It is unthought-of, unheard-of, and appalling to say that in this epoch, a preponderant of African countries and the world at large solely depend on an unsafe environmental energy source which has finite sustainability for livelihood, called nonrenewable energy.
My heart quaked and my legs quivered when I discovered that Africa has substantial renewable energy resources, most of which are either under exploited or untapped. With Africa ranked as the second largest populous continent in the world. One pertinent question I ask myself is;
If this over reliance on nonrenewable source of energy can cater for the increasing population in the nearest future?
It is noteworthy that energy consumption increases in proportion with increasing number of developing areas. The continent Africa which is on the transition from underdeveloped to developing, need to tilt its scale of energy reliance to renewable energy source. This is to maintain the threshold of development for the continuous improvement of the well being and standard of living of its populace. To fully catalyze transition from the traditional energy dependency to renewable energy Africans and their leaders has to effect a lot of changes.
“The cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use in the first place”- Sheryl Crow
Energy diversification is a major tool worthy of socio economic transformation and this cannot be achieved without proper prioritization of policy advocacy for renewable energy. Budget planning and implementation in various African states should encourage small and medium scale enterprises, especially ventures that have taken considerable measures to diversify their energy reliance to renewable sources. Noteworthy is the fact that such ventures sparehead industrialization and development.
To further drive the transition, Presidents of countries who have appreciable amount of renewable energy sources can partner with other countries that have advanced in the utilization of such energy source. Hence, with such synergy, local exploration of such energy reserve will be expanded leading to job creation, infrastructural development and betterment of life.
Countries that have transitioned or are in the transition processs to renewable energy source includes:
- Sweden is noted to have diversified her energy dependency to biomass and hydro energy;
- Scotland depends on wind energy;
- Costa Rica uses a mix of hydro, wind and geothermal energies to power homes of its populace.
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful”- Malala Yousafzai.
In other to achieve this transition in Africa, African leaders can raise more advocative voices within their domain for renewable energy by sponsoring researches and equipping research institutes with modern facilities in that regard. As well as, making sure the outcomes of such researches are utilized for developmental impact. The gospel of renewable energy will be wide spread by such action as every contributory effort in research, adoption and implementation will lead to its sustainace for improving living condition.
Neighbourhoods that have untapped or underused reserves of renewable energies should be adequately sensitized and trained at intervals on the benefits of harnessing such potentials.
Ignorance is fostered by lack of knowledge.
Such training would expose indigenous skills in using local raw materials such as scraps for improvising in other to harness renewable potential such as solar and wind energies for a start. Such coordinated action gradually erases the erroneous impression in the minds of Africans that socio economic transformation is the sole responsibility of the government. Rather, it is a cooperative responsibility of the government and its populace.
As an eye opener, African countries with proximity to the coast are naturally endowed with hydro energy reserves. To harness the potentials of hydro energy, the practice of agriculture should be encouraged by the government through the saddled arms of government to the inhabitant domiciled in the endowed region.
Agricultural practices like fishing, irrigation and livestock farming in such location creates job opportunities. As a compliment, tourism can be explored from such endowment leading to income generation, foreign investment, job opportunities and infrastructural development. For example, in Kebbi State, Nigeria; the annual Argungu fishing festival on river Argungu is utilized for fishing activities, tourism and for fostering national unity.
To achieve an appreciable transition in renewable energy utilization, African leaders should note that a business as usual attitude will prevent the attainment of such developmental feat. Rather, progress will depend on strong transformational leadership, political stability and change in the mindset of populace from traditional energy dependency.
On a final note, I will lay hold on a quote of Tulsi Tanti as an encouragement to African leaders pioneering the utilization of renewable energies and those who want to mark a start.
“Replacing traditional sources of energy is going to be challenging task. However, by adding renewable energy to the grid and gradually increasing its contribution, we can realistically expect a future that is powered completely by green energy” – Tulsi Tanti.
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