Weekly Review March 24-30

Source: Wagner Christian (Wikimedia)

We can never place enough emphasis on the need for alternative energy in emerging markets. From wind to solar to “crazy” energy as Bill Gates calls it, the potential to leverage innovation for increased energy access is a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs, investors, and development advocates alike.

Bill Gates: We need crazy energy entrepreneurs” by Katie Fehrenbacher on GigaOM
Bill Gates recently called attention to the dire need for break though innovation, with an emphasis on clean power. To do this, Gates elaborated, the right rewards and support must be in place. Gates sets an example: he is an LP in Khosla Ventures and has invested in TerraPower and Liquid Metal Battery. It’s critical challenge in achieving environmental sustainability and reducing global poverty – we hope that his words impact scientists and engineers and inspire their drive to innovate in alternative energy.

About half of rural households still depend on sources other than electricity for lighting” by Indicus Analytics on Business Standard India
The latest Indian census revealed only small improvements in access to electricity in rural areas in the past ten years.  In 2001, 43.5% of the rural population had access to electricity, compared to 55.3% in 2011. Despite the small increase, the decrease in kerosene dependence was also small over the ten year period. We hope to see alternative energy systems dramatically increase access in the next ten years.

Thin Film: A Competitive Option in a Changing Landscape” by Chris O’Brien on Renewable Energy World
The rapidly evolving and challenging PV industry has a bright future, driven largely by the average $1/watt for PV modules. O’Brien writes that emerging markets will experience the largest market growth in the coming years. Thin film in particular has the potential to serve as a low-cost ($0.50/watt to produce) solution to increase global dependence on solar energy.

Lake Turbana Circled in Red

Kenya to host sub-Saharan Africa’s largest windfarm” by Clar Ni Chonghaile on The Guardian 
The Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in remote Kenya will provide low-cost wind power to Kenya’s national electricity grid. This planned windfarm will be the largest in sub-Saharan Africa, providing the equivalent of about 20% of the current installed capacity on the grid. Increasing capacity to catch up to demand will improve electricity access for the 82% of Kenyans who lack it. Production is on schedule to start on December 2013.

Ghana to host West Africa Solar conference” on Ghana Business News
On April 4, Ghana will host “Solar West Africa 12,” a forum and exhibition designed to attract and unite key players in the solar industry. The Deputy Minister of Energy, Alhaji Inusah Fesini, will open the conference and outline Ghana’s goals to increase its reliance on solar. In Ghana, 40% of the population lacks access to electricity.

New here?