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

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs