Editorial : Exploit renewable energy more because of its immense cost-savings

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Policymakers in Africa are being urged to consider the abundant renewable energy resources freely at their disposal.

Countries in the West and the East have gone ahead of Africans in the exploitation of these natural and greener resources because of the immense cost-savings it brings to their economy. The inclusion of renewables in the continent’s energy mix is key in addressing not only energy supply needs, but also to replace costly fossil-fuelled thermal power plants with greener and cheaper types – with the added advantage of domestic economic opportunities.

There are abundant declining solar and wind power costs, and this has been corroborated by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which note that “improved technologies and economies of scale among others have brought this about”.

To achieve macro-economic stability, spur growth and move the continent of Africa beyond aid, reliable and affordable power supply has to increase significantly, while relevant power infrastructure is expanded.

It is in the interest of Africans to use more of their abundant renewable energy resources to meet the continent’s energy requirement, instead of importing huge volumes of oil and fuel to power thermal plants.

Renewable resources won’t run out, which cannot be said for many types of fossil fuels – as we use fossil fuel resources, they will be increasingly difficult to obtain; likely driving up both the cost and environmental impact of extraction.

Also, renewable energy technologies require less overall maintenance than generators which use traditional fuel sources.

Renewable energy generation sources emit little to no greenhouse gases or pollutants into the air. The use of fossil fuels not only emits greenhouse gases but also other harmful pollutants that lead to respiratory and cardiac health issues.

And in a time like this when the coronavirus is ravaging communities worldwide with its attendant respiratory problems, what the world can least afford is more harmful pollutants from the overuse of fossil fuels in our lives.

Therefore, making a switch to more sustainable solutions that cause less harm to the environment is what policymakers should be aiming for.

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