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Posts Tagged ‘Energy’

Race to Electrify Rural Africa Could Help The West Too

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on September 20, 2014


Investments in mini grid systems aimed at powering up remote parts of Africa may provide a test bed for rural energy infrastructure elsewhere in the world

TURNING on the lights in Africa may help to power up the rest of the world sustainably. New investments in mini grid systems aimed at bringing power to rural Africa and other remote areas may provide a test bed for the rural energy infrastructure of the future.

Rich nations are taking an increasing interest in electrifying the rest of the world. At the Africa Leaders Summit in Washington DC this month, US president Barack Obama announced an additional $12 billion in funding for his administration’s Power Africa initiative, which aims to help bring power to at least 60 million households and businesses across the continent.

But 85 per cent of the 1.3 billion people lacking electricity worldwide live in rural areas. That means powering Africa won’t be as simple as hooking up villages to a centralised power grid. Localised “micro-grids” are beginning to take off. They can generate anything from a few watts to a few megawatts and provide power for tens to thousands of households at a time.

An increasing amount of this power is coming from renewable sources, such as wind, solar and hydro. “It creates an opportunity,” says Subhes Bhattacharyya at De Montfort University in Leicester, UK. “You don’t have to follow the old-fashioned way of doing things. You can jump the queue to new technologies.”

For instance, international group Practical Action is building micro-hydro-power plants in Zimbabwe and Kenya, which harness falling water such as that in mountain rivers.

Another group, a Kenyan start-up called Access:energy, developed a model to teach Kenyans to make parts of wind turbines out of scrap metal and car parts, reducing the need for outside help should a part of the system break. A single turbine can generate about 2.5 kilowatt-hours per day, enough to power a micro-grid for 50 homes.

These sorts of local efforts are important – and not just for getting electricity to rural Africa. The continental US and other rich parts of the world have set goals for switching to renewable power and reinventing electricity grids as well. Lessons learned in Africa could help get parts of the US running on renewables and micro-grids.

“There are vulnerabilities because of the way our US grid is based on big, centralised power stations that are all very interdependent,” says Gwen Holdmann at the Alaska Center for Energy and Power in Fairbanks. “If one component goes down, it can cause a cascading effect.” Switching to local grids can ultimately help make the whole power infrastructure more robust in emergencies such as hurricanes or solar storms.

Not everyone agrees that renewable energy is the best option for Africa, however. Micro-grids may not be the cheapest option in the long run, as electricity from small grids tends to be three or four times as expensive per unit than that from centralised sources.

It hardly seems fair that the people who can least afford energy must use a more expensive system, says Bhattacharyya. “On the other hand, if they don’t get electricity and remain in darkness, then it’s unfair for them as well. That’s the choice one has to make, and there’s no single solution for all.”

This article appeared in print under the headline “Africa’s power surge”



Posted in Curiosity, Ethiopia | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Love & Faith Will Boost Your Energy

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on October 27, 2012


1. Focus on regrets, resentment, or anything which exerts energy fretting about the past.

2. Focus on fears, worries or anything which exerts energy being anxious about the future.

3. Spend time with people who don’t support or believe in you – or worst yet make you doubt your full power.

4. Complain, gossip, scream, hurt someone, devalue someone, lie to someone, cruelly judge someone, feel shame, feel guilt.

5. Eat or drink foods and beverages which don’t digest well with your particular physicality (i.e. dairy, carbs, wheat, gluten, sugar, alcohol – whatever your specific food or beverage kryptonite might be.)

6. Sit around, inactively, not doing anything which makes your heart and soul race with joy.

Truly – all of these things wind up lowering your energy. If you feel sick and tired of how things are in your life, chances are it’s because you’re making yourself sick and tired – by engaging in too many energy leaking things.


1. Focus on sharing love, learning lesson, finding meaning, feeling a purpose, expressing gratitude, harnessing faith, valuing kindness.

2. Focus on being fully in the present moment, living at the speed of life, fully enjoying the people and events around you.

3. Spend time with people who support you and believe in you – and inspire you to believe in your ability to pursue your dreams and grow in new, exciting ways!

