Efforts to spur the use of renewable energy in Africa have received a boost with commitments for almost $160 million in financing targeted at small projects.
The funding commitments were secured for the African Development Bank's Facility for Energy Inclusion.
Priority will go to projects in sub-Saharan countries where rates of access to electricity are low compared with other regions.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, about half the people in sub-Saharan Africa have electricity and only a third use clean energy for cooking. Some 600 million people lack electricity and 890 million cook with traditional fuels.
Thirteen countries south of the Sahara Desert have electricity access rates of less than 25 percent, compared to 1 percent for Asia, the intergovernmental economic organization said.
The eligibility criteria for funding includes a requirement that the targeted projects use renewable energy sources, have capital expenditure of less than $30 million and a generation capacity of less than 25 megawatts.
Oxfam, a poverty-fighting global organization, said sub-Saharan Africa has abundant energy resources, whether from renewable or fossil-fuel sources.
The organization said this region has sufficient resources to meet its future electricity demands.
For solar alone, the region has the potential to generate 10,000 gigawatts of electricity. For wind power it is 109 gigawatts, geothermal power 15 gigawatts, hydropower 350 gigawatts, natural gas 400 gigawatts. From coal, it is 300 gigawatts.
Oxfam said the landscape for power generation in Africa is beset with challenges including poorly managed utilities that result in an energy system that relies on expensive oil and gas. This leads to volatile prices and power producers suffering losses.
The region also relies heavily on hydropower, a source that is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, Oxfam said.（China Daily）
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