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Posts from December 0

Electricity for the Poor – What Copenhagen Really Needs to Confront

By Donald Hertzmark -- December 9, 2009

When you fly overnight from Johannesburg to Europe the lights become thin just north of Lusaka, Zambia, a few more in Zambia’s Copper Belt and then nothing (and I mean nothing) until the North African coastline. For most of this 11-12 hour flight there are no artificial lights below. From the Sahara on south, but excluding South Africa, a region that is home to more than 400 million people consumes less electricity than New York City.

The World At Night (courtesy of Bert Christensen. Click to enlarge.)

  • And yet this area includes major oil producers:
    Nigeria produces 2.1 million b/d oil and consumes 19 billion kWh/y
    Angola produces 2.0 million b/d oil and consumes 3.2 billion kWh/y
    Equatorial Guinea produces 0.36 million b/d and consumes 26 million kWh/y
    Other sub-Saharan Africa oil producers supply more than 1 million b/d to world markets.

Christopher Flavin (Worldwatch Institute) on the Benefits of Electrifying the Developing World (quotations from the past to challenge prospective CO2 caps)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 2, 2009

“Today, 1.6 billion people in developing countries do not have access to electricity in their homes. Most of the electricity-deprived are in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. For these people, the day finishes much earlier than in richer countries for lack of proper lighting. They struggle to read by candle light. They lack refrigeration for keeping food and medicines fresh. Those appliances that they do have are powered by batteries, which eat up a large share of their incomes.”

– Faith Birol, “Energy Economics: A Place for Energy Poverty in the Agenda?” The Energy Journal, Vol. 28, No. 3 (2007), 1–6, at 3.

Chris Flavin, head of the Worldwatch Institute, has written prolifically (albeit often erroneously) on energy and the environment. Ken Lay, the architect of Enron’s “sustainable energy” vision, was a Flavin fan, keeping this study in his “Desk.”…