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The ACP S&T II funded project 'Promoting sustainable energy access through the use of geospatial technologies in West Africa' organized a regional training workshop on Geographical Information System for Energy planning form 11th to 12th August 2014 in Dakar, Senegal.
The workshop was focused on training member states on data and metadata collection to international standards, in the framework of GIS for supporting Energy Access.
The ACP S&T II funded project NEED- Network of excellence in renewable energy technologies for development has just published its first newsletter.
The existing lack of information and data on potential energy resources, infrastructure, projects, and technical know-how is hindering countless activities, particularly developments in the energy sector in Western Africa. This is due to poor-quality data on energy systems, potentials and trends, lack of standards, and a low level of awareness and technological development in terms of geospatial resource management. Such barriers need to be eradicated, for instance through the use of geospatial technology that can capture, compile, analyse and share information necessary for energy planning and development.
The ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Observatory for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECOWREX), a web-based information platform, was developed in response to the existing knowledge and information barriers that are hindering development in the energy sector in Western Africa. Its aim is to provide decision makers, project developers, investors, researchers and the general public with tailored information on the energy sector in the ECOWAS region. This platform also employs a Geographic Information System (GIS) to help visually assess the energy resources in combination with other human activities and plan where and when specific energy technologies can be deployed. To keep up with the demand for data sharing and knowledge transfer, it has become crucial to restructure the ECOWREX map framework.
BIOCHAR PLUS - Energy, health, agricultural and environmental benefits from biochar use: building capacities in ACP Countries
Growth in demand for wood fuel, coupled with a lack of alternative resources, has contributed to ecological decline (i.e. a decrease in forest area, increase in savannah, loss of biodiversity), soil erosion and health side effects. In Ghana, for instance, there is high consumption of wood (c.15 kg of wood per day per person) with the highest wood fuel consumption (charcoal or wood fuel) at the largest households, which may be related to wood fuel collection carrying no financial cost to households. People do not value energy conservation and this habit is seriously threatening the availability of fuel: it is estimated that in Togo there will not be any wood available in 20 years’ time. Some available options to change the fuel use need to be explored:
- Using other available biomass as feedstock.
- Improving cooking stoves to reduce the daily amount of charcoal or wood used per family.
- Improving feedstock characteristics (i.e. pellets).
- Studying, developing and applying sustainable forms of forest management.
ENRICH - Enhancing energy accessibility & efficiency through establishing sustainable STI support national networks with a regional dimension in East Africa
Energy deficit and energy poverty have become a major obstacle to growth and development in Eastern Africa. One of the major energy issues in the context of the EU partnership with Africa is price volatility and energy security. Eastern Africa suffers from high prices in the energy market and shrinking natural energy resources. In Tanzania, for instance, 80% of domestic energy consumption is biomass, which is used for cooking (firewood and charcoal)and approximately 95% of deforestation is due to the collection of firewood and production of charcoal.
Restricted access to energy resources is hampering the East African region from sustainable development. Despite the energy emergency in the region, support from research institutes and academia is inadequate to address this situation. However, at the policy level, various countries have stressed the importance of energy access and quality research and innovations.Unfortunately, there is a mismatch between policies, political decisions and societal needs.
In the WABEF project, biowastes are defined lato sensu; these include all organic residues issued from agricultural and agro-industrial productions and from municipalities. Conversion of these biowastes through anaerobic digestion to generate energy and fertilisers should allow the closing of the organic loop and generate a move towards an agronomic management of nutrients while addressing global issues such as food security, public health improvement, environmental management and climate change mitigation. Over the past five years, particularly in Europe, a booming development of anaerobic digestion plants has occurred, increasing the scientific and technological divide even more between African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) member states and most industrialised countries. This development could also take place in the Sudano-Sahelian zone where the climatic conditions are favourable for anaerobic digestion processes.
Even though Botswana, Namibia and Zambia have ambitious renewable energy plans, and activities have been rolled out in the past, a lack of knowledge and a workforce that is insufficiently skilled in renewable energy technologies (RET) is still undermining the development and application of these technologies. Although the potential for renewable energies has been recognised for several decades, governments remain resistant and it is mainly small-scale research, demonstration projects and enterprises that have been developed.
The Caribbean region has weak innovation systems. With research and development (R&D) investments being among the lowest in the world (< 0.5% of GDP), the development of a knowledge-based economy that builds on the use of science and technology to tackle important challenges for Caribbean societies is stifled. Within the context of limited private investment and a scarcity of research institutions, higher education and public research organisations constitute the main sources of knowledge and innovation. To reinforce the impact of research investment, policy makers need to ensure that knowledge is transferred from education and science to society. Understanding knowledge transfer and the associated role of intellectual property rights (IPR) is important in order for public policy to support new growth opportunities. The Caribbean innovation system and the way science and technology contribute to sustainable economic development can be improved through effective knowledge transfer (KT) mechanisms, as they provide incentives for creative and innovative activities, improve the climate for investment and international collaboration, mobilize market forces, and provide new business models.