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The grass is green here: Africa and the eco-uprising 0

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By Staff – Afronline

The grass is green here: Africa and the eco-uprising

In the Turkana lake district of Kenya a howling wind blows almost all year round. The meteorologists attribute this anomaly to the valley floor lying between two mountains, the heat difference between the desert and the lake and a scientific process called the Venturi effect. Besides the wonder of these strong and predictable winds, there is another benefit to this natural phenomenon; energy. It is here that the biggest wind farm in Africa will be constructed, and it is from here that Kenya will receive over 30% of her electricity.

Soon 365 giant wind turbines will cover part of the Turkana landscape, and jointly they will generate somewhere in the region of 300 megawatts (MW). To give these statistics some basis in reality a 5 MW turbine can produce more than 15 million kilowatt hours (kWh) in a year, enough to power more than 1, 400 American households. And what are the input costs, post construction and maintenance? Nothing, unless we start to put a price on air.

Water, wind and earth versus fire

With the known effects coal driven power stations are having on carbon emissions, and hence the end product of global warming, there has been a hard drive by power utilities and governments across the globe to try and source viable and sustainable energy solutions.

The Turkana Lake project is not a unique venture in Africa; rather it is one of a spate of initiatives aimed at alleviating the continents potential dependence on fossil fuels.

Prior to the announcement of the Turkana project, the Ethiopian government had begun to implement its own giant wind farm. Boasting a 120MW output, the turbines are to be erected in the Ashegoba region, and will meet around 15% of Ethiopia’s current energy needs.

In the Congo Basin the controversial Grand Inga dam project is beginning to take shape. With a visit from World Bank chief Robert Zoellick last week, the development has re-emerged in the international media. At 40,000MW, the Grand Inga dam has more than twice the generation capacity of the giant Three Gorges dam in China and would be equivalent to the entire generation capacity of South Africa. It will be the biggest hydroelectric power project in the world.

The Grand Inga dam project will involve transmission cables linking South Africa and countries in West Africa, a cable would also run through the Sahara to Egypt. What makes the project controversial is not the astronomical budget, but the fact that a substantial amount of the energy production will be rerouted to Europe.

The rest of the world is also looking to Africa to solve their energy problems.

By Matthew Choate Africa The Good News

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