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Africa’s second liberation
The conventional generations of electricity have stymied the promotion of solar energy because its widespread use is deemed as bad news for thefossil fuel industry. But Africa can no longer play “their” game if we are to pull ourselves out of poverty. We have to start, now by utilizing the vast amount of solar energy that hits the continent’ssurface each year. 5 The sun should be the future energy powerhouse if the continent is to attain a better and meaningful development that will benefit the people as well as the environment. The beautyof it all could be the electrification of our towns and villages with energy from the sun. The average solar power received on the earth’s surface is 1.2 x 1017 W. This means that energy supply fromthe sun hitting the earth in an hour can meet the total energy 10 consumption on earth for a whole year. No wonder, the sun has been worshipped as a lifegiver to our planet since ancient times. Most ofthe energy we use today originates from the sun. This energy has been absorbed by biological organisms over millions of years. In fact, the energy from the sun is converted naturally into variousforms. For example, 15 wave energy is a result of the interaction between the convection-driven winds and the surface of the sea. Biological energy (biomass energy) is also stored in living organisms bythe process of photosynthesis. These energy forms are available as renewable resources because of their regular replacement on a daily, or even hourly, basis. On the other hand, fossil fuels (coal, oiland 20 gas), although laid down effectively as biomass, take millions of years to form and need to be regarded as finite or non – renewable resources.
From New Africa, July 2003, n° 420.