Watch Out for Renewable Energy Growth in Emerging Markets

A number of sub-Saharan African countries are headed to the polls this year, and energy is set to be a key campaign issue - 620 million people do not have reliable electricity supply, according to the International Energy Agency. At the same time, investors are plumping for renewable energy to solve this problem, so expect energy to be a big campaign issue this year. South Africa in particular has seen a lot of investment over the last few years. It is to be expected with the consistent increase in mobile phone access, because cell-phone towers need reliable sources of energy and often renewables are a better bet than traditional energy sources. Another innovation that can push adoption is flow batteries, which are designed for stationary power needs like those of cell towers and are able to tolerate high temperatures. Renewable energy can solve more than just one problem though, as the article linked to below says,

...micro-grids, besides supplying power to the towers, can provide incremental energy to a local community, resulting in spontaneous growth in the local ecosystem of services and revenues, a self-propagating, virtuous circle – achieved without waiting decades for the slow and expensive build-out of the distribution grid to reach the remote areas.

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