Meet the project coordinators Katja Bender and Stefanie Meilinger of the interdisciplinary energy project EnerSHelF and find out what makes the project so exceptional.
A shipment of equipment vital to the EnerSHelF project left port in Hamburg on 2 January 2020 scheduled to arrive at our project partner WASCAL located in Tema, Ghana on February 17 February 2020.
Held within the walls of the shipping container lie high tech measurement tools, that the project team will carefully set up and monitor in three project locations throughout Ghana. The equipment, which the German project partners WestfalenWind and University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhine-Sieg meticulously packed and inspected in Paderborn on the 12th of December, will allow the collection of location specific weather and energy requirement data.
EnerSHelF kicks off with a rewarding meeting of partners in Accra, Ghana
Constructive conversation, new perspectives, and enriching encounters – the first meeting of minds between the partners of EnerSHelF proved to be fruitful for everyone.
Representatives of the 11 partners of the EnerSHelF project convened in the Ghanaian capital of Accra for three days of intensive exchange and joint learning. Following a warm introduction, thematic teams jumped into planning sessions, ranging from the implementation of field experiments in different geographical areas to issues of market strategy & transfer and political economy.
Africa’s Energy Revolution
Sub-Saharan Africa is a region of vast opportunity and potential. With African energy demand predicted to grow twice as fast as the global average over the next two decades, Africa faces unique challenges in meeting this demand (International Energy Agency (IEA), 2019).
The growing weight of Africa’s energy needs are often felt when electricity consumption surpasses supply, leading to blackouts hampering production. These outages, also called “dumsor” in Ghana have become a familiar occurrence for many Africans, as they grapple without access to power for several hours daily.
In Search of High-Powered Solutions
In Ghana, these occurrences pose a severe burden to the healthcare sector, as for example, the cold chain for required vaccines and blood supply may be cut, the light in the operating room may go out or life-saving medical equipment may fail. With the continent having the richest solar resources on the planet, photovoltaic (PV) power, which harnesses energy from sunlight, could be the driver of future energy growth.
However, the PV market in Ghana requires further expansion and innovation, if it is to keep pace with the country’s accelerating demand for energy. According to the World Bank, only 3% of the population can currently access PV power through off-grid systems in West Africa and the Sahel (World Bank, 2017). Innovative solutions are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy and health access.