The Second Annual Powering Africa: Summit is underway in the District of Columbia, with leaders across the globe present and discussing ways to expand various energy components across the African continent.
Potential investors face an on-going challenge of understanding the level of energy access required across to service the various countries that make up the continent.
Energy Ministers and Director Generals from Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Mozambique, DRC, Namibia, and Madagascar are just a few of the officials in attendance.
Entertainer Akon, who was born in the US and raised in Senegal, was also on hand to further discuss his partnership with Samba Bathily and Thione Niang. The three have banded together to create the Akon Lighting Africa, created to focus on beyond the grid investment in Africa, and offer electricity to as many as 600 million Africans.
While some areas like the District of Columbia debates issues like whether or not to deregulate energy markets to allow consumers a choice in their supplier of electricity, Akon Lighting Africa simply gets to the most basic concept: providing people with access to energy for basic components within their household or dwelling. If you’re an District of Columbia resident, you’ve probably noticed that your electric bills are broken down into two main parts. One is supply (where your electricity originates) and the other is distribution (how it arrives to your home, via the physical power lines). Participants in the Akon Lighting Africa initiative don’t worry about that.
The conference was put on by EnergyNet, which focuses on investment into Africa’s power sector. EnergyNet strongly endorses what Akon Lighting Africa brings to the table.
“Akon Lighting Africa has placed access to basic energy, such as solar lanterns to increase education, said Simon Gosling, Managing Director of EnergyNet. “At its heart – education builds inspiration and inspiration builds economies and increases consumer spending power, not to mention aiding political stability as well.”
Akon was introduced by Solektra International. Solektra International involvement only re-enforces the rest of the energy world’s commitment to initiatives like Akon Lighting Africa, and it’s importance of community engagement. Countries within the African continent can bank on about 320 sunny days annually, and this makes it possible to teach locals how to install and maintain solar-powered electricity systems and micro grids to continually produce electricity. Presently, more than 5,000 people in 14 countries are employed and carries out that task.
Even DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is concerned about energy issues and lowering the District’s carbon footprint and saving taxpayer money.
Last year, she announced today a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Iberdrola Renewables, LLC. The company will supply 35 percent of the District government’s electricity with wind power, saving the city’s taxpayers $45 million by 2032.
The DC Department of General Services (DGS), which manages the District’s portfolio of government buildings, will purchase the entire output of Iberdrola’s South Chestnut 46-megawatt (MW) wind farm in southwestern Pennsylvania.
One would assume it would not include the Capitol Power Plant, a fossil-fuel burning power plant which provides steam and chilled water for US Capitol, the US Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and 19 other buildings in the Capitol Complex.
To learn more about the summit, please visit HERE.