Powering Africa

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Adam Barber
July 4, 2013
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Powering Africa

US President Barack Obama completed his tour of African countries this week. And in doing so, he left behind something that, if successful, could be one of his most important global legacies.

The President’s ‘Power Africa’ initiative outlined during his stopover in Cape Town last weekend, highlighted plans for the US to invest $7billion in order to provide 10GW of power to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Yes, that's right - that's a $7 billion investment.

Under the ‘Power Africa’ banner, a number of firms and investors are expected to expand the size of the available capital pool. South African bank, Standard Chartered, have also committed a further $2billion to the venture.

All in all, it's impressive stuff. And it's a shrewd US economic growth move, too.

As some commentators have already highlighted – it’s likely that one of the biggest beneficiaries will be US power equipment business, General Electric - as the firm receives export finance support under the deal. It’s something that President Obama hasn’t shied away from; acknowledging that US power engineering and management companies can bring a wealth of experience to the table.

In the main, the initiative all sounds very promising, although while the headline numbers might at first sound significant, it's worth reiterating that in the international energy markets, the investment still remains modest, at best.

However, what hasn’t yet been made clear, is just how much of an opportunity there is for wind energy to become involved in the programme.

The initial projects that GE will become involved with, for example, will use offshore gas.

So far, the most promising wind project in Sub-Saharan Africa is the Lake Turkana project in Kenya – backed by energy developer, Aldwych International.

And while that's a compelling initiative, power production in Africa needs a clear time imperative - particularly since much of the population still lacks an uninterrupted power supply.

That's not to say though, that gearing the projects towards renewable energy initiatives becomes an impossible dream.

After all, in the same way that African telecoms leapfrogged copper landlines, and moved to a mobile market from the start, so too can new energy grids better cater for renewable energy supplies.

In the first instance, that means moving away from traditional radial grids (built around a fossil-fuelled power generating environment). And in the longer term, it means taking a fresh look at energy storage, too.

Whatever the case, the opportunities for clean power development on the continent are manifest – and the time is now.

US President Barack Obama completed his tour of African countries this week. And in doing so, he left behind something that, if successful, could be one of his most important global legacies.

The President’s ‘Power Africa’ initiative outlined during his stopover in Cape Town last weekend, highlighted plans for the US to invest $7billion in order to provide 10GW of power to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Yes, that's right - that's a $7 billion investment.

Under the ‘Power Africa’ banner, a number of firms and investors are expected to expand the size of the available capital pool. South African bank, Standard Chartered, have also committed a further $2billion to the venture.

All in all, it's impressive stuff. And it's a shrewd US economic growth move, too.

As some commentators have already highlighted – it’s likely that one of the biggest beneficiaries will be US power equipment business, General Electric - as the firm receives export finance support under the deal. It’s something that President Obama hasn’t shied away from; acknowledging that US power engineering and management companies can bring a wealth of experience to the table.

In the main, the initiative all sounds very promising, although while the headline numbers might at first sound significant, it's worth reiterating that in the international energy markets, the investment still remains modest, at best.

However, what hasn’t yet been made clear, is just how much of an opportunity there is for wind energy to become involved in the programme.

The initial projects that GE will become involved with, for example, will use offshore gas.

So far, the most promising wind project in Sub-Saharan Africa is the Lake Turkana project in Kenya – backed by energy developer, Aldwych International.

And while that's a compelling initiative, power production in Africa needs a clear time imperative - particularly since much of the population still lacks an uninterrupted power supply.

That's not to say though, that gearing the projects towards renewable energy initiatives becomes an impossible dream.

After all, in the same way that African telecoms leapfrogged copper landlines, and moved to a mobile market from the start, so too can new energy grids better cater for renewable energy supplies.

In the first instance, that means moving away from traditional radial grids (built around a fossil-fuelled power generating environment). And in the longer term, it means taking a fresh look at energy storage, too.

Whatever the case, the opportunities for clean power development on the continent are manifest – and the time is now.

US President Barack Obama completed his tour of African countries this week. And in doing so, he left behind something that, if successful, could be one of his most important global legacies.

The President’s ‘Power Africa’ initiative outlined during his stopover in Cape Town last weekend, highlighted plans for the US to invest $7billion in order to provide 10GW of power to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Yes, that's right - that's a $7 billion investment.

Under the ‘Power Africa’ banner, a number of firms and investors are expected to expand the size of the available capital pool. South African bank, Standard Chartered, have also committed a further $2billion to the venture.

All in all, it's impressive stuff. And it's a shrewd US economic growth move, too.

As some commentators have already highlighted – it’s likely that one of the biggest beneficiaries will be US power equipment business, General Electric - as the firm receives export finance support under the deal. It’s something that President Obama hasn’t shied away from; acknowledging that US power engineering and management companies can bring a wealth of experience to the table.

