Renewable energy as solution to power cuts in Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa is witnessing a significant load-shedding-opportunity for investments in renewable energy.
Sub-Saharan Africa has been unable to capitalize on its abundant but underutilized renewable resources.
Load shedding occurs when power companies reduce electricity consumption by cutting power to groups of customers because the entire system is under threat.
This could be due to a lack of electricity or to keep transmission and distribution lines from becoming overloaded.
Load shedding can be caused by a variety of factors, including severe weather and infrastructure outages.
A power crisis characterized by limited producing capacity, erratic supplies, high costs, and low rates of widespread public access to the electricity grid is now affecting Sub-Saharan Africa.
The capacity of the region to produce electricity is lower than that of any other region in the world, and increase in that capacity has slowed. The region of Southern Africa is on the verge of a severe electricity catastrophe.
According to a September 19, 2022 report by VOA News, South Africa’s main power utility, Eskom, implemented its highest level of statewide power cuts to relieve pressure on the grid after two more of its aged power facilities broke down.
Additionally, the evil has spread beyond of South Africa. After the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) ordered the suspension of electricity production at its main hydro facility due to a water deficit, Zimbabwe’s ongoing power crisis is now worse. For the Zambian and Zimbabwean governments, the ZRA is in charge of managing the Kariba Dam.
The Lusaka Times reports- ZESCO National Spokesperson Henry Kapata stated that rotational load shedding has begun because the water level at Kariba Dam was 475.60 meters above sea level on December 31, 2022, necessitating the reduction of generation at the 1080 megawatts power station facility to below 400 megawatts.
Mr Kapata went on to say that this has hampered the power utility company’s ability to meet system load/customer power demand, particularly during peak demand periods in the morning and evening.
“This inability to meet power demand will be exacerbated by the planned outage of a 150 megawatt generator at Maamba collieries limited power plant for routine annual maintenance scheduled to take place from January 4th to January 20th 2023,” he explained.
The Southern African region’s electrical crisis won’t be resolved by raising output levels alone, though. Additional focus is also needed on power transmission and distribution. Finding fresh, original answers to the problem is essential, and one such approach could be to reconsider how electricity is produced, transmitted, and distributed while embracing technology.
Africa has 60% of the best solar resources on the planet. Sub-Saharan Africa has a unique opportunity to capitalize on its relatively low level of incumbent fossil fuel infrastructure in comparison to many other countries, as well as a large and growing demand for clean and affordable energy.
Renewables investment in Sub-Saharan Africa has not been as strong as it needs to be to achieve sustainable development goals.
Source: Enos Denhere