How innovation is key in the access to clean energy in Africa by Alexandre Guillemot

Feb 22, 2019

How innovation is key in the access to clean energy in Africa

 

Around 650 millions (50%) of people living in Africa have no access to electricity and the next decades challenge is definitively to reduce this drastically. The fact that a large part of Sub-Saharan Africa lives in rural areas do make things even more complicate, but paradoxically offer a huge opportunity for start-up innovating in the energy sector.

 

Start-up, because they are flexible can bring disruptive technologies to increase drastically the energy access and in the past few years we have seen many small and mid-size companies innovating in smarter monitoring system, more efficient sensors and meters, big data, etc…. Because when a grid extension to electrify remote areas is too costly, innovation can be the answer in providing not only reliable and clean but as well affordable (at least less expensive) access to energy.

 

In remote areas where there is no Wi-Fi signal, GSM modules are now able to send SMS messages to the cloud proving data which can be analyzed to improve the systems, machine-learning can help to better anticipate the energy management, big data collection can improve investors visibility, innovations in batteries and solar PV contribute to the multiplication of microgrids… Any company, which can innovate, has an opportunity and the market is huge!

 

If there is no doubt that the electrification of Africa will be made partly through innovation, the second challenge is that African start-up in energy sector emerge quickly to position Africa at the forefront of its own energy revolution. If Africa manages to do this, it will get a double economical benefit. A first one for the rural communities and small business, which will be electrified, and a second one for innovative African start-up.

 

To do this, they need support, funds and visibility and for example events such as the International Cleantech week organized in Annecy (France) are obviously part of the answer as it could be potentially a forum for all these start-up to present their innovation solutions. This is as well one of the major goals of Deepbloo: giving a visibility to these small promising companies in an ecosystem dedicated to the energy sector where they can promote their innovations to thousands of professionals working in Development Finance Institutions and large energy corporations!

 

If providing access to remote areas in Africa is an absolute necessity, ensuring that this will be partly done by the African people themselves should continue to be a reality!


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