Monday, January 11, 2010

Entreprenuership and Efficient Energy in Africa.

The werewolf recently stumbled onto the technology blog White African via Instapundit. Excellent web destination! There's a great post on the introduction of low cost solar technology to the Kenyan market. The werewolf is fascinated by such things, and thinks observing them will be revealing in how to both potentially understand the pitfalls of solar technologies for developed energy grids, as well as monitoring a potential, and long overdue entrepreneurial revolution in Africa(qualified statement).

Firstly, the werewolf has always loved the old joke "What did Africa have before fire?"

Drum-roll for dramatic effect...


There's a very long, tired debate about the nature of colonialism both pro and con. The werewolf has no interest in going there right now. Although, it's crystal clear to anyone who has spent any time in Africa, that the crumbling foundations of the old colonial infrastructures are still in primary use in most countries. It's a sad statement, especially in light of the billions of dollars in foreign aid that has been wasted in Africa over the last four decades, with so little to show.

Anyhow, the werewolf is skeptical of how aggressively certain "green technologies" are being subsidized and pushed in the United States. He likes the concept very much, but still thinks the technologies need to mature and have better applications for integration before they can be viable for widespread adaptation. He doesn't think "going green" with theoretical, feel-good technologies, that are being propped up through extensive tax credits and subsidies will have a long-term positive effect, or is truly more efficient at this stage in the game.

However, by keeping keen eyes on a nation like Kenya, where the infrastructure is archaic, the demand for modernization legit, and the ability to by-pass a traditional western developed energy grid is possible. It seems like a great incubator for really understanding the power of mobile solar energy capture is being presented. The nascent stages, as mentioned in the article are about raising awareness and usurping the dependence on kerosene, yet, since the grid is worthless, watching the scale of small operations dependent on solar ramp-up over the next few years (assuming it all works), could providing fascinating insight in how to integrate such technology into a developed grid. Also, given that many Africans who will likely adopt this technology are living in rough market conditions, and the spirit of ingenuity tends to thrive in such places, a raft of new applications may be uncovered.

The werewolf thinks certain hypes are unwarranted, but in this case, he'll keep his eyes on Africa in the hopes that long-term aspirations of inexpensive, renewable, and easy energy application lessons can be learned. In the meantime, let's build some nukes on the home front.

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