Electronic Product Design

Tuesday, 08 December 2015 00:00 Written by

08-12-15 Renewable energy 200Renewables All-Round

It has been a remarkable week for renewable energy development throughout the world. Despite the UK's continued attacks on the renewables sector, the entire African continent has come together to pledge around $20bn to develop at least 10 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2020. This comes on the back of the earlier announcement of the formation of a high-profile, tech figure-led renewables organisation, headed up by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, amongst others. I mean, if you want guys with financial resources, you really cannot look much further.

Let’s take a quick look at what both of these respective announcements mean for the wider world.

The African Union’s $20bn Plan

The African Renewable Energy Initiative, announced last Tuesday at the United Nations climate summit in Paris, will be hosted by the Abidjan, Ivory Coast based African Development Bank. The bank, which will also act as trustee, has turned its focus to delivering energy, seeking to bring it to some 620 million African citizens by the end of the decade.

The program will be partially funded by the $100bn pledged by countries around the globe to fight climate change in the developing world. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, said “We have enormous natural resources for clean energy in Africa. We have the potential to deploy 11 terawatts of solar energy, 350 gigawatts of hydro, 110 gigawatts of wind, and 15 gigawatts of geothermal.”

The initiative will likely see development of geothermal projects in East Africa’s Rift Valley, wind power projects across Northern Africa, and hydropower projects throughout the entire continent – though there is as yet no established timeline for delivery.

Breakthrough Energy Coalition

In the second piece of exciting news stemming from the United Nations Parisian energy summit, it was announced that billionaires including Bill Gates, Sir Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos have pledged to spark a “new economic revolution” based upon the belief that clean energy should be available for the entire planet.

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition will focus on early-stage clean energy companies throughout a massive range of renewable sectors, such as energy generation, energy storage, alternative energy production, transportation, agriculture and other vital infrastructure.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said “The renewable technologies we have today, like wind and solar, have made a lot of progress and could be one path to a zero-carbon energy future, but given the scale of the challenge, we need to be exploring many different paths – and that means we also need to invent new approaches. Private companies will ultimately develop these energy breakthroughs, but their work will rely on the kind of basic research that only governments can fund. Both have a role to play.” Whilst Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said current progress toward sustainable energy is “too slow.” They are right, in many ways. We need to focus on the creation of an abundant, or an abundance of renewable energy source(s). We are already struggling to implement renewable strategies, and have seen government responsibilities to the renewables sector the UK diminish.

Driving further innovation in the renewables sector is already difficult without losing much needed support from the government that would undoubtedly provide massive benefits for our environment, our society, and the big political ticket, the economy.


Image courtesy of: Anusorn P nachol / freedigitalphotos.net.


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