In the main, the initiative all sounds very promising, although while the headline numbers might at first sound significant, it's worth reiterating that in the international energy markets, the investment still remains modest, at best.

However, what hasn’t yet been made clear, is just how much of an opportunity there is for wind energy to become involved in the programme.

The initial projects that GE will become involved with, for example, will use offshore gas.

So far, the most promising wind project in Sub-Saharan Africa is the Lake Turkana project in Kenya – backed by energy developer, Aldwych International.

And while that's a compelling initiative, power production in Africa needs a clear time imperative - particularly since much of the population still lacks an uninterrupted power supply.

That's not to say though, that gearing the projects towards renewable energy initiatives becomes an impossible dream.

After all, in the same way that African telecoms leapfrogged copper landlines, and moved to a mobile market from the start, so too can new energy grids better cater for renewable energy supplies.

In the first instance, that means moving away from traditional radial grids (built around a fossil-fuelled power generating environment). And in the longer term, it means taking a fresh look at energy storage, too.

Whatever the case, the opportunities for clean power development on the continent are manifest – and the time is now.

US President Barack Obama completed his tour of African countries this week. And in doing so, he left behind something that, if successful, could be one of his most important global legacies.

The President’s ‘Power Africa’ initiative outlined during his stopover in Cape Town last weekend, highlighted plans for the US to invest $7billion in order to provide 10GW of power to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Yes, that's right - that's a $7 billion investment.

Under the ‘Power Africa’ banner, a number of firms and investors are expected to expand the size of the available capital pool. South African bank, Standard Chartered, have also committed a further $2billion to the venture.

All in all, it's impressive stuff. And it's a shrewd US economic growth move, too.

As some commentators have already highlighted – it’s likely that one of the biggest beneficiaries will be US power equipment business, General Electric - as the firm receives export finance support under the deal. It’s something that President Obama hasn’t shied away from; acknowledging that US power engineering and management companies can bring a wealth of experience to the table.

In the main, the initiative all sounds very promising, although while the headline numbers might at first sound significant, it's worth reiterating that in the international energy markets, the investment still remains modest, at best.

However, what hasn’t yet been made clear, is just how much of an opportunity there is for wind energy to become involved in the programme.

The initial projects that GE will become involved with, for example, will use offshore gas.

So far, the most promising wind project in Sub-Saharan Africa is the Lake Turkana project in Kenya – backed by energy developer, Aldwych International.

And while that's a compelling initiative, power production in Africa needs a clear time imperative - particularly since much of the population still lacks an uninterrupted power supply.

That's not to say though, that gearing the projects towards renewable energy initiatives becomes an impossible dream.

After all, in the same way that African telecoms leapfrogged copper landlines, and moved to a mobile market from the start, so too can new energy grids better cater for renewable energy supplies.

In the first instance, that means moving away from traditional radial grids (built around a fossil-fuelled power generating environment). And in the longer term, it means taking a fresh look at energy storage, too.

Whatever the case, the opportunities for clean power development on the continent are manifest – and the time is now.

US President Barack Obama completed his tour of African countries this week. And in doing so, he left behind something that, if successful, could be one of his most important global legacies.

The President’s ‘Power Africa’ initiative outlined during his stopover in Cape Town last weekend, highlighted plans for the US to invest $7billion in order to provide 10GW of power to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Yes, that's right - that's a $7 billion investment.

Under the ‘Power Africa’ banner, a number of firms and investors are expected to expand the size of the available capital pool. South African bank, Standard Chartered, have also committed a further $2billion to the venture.

All in all, it's impressive stuff. And it's a shrewd US economic growth move, too.

As some commentators have already highlighted – it’s likely that one of the biggest beneficiaries will be US power equipment business, General Electric - as the firm receives export finance support under the deal. It’s something that President Obama hasn’t shied away from; acknowledging that US power engineering and management companies can bring a wealth of experience to the table.

In the main, the initiative all sounds very promising, although while the headline numbers might at first sound significant, it's worth reiterating that in the international energy markets, the investment still remains modest, at best.

However, what hasn’t yet been made clear, is just how much of an opportunity there is for wind energy to become involved in the programme.

The initial projects that GE will become involved with, for example, will use offshore gas.

So far, the most promising wind project in Sub-Saharan Africa is the Lake Turkana project in Kenya – backed by energy developer, Aldwych International.

And while that's a compelling initiative, power production in Africa needs a clear time imperative - particularly since much of the population still lacks an uninterrupted power supply.

That's not to say though, that gearing the projects towards renewable energy initiatives becomes an impossible dream.

After all, in the same way that African telecoms leapfrogged copper landlines, and moved to a mobile market from the start, so too can new energy grids better cater for renewable energy supplies.

In the first instance, that means moving away from traditional radial grids (built around a fossil-fuelled power generating environment). And in the longer term, it means taking a fresh look at energy storage, too.

Whatever the case, the opportunities for clean power development on the continent are manifest – and the time is now.

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