News / Africa

West Africa Faces New Energy Demands

Mahama Kappiah of the Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency says governments need to provide capacity for new energy resources. (VOA/Joana Mantey)Mahama Kappiah of the Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency says governments need to provide capacity for new energy resources. (VOA/Joana Mantey)
x
Mahama Kappiah of the Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency says governments need to provide capacity for new energy resources. (VOA/Joana Mantey)
Mahama Kappiah of the Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency says governments need to provide capacity for new energy resources. (VOA/Joana Mantey)
Joana Mantey
West Africa is in dire need of electrical power for industrial production and home consumption because increased public demand poses a threat to regional economic growth and development. But the region is said to be naturally endowed with renewable energy resources which could be tapped for the benefit of its 300 million inhabitants.

Mahama Kappiah is executive director at the Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He said access to modern energy services can increase job creation and reduce poverty levels especially in rural areas. Kappiah said developing renewable energy resources could boost energy production in the region.

“The region (Africa) boasts of 23,000 megawatts of exploitable hydro resources of which we (ECOWAS) have exploited less than 20 percent. We have woodlots and forest areas. All these can be exploited to produce energy to improve our economies in the region”.

So far, 730 projects covering biomass, wind, solar and hydropower have been identified by ECREE for possible development. Thirty-five of these have reached different levels of maturity and are making an impact on people’s lives.

One example is a solar photo-voltaic plant in Cape Verde.  The project said to be the largest of its kind in Africa and covers over 13 hectares of land with a capacity of 7.5 megawatts of power. Kappiah said an additional wind power project is helping the country to save on fuel imports. 

“Before this plant was constructed, power interruption was like any other country in the region. Today, it has become a lot more stable and the government has saved so much. If from 2008, the penetration of renewable was almost zero, today, they (Cape Verde) have 25 percent renewable energy penetration. The government presently is carrying out a study for 100 percent renewable by 2030.”

Kappiah said operating renewable energy plants may involve higher cost at the initial stages. However, it becomes cheaper over time while creating benefits such as energy security, reliability and flexibility.

President Barack Obama recently announced a U.S. $7 billion initiative to improve electricity in Africa. The objective of “Power Africa” is to provide over 10,000 megawatts of clean energy over a period of five years.

Kappiah said the plan would help to attract needed funds for more renewable energy projects for the West Africa region.

Listen to interview with Mahama Kappiah
Listen to interview with Mahama Kappiahi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

Border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared their stories More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs