Spain may have built a reputation as a holiday destination but the country is also one of Europe’s renewable energy leaders. The Spanish company, Trama TecnoAmbiental is now exporting that expertise across the globe, with a key focus on remote areas of Africa. Kaywa Mombou Chad, with a population of 500, never had electricity. But that changed last year with the building of a localized solar plant. The installation of some 170 solar panels as well as a battery ensures the village now has electricity 24 hours a day.
“It’s amazing how quickly people who have had a very limited experience to electricity, how quickly they recognize the potential of having it in a village. They think right away from having a water pump-to-pump water for irrigation and start to do some gardening. Their diet was essentially based on meat from their herds. We install a couple of pumps, they started to grow vegetables and it had a big impact.” Said Xavier Vallve, Trama Tecnoambiental
The local economy grew significantly. Hygiene improved and shops could stock fresh produce. But there were some complications.
“We are even seeing other induced problems which is that small village that now has electricity starts to get overcrowded because nearby villages that don’t get electricity start to move to the village and the village starts to grow very quickly without proper planning.”Said Xavier Vallve, Trama Tecnoambiental
The energy plant can be installed in isolated jungle areas as well as remote islands. The task of transporting the equipment requires significant logistical effort.
Professor Joan Ramon Morante of the Catalonia Institute for energy research believes localized renewable energy systems will play a major role in the future.
“To use renewable regeneration systems can help in the process to diminish the CO2 emissions. People need to take into account that some countries like India or many countries in Africa still with a lot of areas not industrially developed and can contribute in the next few years in the increase in the emissions of CO2.” Prof Joan Ramon Morante, Catalonia Institute for Energy Research
But others feel the system goes further than that.
“We are making the point that you can manage your energy at the local level without the need to harvest resources on the other part of the world. It also proves the point to developed, industrialized countries that it is possible to have local energy resources that are clean.” Said Xavier Vallve, Trama Tecnoambiental
In the meantime, there are now villages in Africa that are reaping the benefits of not just in having electricity but clean energy.