4. Eat and drink foods and beverages which increase your energy – like fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, appropriate protein for your body/belief system, caffeine in moderation, and lots of fresh pressed juices daily.

5. Speak positive words, share compliments, offer help, inspire others, express gratitude out loud, make someone feel loved, encouraged someone to be their most authentic self in your company, encourage yourself to feel confident to be your most authentic self wherever you go!

6. Do activities you’re passionate about- which make your heart and soul feel perky – including things like working out, cooking, painting, writing, yoga, hiking, walking, swimming, being in nature, being around art, or reading inspiring books.

Truly – all of these things wind up re-energizing you. So if you’re feeling low on energy – just do an energy-booster from this list!

Again, it doesn’t matter how brilliant, talented, kind, funny, loving or loveable you are! If you feel exhausted, depleted, worn out, frazzled…you won’t be able to fully bring your awesomeness into your career, your relationship, your parenting, your happiness – and all of these aspects of your life will suffer!

So stop leaking your energy! Start boosting your energy instead. Because it’s true: whoever has the most energy wins!



Posted in Faith, Life, Love | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Another Stealth War For Resources : The New Scramble for Africa

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on February 1, 2009

Biofuels war has broken out in Africa.


Newspaper headlines have not proclaimed it but the gist of it is already out. Big money profiteers from Europe and United States are rushing to Africa in a new scramble for the continent, transforming large swathes of arable land into massive biofuels plantations.

Local but poor populations in many parts of Africa are increasingly being driven deeper into economic obscurity yet 60% of them still depend on agriculture for survival. Another 60% of that eke out a living by subsistence farming and animal husbandry.

The World Bank has been sitting on a secret report since April that says biofuels are responsible for the global food crisis; food prices have risen 75% because of the impact of the search for alternative fuels through the use of food products.

According to the anti biofuels investment campaigners, whole villages are being cleared or grabbed, but families have been given minimal compensation or opportunities for their loss of land, community and way of life.

African civil society is calling for a moratorium on new biofuels investments in Africa amid concern that that the biofuels revolution will bring more food insecurity, higher food prices and hunger to the continent. In Tanzania, thousands of farmers growing cereals like corn and rice are already being evicted from fertile land with good access to water, for biofuel sugar cane and jatropha plantations on newly privatized land.

Endangered wildlife are not spared too. It is claimed one European investor has been granted 13,000 hectares of land in Oromia state of Ethiopia; 87% of which is the Babile Elephant Sanctuary, a home to rare and endangered elephants.

Spiegel Online reported recently how African governments and local farmers were being showered with promises by these big money spenders out on a green gold mad rush on the continent and further questioned if the frenzy was a form of economic colonialism.

Sun Biofuels, a British firm, has been granted free of charge a 99 year lease by the Tanzanian authorities to put 9,000 hectares or 22,230 acres of farmland under biofuels crop in exchange of a paltry $20 million (€13 million) corporate social responsibility investment to build roads and schools, among other amenities.

This deal follows dozens others involving firms from Netherlands, the United States, Sweden, Japan, South Korea, Canada and Germany, the German website reported. It is emerging that the US and Europe may be in a trade war over biofuels subsidies.

To prove that the biofuels scramble has nothing to do with alternative fuels but profit and more profit, Spielgel reported that Prokon, a German company switched from its primary business of producing wind turbines to growing jatropha curcas, now the catch phrase of African biofuels, in a land area the size of Luxembourg. It is a shrub with toxic seeds which contain a high percentage of oil used for candles, soap and biodiesel production.

But skeptical European scientists, alarmed by the impact of biofuels on skyrocketing food prices, are pushing the European Union to back away from its commitment to eco-fuel. Part of this skepticism, however, means that while the Western world pursues biofuels, caution demands that other lands must be found to cultivate the crop, and Africa fits the bill.

With China also looming in the picture, Africa could just be the perfect battle ground of the Biofuels Armageddon. Sadly, her role, as in most other economic wars, will be that of the grass on which two elephants fight.


Posted in Ethiopia | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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