years would be sufficient to make this shift in Africa much clearer.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

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India to be Mainstay in Global Energy Scene by 2040, Says IEA Report


Analysts have deduced that the energy demand rate in India may rise by 1,005 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), and between a period of 2016 to 2040. This accounts for about 30 percent of the world’s energy demand within the same period of years (i.e., 2016-2040). This implies that, India’s demand alone will surpass the increase in energy demand of places like China (790 Mtoe), West Asia (480 Mtoe); and Africa (485 Mtoe), during the above period.

It is very predictable that India would likely lead the global energy demand growth by 2040, as reported by the International Energy Agency in its annual World Energy Outlook report, 2017, on Tuesday. In comparison with places of high energy demands as estimated by the agency such as China, West Asia, Africa, etc, the Indian energy demand would surpass.

renewable-energy-environment-wind

However, US, Japan and Europe may reduce their energy demand by 30 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), 50 Mtoe, and 200 Mtoe, respectively, by. 2040. It is very clear from the analysis, that there would be much more energy demand in India than in any other place by 2040.

Considering the current state of the nation, India, as it booms in manufacturing and a bigger, richer, more-urbanized population set the nation on the path of quick and steady expansion, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. The country’s oil demand is expected to attain a whooping quantity of about 10 million barrels per day in the next quarter of a century, marking, most probably, the IEA forecast fastest growth in the world.

The statement was by the Paris-based agency, said in a report released on Tuesday, Last month. The use of coal which is the mainstay of the country’s power generation, will also increase due to cities, adding about 315 million people, the international energy agency said in its report. India, home to a sixth of the world’s population, currently accounts for only 6 percent of global energy use at present, which implies that one out of every five Indians are yet to gain access to electricity.

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s government has pledged to bridge that abyss, promising to light up every house by 2019. In order to achieve an effective national electricity supply, the nation plans a record increase in coal production as it builds new cities and as it has taken on an unprecedented $200 billion plan to generate renewable energy.

Environmental concerns have been raised, particularly air pollution resulting from India’s expanding industrialization and urbanization, with several of its cities reporting an alarming decline in air quality. Rapid growth in energy use, especially the use of fossil fuels like coal, may exacerbate the situation, the IEA said.

India has vowed to increase power-generation capacity using non-fossil fuels to 40% by 2030. They would cut an alternative path of relying on solar, wind and other renewable energy projects, to meet its clean-energy goals, in view of the slow progress in constructing large dams and nuclear plants, according to the agency. A policy framework will be critical to meeting India’s energy demand, the IEA said, pointing to losses from local electricity distribution.

A policy overhaul will help attract necessary investments of an estimated amount of $2.8 trillion in energy supplies. While India looks all ready to have the fastest growth in energy demand, the structural shifts in China’s economy may likely result in an 85% reduction in energy use for every unit of growth there, according to the report.

The IEA report says that traditional disparities between energy producers and consumers are not clear, and that a new set of major developing countries, led by India, is moving towards centre stage. “There is a fourfold shift towards the rapid deployment and falling costs of clean energy technologies, the growing electrification of energy, to a more service-oriented economy and a cleaner energy mix in China, and the resilience of shale gas and tight oil in the United States,” the Paris based agency said in its report.

Rapid deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV), led by India and China, will help solar energy become the most prominent source of low carbon capacity by 2040, the report said. The energy agency has also deduced that electricity demand in India would double by 2040. It would be 2,504 billion units, in juxtaposition with the 1,154 billion units in 2016 and 2017.

Thus, from the IEA forecast, the large population of India, the current consumption and demand for energy in India; and the abounding industrialization and urbanization ongoing in India. It is safe to conclude that between 2016 and 2040, India would be the mainstay of global energy demand.

Source: IEA

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

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11 Easy Ways To Beat Winter And Keep The Heat Inside


We can put on some extra layers of clothing outside, but nobody wants to sit inside in their winter jacket. So in order to defeat winter it is important to keep our homes nice and toasty. To do that we have to fix insulation from top to bottom but also update our heating systems. Technology can provide some extra help as apps can be used to control your heating remotely. We have listed a few easy tips on how to beat winter in its own game.

tablet-heating-man-pointing-manual

1. Insulate throughout

Before you jump onto using some hacks to warm up your home, check on the current insulation of your home. Though smaller hacks can, and will, help, mending your isolation is crucial.

Check on the state of your walls, roof and floors, especially around windows and doors. You can install the insulation material yourself or by calling in the pros.

Don’t be too quick to choose your insulation material. You can choose among the more conventional materials like fiberglass or mineral wool, but you can also opt for DIY materials like cardboard and paper or you can use some other recyclable material.

