Switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy is an important and necessary step towards averting climate change. However, in our efforts to go green, we also need to be mindful of other consequences, both intended and unintended – and that includes how a mass deployment of renewable technology might affect its surrounding climate.
What if the Sahara desert was turned into a giant solar and wind farm, for instance? This is the topic of new research published in Science by Yan Li and colleagues. They found that all those hypothetical wind turbines and solar panels would make their immediate surroundings both warmer and rainier, and could turn parts of the Sahara green for the first time in at least 4,500 years.
"We must show a greater sense of urgency because what is at stake is the global relevance, social progress and economic productivity of Africa's nearly 1 billion people," urged Amadou Hott, Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth at the African Development Bank."Children are growing up without electricity. Energy powers economies and every delay in power project execution keep our people in darkness…Projects need to be implemented effectively so that people get power, and investors get risk-adjusted returns and consumers can pay affordable prices for their power supplies," Hott said.
The Bank is positioning the AIF, scheduled for South Africa, 7-9 November 2018, as a platform to improve the ease of doing business in Africa by advancing and promoting investment friendly regulations. AIF will also champion ethical business practices in Africa. Speaking at a roadshow on the AIF held in Abuja, the Special Advisor to the Nigerian President and Coordinator of the country’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Unit, Folarin Ayalande, assured that Nigeria was ready for investment but lack of affordable and long-term finance remain a major constraint.
Though the majority of African countries have developed relatively robust institutional frameworks for the regulation of their electricity sectors, much work remains in strengthening regulatory independence, says the Electricity Regulatory Index for Africa (ERI) – a crucial new report by the African Development Bank. The Report, released on the sidelines of the 2018 Africa Energy Forum (AEF) in Mauritius, measures the level of development of regulatory frameworks in 15 African countries and examines their impact on the performance of their respective electricity sectors. ERI also identifies areas in which improvement is most needed in Cameroon, CÔte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
“The main goal with the ERI is to incite key stakeholders in the African power sector to address regulatory performance and the gaps identified in the study,” said Amadou Hott, Vice President, Power, Energy Climate and Green Growth Complex at the African Development Bank.