Advantages and challenges of renewable energy provision
Renewable energy refers to energy collected primarily from renewable sources and are naturally replenished. Africa is ripe for the installation of renewable energy sources (Guardian 2014). Africa suffers immensely from the lack of electricity. As such, the African market offers immense profits for both African communities, economies and the investor community.
Africa is home to diverse energy sources, including but not limited to natural gas, coal, solar energy, and even diesel. The existence of this renewable sources of energy are an added advantage to Africa. Most importantly, one of the major advantages of renewable energy is that it is sustainable and does not come with the risk of running out. The provision of clean energy is a major advantage because they are non-pollutant, hence have no green-house effect on global warming.
The donor community, private investors appreciate the need for Africa to be powered in a bid to achieve its full potential. Despite being home to diverse natural resources, installation of renewable energy plants face serious challenges.
One of the main challenges at the moment is that Africa’s infrastructure is not fit for purpose. When planning to invest in Africa, investors have to deal with the dilemma of bringing their own infrastructure to support their plants. For instance, firms must provide their own generators.
Secondly, among of power generated does not effectively address the needs of the continent. In 2012, the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa produced 90GW, which is close to the production of Spain independently. As a result, only two-thirds of Africa is connected to electricity.
Characteristics of Nigeria and South Africa’s energy Frameworks
The South Africa and Nigerian energy frameworks are mired with governmental bureaucracy. The source of this bureaucracy is the lack of political goodwill towards renewable energy production; educating politicians on the advantages of using renewable energy is not the cure to this ignorance(Guardian, 2014). In South Africa and Nigeria, political goodwill has to be bought through corruption.
Minimizing the risk of the graft is the main challenge and dilemma faced by investors. As a result of the rampant corruption, projects in South Africa and Nigeria risk poor project appraisal systems, high levels of informality and ineffective management.
Source of conflict in the Niger Delta
The primary cause of conflicts in the Niger Delta revolves around misconceptions about what renewable energy can achieve. This stems from ignorance of the political class as well as the inhabitants of the region. Secondly, there have been concerns about unfair acquisition of land; leading to anxieties amongst local communities on the benefit they stand to gain from the increased energy production.
The resistance by local communities is out of past experiences where they have been forced to sell their land expecting to benefit from the projects only to be short-changed. It is of paramount importance for investors to clear any source of doubt amongst these local communities. Winning the goodwill of the locals should be one of the primary goals before construction begins.