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Africa looking to make ‘bold steps’ for smart grid – report

Africa is taking bold steps toward smart and sustainable power infrastructures even in the middle of pressing issues like food and water, according to a report from Zpryme.

The report says several multinational companies see great potential for smart grid in Africa. The likes of Siemens, G.E., and Chevron have made investments in the continent where several countries have an “inadequate, stagnant and unreliable electricity infrastructure.”

“Africa is a huge powerhouse for solar energy, geothermal energy and hydro-electric energy,” the report said.

They cited a report from Smart Grid News, saying Zambia has the potential market for “build, own and operate” or “build, own and transfer” energy storage systems by having 20 percent of all of its electricity coming from small generators.

“Zambia has nearly 5 million mobile telephones (roughly 35 percent of the population), indicating that the telecommunication network reaches further than the electric grid,” the report added. “Companies can potentially collaborate with local telecommunication companies to connect the generators for rural cell towers to towns and villages.”

With that, the costs of the energy infrastructure and cellular service could be integrated, creating an integrated telecom and power provider in the process.

In civil war-plagued Kenya, where only about 20 percent of the population has electricity generated from a mix of hydropower, geothermal and thermal energy, the fear of a drought wiping out all power sources is a possibility, the report said.

The government has taken steps of avoiding a possible nationwide blackout by setting the goal of providing 50 percent of the country’s power requirement by 2018 with geothermal, and installing small solar systems in Kenyan homes at a “frantic pace”.

Plans of negotiating a transmission deal with Ethiopia are underway, and it will be paired with wind power production. – EcoSeed Staff

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