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The latest & greatest renewable energy news from Africa

At the PEI, we are always interested in the latest science, technology and innovation coming from Africa. In the lead up to our upcoming Spotlight Seminar on the Future of Renewable Energy in Africa on the 29th November in London, here are some of the latest and greatest happenings in renewable energy on the continent.

1) Bladeless wind turbine technology introduced in Tunisia

Tunisian start-up Saphon Energy, has pioneered a bladeless wind turbine technology. The wind turbines, named ‘Saphonians’, feature a sail-shaped body, which is capable of capturing twice as much wind kinetic energy as a three-blade turbine for the same swept area. Delivered with the support of Microsoft’s 4Afrika initiative, the technology is also 45% cheaper to manufacture and easier to maintain and repair than bladed turbines. The Saphonians could be used and connected to the grid or used in off grid areas.

2) Madagascar’s 25 MW solar power project

Madagascar’s Ministry of Energy and Hydrocarbons are planning to build a 25 MW solar plant near Antananarivo, the country’s capital. The project will be structured around the World Bank’s Scaling Solar group program, which aims to facilitate the development of privately financed large scale renewables projects. Madagascar aims to electrify 70% of its households by 2030, covering 85% of its energy mix with renewables.

3) Hydroelectric dam in Ivory Coast boosts electricity output by 10%

The Soubre hydroelectric dam in West Africa was switched on for the first time last week, boosting the country’s electricity output by 10%. The 275 MW plant will help boost  the growth of the country’s economy, as well as allowing the production of abundant and inexpensive electricity. Ivory Coast is currently the world’s top cocoa grower, and it is hoped the Soubre dam will continue to increase production.

4) Loeriesfontein Wind Farm is operating via mobile transformer

Located in the Northern Cape Province, the Loeriesfontein Wind Farm has been making use of the latest innovations in technology. Mobile transformers enable early connection to the grid for commissioning the turbines. Each turbine on the wind farm is connected to a step-up transformer, which boosts the generating output of the wind turbine generator from 690 V to 33kV.

5) Cape Verde is on track to reach its goal of 100% renewable energy production by 2025

Cape Verde has pledged to obtain 100% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2025. Currently, only one third of the islands’ residents still rely on firewood and charcoal for cooking, and 95% of the population have access to electricity. However, 25% of energy produced already comes from renewable sources, and Cape Verde has had huge success integrating wind and solar into its energy system. With the use of cutting-edge technologies and innovative business practices, Cape Verde is on track to achieve its goals in a cost-effective and equitable way.

On Wednesday 29th November, the PEI will be holding a Spotlight Seminar on the Future of Renewable Energy at the Library, Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, London W1J 0BA. If you would like to attend, please email sarah@planetearthinstitute.org.uk. 

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