2. Tin foil between walls and radiators

If your home is already insulated or you are not in the position to renovate your isolation, there are tricks to help you out. One is to place a tin foil on a wall behind the radiator. Tin foils are made from aluminum so they don’t store the heat from the radiators, but actually, they reflect the heat away from the wall and into the room.

Kitchen foil can do the trick, but you might also consider a foil specifically used for this purpose as it produces better results.

3. Check your windows

No matter how much you try and insulate your walls, if your windows are not insulated enough you will still lose heat considerably. You can remove the old ones and replaced them with PVC or double glazed windows.

But since recently windows have an even more amazing use than insulation. Today we have something called solar glazing. Basically windows today can be used to generate electricity and thus help us to power our house from a natural renewable source.

4. Heavy and thick curtains

During the day, the sunlight heats up your house through your windows but at night windows become just another way for heat to escape through. For this reason, you should draw your curtains in the evening.

The choice of curtain material is quite important and the best examples include thick and heavy materials like velvet, tapestry and suede. They are much better at insulating than, for example, cotton or linen, which are great curtain materials for warmer months.

5. Deal with the draught

Despite covering your walls with isolation materials and covering up your windows at night with heavy curtains, there might still be places through which heat might escape.

Some cracks and openings are caused by time and weather, like those around windows. These can usually be easily sealed by applying silicone rubber sealant. However, the trickier ones are the holes built in your house, including loft hatches, keyholes and letterbox openings.

These built-in openings require more creativity as you probably still want them to remain open, yet covered. In that case, you can use simple covers that can be moved or taken off when not needed.

6. Seal the chimney

It is not enough to deal with small creaks and nooks especially if you have a bigger problem like the chimney. We ignore the fact that fireplaces are more decorative nowadays and they are seldom used. In the meantime, heat keeps escaping through them.

And if you don’t wish to seal it forever you can use a fireplace plug. It is inflatable and will completely cover your chimney. Just make sure you take it out before you start a fire.

7. Cover your floors

Though your floors might be isolated, with the change in temperature wood changes its form. In time it expands and contracts over and over again and in time it cracks and creates gaps between boards. These gaps can influence the level of your home’s isolation significantly.

One possibility is to seal the gaps in your hardwood floor, for narrower ones you can use fillers and for wider ones it is better to put in narrow strips of wood or rope.

Additionally, you should cover up your floors with carpets. It is an easy and smart solution for extra protection of your home.

Put in also a few fluffier rugs around the house, especially next to beds and your favorite sitting spots. It might warm your feet just a bit but it will also give you an illusion of warmth.

8. Decorate and insulate

Insulating is a necessity, not a choice, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. You can make your own draught excluders and place them under your windows and doors. Excluders look great, just like stuffed toys sitting around and they are super easy to make: cut off a leg of some tights, choose its size and stuff it with some old socks.

After the winter is over and the sun shows it’s face, don’t throw away all of those winter curtains and excluders. Instead, keep them somewhere safe like in your basement or in an attic. Self-storage is another great solution since storages are nowadays secure, modern and will save you a lot of precious space. For example, I know for sure that Sydney storage unit is safe, always available option and you can easy find something similar in your area too.

9. Let your radiators breathe

While you are checking your walls, remember to also check the state of your radiators. Keep them clean inside and out, as their cleanliness will surely influence their effectiveness. You should have them serviced, at least once a year, to maintain them properly.

Another important thing to remember when it comes to radiators is that they need room to work. Don’t place any furniture right next to them as you will also block heat from spreading throughout your room.

10. Check your boiler

While it is important to maintain your radiators and furnaces, you should also check on your boiler as another source of heat in your home. Get it regularly serviced and cleaned and have it replaced when it starts consuming more energy than it provides for. This will make your home more efficient and it will reduce your heating costs.

11. Apps – useful and convenient

Mobile phones can do almost anything instead of us nowadays. They remember phone numbers, birthdays and anniversaries. They also allow us access to the Internet anywhere we go, but can they help us with heating?

In order to save up on heating, we might choose to turn it off when we are out but who likes to come back to a freezing house? That’s right, nobody does. Here’s where your phone, or its app, helps. You can turn on heating on your way home remotely via your phone and by the time you get there, your home is nice and warm.

Using apps for heating is useful but also convenient as nobody leaves home without their phone anymore.

After you are done with these tips, there will be no more jackets inside. You will make your home winter-proof not only for this winter but many winters to come. Insulate all, walls, floors and roofs. Remember to double check your windows and doors for possible gaps. Service your appliances regularly and keep them clean so they can be as productive as possible. When it’s time to update them, do so as it is more financially but also environmentally responsible.

Image credit: pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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