In many African countries a majority of the population do not have access to electricity and only rely on charcoal and wood, which are major environmental pollutants. This makes renewable energy an incredible alternative from a variety of perspectives.
According to the World Bank, less than 30 percent of people living on the continent have access to electricity and the ones who have, don’t have it regularly due to chronic power shortages after years of underinvestment and mismanagement.
But in recent years several African governments have embraced renewable sources of energy that are also cheaper than hydro-powered electricity to help fill the energy gap for their citizens.
Here are eight renewable energy projects that are changing how people access power in Africa:
Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant – Kenya
It is the largest geothermal power plant Africa and the first ever to be built. It produces about 280 megawatts of energy. The project was started in 1981 and its key financial supporters are European Investment Bank, World Bank and Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen). The project has phases; Olkaria 1 and Olkaria 2 Power Stations. It is located in Kenya’s rift valley region.
Lake Turkana Wind Power Project – Kenya
It is Africa’s biggest wind farm project. It is funded by European Union and the African Development Bank to the tune of $690 million. Upon completion, the project is projected to provide 310 megawatts of clean and reliable wind energy to Kenyans. It is set to be commissioned in June, this year. In 2014, it won the African Renewables Deal of the Year, in recognition of its class and infrastructural layout.
Tarfaya Wind Farm – Morocco
Tarfaya Wind Farm (TWF) is jointly owned by Engie, French multinational electricity generating company and Nareva Holding. Construction on the project started in 2013 and was commissioned a year later. Tarfaya Wind Farm generates 301 megawatts, making it the second largest on the continent, and an excellent example of renewable energy. In 2015, The Jeune Afrique Magazine ranked TWF as one of the ten Most Outstanding Projects in Africa.
Ashegonda Wind Farm – Ethiopia
The project is one of the biggest wind farms on the continent. The project was built by Vergnet SA, a French wind turbine manufacturer. Ashegonda Wind Farm has been generating 120 megawatts of energy since its completion in 2013.
Nzema Solar Plant – Ghana
It is being built by Blue Energy Plc, a British company. The project is being constructed at the cost of $400 million. It is the fourth largest solar project in the world. The solar energy production plant will produce 155 megawatts when completed in 2017.
Jasper Solar Energy Project – South Africa
The project is located in Kimberley, South Africa. It was completed in 2014 at a construction cost of $260 million. It produces 96 megawatts of energy to the South African national electricity grid. Jasper Solar Energy project was built by SolarReserve, a solar generating company based in United States, in partnership with local companies Kensani and Intikon.
Sere Wind Farm – South Africa
It is found in Western Cape, South Africa. The project was completed in March, 2015. It generates an estimated 100 megawatts of clean energy. It has 46 wind turbines and is one of the largest wind energy projects in Africa. It was funded by World Bank, African Development Bank, Clean Technology Fund and French Agency for Development. Sere Wind Project was built by Eskom, a state-owned electricity producing company.
Noor Project – North Africa
Noor Project is the largest solar energy project in North Africa. It consists of three phases. The first phase of this solar energy project was completed early this year with a generating capacity of 160 megawatts. The second and third phases of this renewable energy project will be completed by 2020 at an estimated cost of $894 million. The project is funded by European Investment Bank, French Development Agency and European Union among others. It will become the biggest solar generating plant in the world upon its completion.
Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm – South Africa
It is one of the biggest wind farms in South Africa. It produces 460,000 Megawatt-hours annually since it started its energy generation in 2014. Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm is owned by GlobeLeq, a power generating consortium with facilities in over 20 countries.
Solar Power Plant – Rwanda
This renewable energy project is located in Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village. The project generates 8.4 megawatts of solar energy to the Rwandan national electricity grid. It was jointly funded by Gigawatt Global and President Barack Obama’s Power Africa Initiative. The project was completed in 2014 at an estimated cost of $24 million. It is the first commercial solar field contributing to a national grid, in East Africa.
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