Across sub-Saharan Africa, 620 million people — 60 percent of the region’s population — lack access to electricity, according to the African Development Bank. As this infographic reveals, the current picture of electrical generation in the region includes substantial variation in grid-based capacity and a diverse mix of energy sources. As reported by Tom Jackson in Ensia recently, “The electrification of Africa is a process that is ongoing, with the results set to be impressive.”
Solar Powered Light Towers for Remote Areas
Solar powered light towers can be installed in remote locations to support industrial operations, emergency services in disaster zones and exploratory excursions. The portable units are a viable option for businesses and groups that engage in activities in far-flung areas, because they do not rely on the grid for electrical power and limited fuel sources, such as gasoline or propane. Decreasing Installation and Operational Costs The greatest benefit of using solar powered light towers is the reduction of...
How big is the distributed energy opportunity for water and wastewater utilities?
Energy costs for water utilities are large, and growing Energy is a significant cost for many water utilities, and costs are growing as more energy-intensive forms of water supply, including desalination, are being used. Energy is typically the second-largest utility budget item in developed countries, after labour. In many developing countries, energy can account for 70% or even more, of annual costs. But water and wastewater utilities can generate and export energy – in multiple forms. Water utilities...
Study: Climate change could overwhelm U.S. electrical grid
Climbing temperatures associated with global warming could wreak havoc on the U.S. electrical grid, according to a new study on the economic and social costs of climate change. Published last week in the scientific journal Proceedings by researchers at the University of California-Berkeley, Stanford, and University of Michigan, the study says the country will need to spend at least $180 billion on the electrical grid by the end of the century to cope with peak consumption caused by rising temperatures. Because...
Ellen Williams: The future of energy innovation
As director of the U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, Ellen Williams plays a pivotal role in cultivating and guiding energy technology discovery and development in the United States. Ensia recently invited Williams to share her views on what we should watch for in the wide world of energy innovation in the months and years to come. What in your mind is the most important energy innovation of the past year? The past decade? The country has made some incredible strides in energy over...
Want to improve wind and solar power? Bring them together
By combining intermittent renewable energy sources through hybrid projects, developers are taking advantage of the strengths of each. What’s keeping solar and wind power from fully taking over the electric grid? For starters, the sun only shines during the day. Wind blows intermittently, is seasonally variable, and is not always blowing when the energy is needed. But what if solar and wind work together? “Wind resource tends to complement solar resource,” says Sarah Kurtz of the U.S. Department...