News Selection – Energy for All
Recent news chosen to illustrate and update Tread Softly briefings on Energy for All.
How solar energy is powering off-grid areas in East Africa and lighting up lives
6/8/2018: Kenyans can expect to pay less for electricity upon the inauguration of the region’s largest solar plant next month, in the northeastern part of the country. Source: The East African
Tread Softly Comment: Kenya is relatively advanced in renewable energy provision, thanks to its geothermal resources. The country also has great potential for solar power but has had some difficulty in coordinating traditional development partners. Meanwhile, this new plant has been constructed by a state-owned Chinese company with Chinese finance, opening ahead of schedule. Possibly not the ideal solution for the Kenyan government but a common scenario in current African development. Relevant Briefing: Finance for Energy for All
UNESCO World Heritage Committee inscribes Kenya’s Lake Turkana as “in danger” over Gibe Dam impacts
28/6/2018: The Gibe 3 Dam, constructed upstream on Ethiopia’s Omo River, has already severely restricted flows into Kenya’s Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake. Now the World Heritage Committee is taking a stand against the Ethiopian government. Source: International Rivers
Tread Softly Comment: If the radical new government in Ethiopia is willing to discuss peace with its bitter rival, Eritrea, surely its longstanding disagreements with Kenya over the construction of up to 5 Gibe dams on the River Omo can be resolved amicably. Relevant Briefing: Coal and Hydro Dilemmas
Dilemmas for West Africa in tackling energy poverty
26/6/2018: West African countries are committed to connecting every household with an energy source, in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. At the same time, they have pledged to limit carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement.
African desert solar power for Africans
31/5/2018: For years, there has been talk of Europeans sourcing renewable power from the desert lands of North Africa. Now a more relevant project aims to bring solar power to 250,000 Africans in the Sahel region.
Energy poverty data published in Kenya
12/4/2018: The proportion of households in rural areas of Kenya using light from electricity was only 17.1% according to the latest national survey. Over 50% of Kenyans use wood fuel for cooking, mostly from unsustainable sources.
Indonesia juggles the coal versus renewables equation
29/3/2018: Indonesia has published a ten-year energy plan, but activists argue that not enough is promised to reduce dependence on coal - which is damaging health, especially through air pollution.
India seeks leadership role in solar energy
12/3/2018: India has launched a solar energy partnership that aims to help other tropical countries boost their use of solar power. During 2017 alone, India doubled its installed solar capacity from 10 GW to 20 GW.
The terrible toll of Malawi's power cuts
13/12/2017: John Vidal explores the economic and domestic hardship of extreme energy poverty in Malawi. Even the 10% of the population connected to the national grid are starved of the essential service.
West Africa's biggest solar farm launched in Burkina Faso
30/11/2017: Burkina Faso aims to meet 30% of its power needs through solar energy by the year 2030. Financed by the European Union and France's development agency, the $56.7 million, 33-megawatt plant is the largest in West Africa.
India’s Clean Energy Push Could Reduce Poverty
22/11/2017: India’s push to generate 160 gigawatts of wind and solar power by 2022 will enhance energy access and address poverty in rural communities, according to a new World Resources Institute report.