Africa bypasses dirty electricity lines with environmental alternatives

Global Business

Over 600 million people across Africa, don’t have electricity. It could cost hundreds of billions of dollars, to link power lines across the continent.

But some energy experts are calling for throwing out the old ‘big grid model’ altogether and leaping into a modern, environmentally-friendly system.

CGTN’s Daniel Ryntjes reports.

Two out of every three Africans lives without electricity. Efficient, affordable, reliable power is now within reach.

“Essentially not by following, the path of the western world, where we built power plants and strung people up and they bought electricity from a utility, that’s not working. It has not worked in Africa and much of Asia. And what’s happening instead is a revolution that is decentralized power, enabled because solar energy doesn’t have to be centralized,” Russell Sturm, Global Head of Energy Access at IFC said.

Most Africans have never installed landline telephones. Going straight to mobile is known as ‘leapfrogging’ over the old technology, providing the additional benefit of access to financial services.

Conventional ‘big grid’ electricity can work effectively in dense urban areas, but is highly inefficient and costly across the plains, deserts, rain forests and mountainsides of Africa.

The off-grid technologies are becoming so efficient, practical and affordable, that they are lighting up new development opportunities right across this vast African continent.

Environment writer, Jeffrey Ball discusses energy leapfrogging in Africa

For more on energy leapfrogging in Africa and latest developments in renewable energy. CGTN’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke with Energy and Environment Writer, Jeffrey Ball. He’s also a scholar-in-residence at Stanford University.