Running with the wind: in order to address Africa's enormous power shortages, governments are increasingly looking to sustainable and clean energy sources such as wind.

Author:Wesangula, Daniel
Position:Power
 
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The African continent, like the rest of the world, continues to clamour for solutions to energy deficits. Especially south of the Sahara, hundreds of millions of people have no access to electricity, while many of those that do suffer from rolling blackouts. Homes go dark and stay dark once the sun has gone down, and businesses struggle to compete and grow when having to deal with epileptic energy supplies. Moreover, with demand rising thanks to industrialisation, urbanisation and population growth, these problems are getting ever more urgent. It is little wonder then that governments all across The continent are attempting to address this energy crisis and looking to largely untapped sources of energy such as wind energy to help power Africa.

On 6th February 2015, for example, residents of Ayitepa, a small village in Ghana, gathered at a formal meeting to hear more about the benefits that they would potentially enjoy once a planned wind farm project kicks off. Over 300 people sat patiently as details of the 225MW wind farm project were broken down bit by bit.

Upon the farm's completion, they were told, those at the meeting and many more would finally have their homes lit up and have access to reliable electricity, some for the first time.

The Ayitepa Wind Farm project is the brainchild of Swiss company NEK Umwelttechnik, a private company founded in 1989.

"Like many more companies in the energy business, we too are recognising the opportunities in Africa," reads a statement on the company's website. "We have around 10 people working full time, each from a different professional background and job specialisation. We work both nationally and internationally, employing local people in each overseas location."

For the Ghanaian villagers, as with communities all around the continent, access to electricity through wind power would be hugely welcome and do much more than just light up their homes.

"The use of wind energy in powering our countries means much more than meeting an international standard. For some of the communities where such projects are involved, it means rescuing whole generations, introducing them to education and opening up their existence to a whole new world," says Isaac Kalua, energy consultant and founder of the Green Africa Foundation.

Swirling investment

According to the World Bank report, The Economics of Renewable Energy Expansion in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa, Africa requires huge sums of investment in order to expand...

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