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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.