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Exhibition Ticker - Wind Energy Best Option to Boost Electricity Supply

Participants at the 2012 African Economic Conference (EAC) have been told to encourage investment in wind power and other forms of renewable energy to increase access to electricity among Africans

Presenting a paper on wind energy development, Emelly Mutambatsere an
expert with the African Development Bank, said that Africa is faced with
the challenge of generating more power to meet existing and future
demand with over half a billion people in the continent with no access
to electricity.

But despite the daunting gap, Mutambatsere noted that for many
countries, an opportunity exists to enhance energy production in a clean
and sustainable manner because the continent is well endowed with
renewable energy resources.

Mutambatsere's assertion is backed by the 2010 World Energy Council
(WEC) report which said that Africa's reserves of renewable energy
resources are the highest in the world, and that the continent has
enough renewable energy potential to meet future demand. About 18 of the
35 developing countries ranked highest in renewable energy reserves, are
in Africa. "So with all this potential, what's stopping us?" he asked?

President Paul Kagame who spoke earlier urged Africa to invest more in
key sectors that would stimulate growth and result to sustainable
development with energy and infrastructure being at the fore.

The conference heard that out of the 27 developing countries in seven
regions with the highest potential for wind energy, Africa dominates
with eight of them. And 24 out of the 34 developing countries with
highest potential for solar energy are also found in Africa.

Egypt, Madagascar, Kenya and Chad have large on-shore wind energy
potential while Mauritania's potential is about four times its annual
energy consumption in tons of oil equivalent.

According to Khalid Siddig from Khartoum University, Sudan's wind energy
potential is equivalent to 90% of the country's annual energy needs. In
addition, five other African countries; Mozambique, Tanzania, Angola,
South Africa and Namibia have potentially large off-shore wind energy

"The disparity between potential and extent of exploitation raises
questions about constraints to development of wind energy on the continent."

Experts further say that while global wind-based electricity generation
is still globally underdeveloped compared to exploitation of other
renewable sources such as hydro, it has grown at an average annual rate
of about 30% between 1996 and 2008--making wind one of the world's
fastest-growing energy resources in terms of both coverage and
technological innovations.

"The growth reflects mainly advances in technology and energy security
concerns in a decade that saw some of the highest oil prices recorded in
history," said Mutambatsere.

Despite the positive trends, experts noted that installed generation
capacity of wind-based electricity in Africa, of about 1,000 MW in 2010,
does not exceed the 0.5% of global capacity.

"The disparity between potential and extent of exploitation raises
questions about constraints to development of wind energy on the
continent. The absence of detailed information at individual project
level further restricts developers and policymakers' understanding of
the market," he added.

In Rwanda, the government is investing heavily in energy production with
the target being to generate over 1,000MW of electricity from all
sources by 2020.

Electricity remains one of the key major impediments to investors as its
unit cost remains high pushing up the general production overheads.

Rwanda believes that by having electricity in excess, it can be provided
at lower prices to bolster industrialization and increase the economic
activities key to achieving sustainable growth and development.

Most of the power generated in African countries is largely hydro with
experts revealing that Despite the high wind energy potential in some
African countries, wind powered electricity generation is still very
limited, with an estimated 1.1 GW installed capacity in 2011 accounting
for less than 1 percent of installed electricity generation capacity on
the continent.

While there's optimism that the installed capacity for wind will
increase twelvefold over the next decade, in line with global trends in
renewable energy development and technological innovations, its
contribution to Africa's electricity generation will remain very limited
at 2% of all generated electricity in Africa by 2030, according to
International Energy Agency's 2010 projections.

What came as a more shocking revelation was that wind installed capacity
in Africa is not only small but also concentrated in three
countries--Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia accounting for 99%.

For more information on this article or if you would like to know more
about what www.windfair.net can offer, please do not hesitate to contact
Trevor Sievert at ts@windfair.net

www.windfair.net is the largest international B2B Internet platform --
ultimately designed for connecting wind energy enthusiasts and companies
across the globe!
Online Editorial
Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist

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