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Africa is dominated by energy poverty. In a continent of more than 1 billion people in 54 countries, more than half do not have electricity. Rapid population growth places an additional burden on energy services, with some saying that the continent's population will exceed 4 billion by the end of the century. In addition, access to electricity is limited and irregular. Economic centers, such as Egypt, have good electricity coverage. Still, electricity is still scarce in countries such as Chad, Liberia, and South Sudan, with reported
energy access of 1.5% only. Similarly, the picture looks bleak if you step outside the cities of the continent, where the rate of delivery of electricity to rural villages does not exceed 27.8% [1].

Interest in renewable energy has grown in recent years in Sudan, as the country expressed interest in production and seeking investment in various sectors. According to a study carried out by the National Energy Research Center, Sudan has high solar radiation estimated at 10 hours a day. Sudan also has all the components for renewable energy production, especially solar energy with a extended radiation of an average of 5-7 kWh per square meter, which increases more towards the north and north-west. Thermal pressure is also available. In addition, the silicon material from which a solar cell is made is available in Sudanese sand. There is also wind power, which is less expensive than solar energy, with wind speed in Sudan that does not exceed four meters per second in general. It can be used to pump water to generate electricity. There are studies of projects that have not yet been implemented in the Red Sea and Dongola to produce 20 kW of wind power.

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Source: Science Publishing Group

Sudan however relies on solar energy more than wind energy. The study also showed that biomass can be used for physical, thermal or chemical conversion. Exploring that biofuels can be produced using various wastes, such as animal, agricultural, factory waste, wood and other products and production of biodiesel and of compressed charcoal from animal waste [2].

Sudan has participated in the Nuclear Security Forum at King Nayef University for Security Sciences in Saudi Arabia, in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Arab Atomic Energy Agency, with the participation of 317 participants from Arab countries and related parties. Sudan has introduced its environment-friendly development strategy through the use of renewable and clean carbon-free energies in line with the national strategic goals for development, which aims to develop a roadmap for the use of renewable energies and adherence to international and regional agreements on the use of renewable energy.

As part of its choices and efforts to develop national income sources, with a large percentage of its oil revenues being lost due to the secession of South Sudan, which took with it 75% of the oil fields, Sudan resorted to its scientists to develop energy alternatives by exploiting the Jatropha curcas plant to produce biofuels in quantities greater than the need of the country.

Scientists have succeeded in rediscovering the semi-desert Jatropha extract as a quick and ideal alternative to gasoline, which serves the production of biofuels along with other important and useful extracts. Despite the importance of this tree and its ability to coexist in the harsh Sudanese conditions, until recently it meant little than the use in healing wounds and treatment of snake bites. However,
according to the recent success, the tree - some called it the magical tree or miraculous tree - is not limited to the production of biofuel. It extends to other extracts such as soap, glycerin, soil fertilization products, paper, compressed wood and some other medical uses to potentially treat cancers. [3]

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Source: Research Gate

Renewable energy projects are the only way to a better future, under conditions of climate change, drawbacks of fossil fuel consumption, depletion of oil reserves, and rising per capita consumption. Germany is a pioneer in renewable energy projects, providing more than 250,000 jobs, thus the sector is helping reduce unemployment. Germany is one of dozens of countries in the world that intend to make renewable energy the main source of energy.

In the Arab countries, serious attempts to invest and build future renewable energy projects are coming up. The United Arab Emirates announced plans to invest 163 billion dollars in projects to generate nearly half of the country's energy needs from renewable energy sources by 2050. In Saudi Arabia, the government is seeking to invest in renewable energy and its adoption is a major factor in the country's economy. Saudi Arabia plans to invest its resources and qualifications to obtain 10 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources over the next six years.

Government programs in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco aim at implementing renewable energy projects by 2030, and for solar energy to be the major source of electricity with coverage of more than 50%. Contracts have been signed with companies in European and
American countries. Kuwait is finally working on an energy project called the Shqaya project. A contract with Spain's TSKA was signed for $ 383 million. This project is one of the most important renewable energy projects using different technologies to achieve Kuwait's 2030 Vision for solar, thermal and wind energy [4].

In light of the current conditions in Sudan, it is impossible to predict the future of renewable energy. Sudan suffers from economic isolation that has overshadowed the situation of the Sudanese citizen, who can’t afford most of the basic elements of a decent life. For example, the shortage of gasoline and diesel, lack of transportation, and high cost of electricity and food. Governmental renewable energy projects, according to agreements with neighboring countries and the World Bank, have been hindered by the general government inclination to dry up the Sudanese market, the poor government performance, and the policies of the Central Bank of Sudan, which have led to a recession in the Sudanese economy.

In light of the current circumstances of the country, Sudan has been excluded from most development and renewable energy projects even after the lifting of the imposed economic sanctions. Sudan did not advance much. Hopes and aspirations of the Sudanese people for economic progress and prosperity are diminishing as days pass, and results of troubled projects alike were disappointing.

Additional Sources

www.scidev.net/mena/energy/data-visualisation/africa-hydropower-future-interactive-AR.html#

http://www.suna-sd.net/ar/single?id=23028

http://www.aljazeera.net/news/ebusiness/2012/2/23/زيت-الجاتروفا-الوقود-الحيوي-القادم-للسودان 


Islam Abu Algassim

Islam is a Sudanese blogger, a social networking site activist and a human rights activist. She holds a Bachelor of Administrative Sciences, and was awarded the Best Academic Article from the Institute of Tomorrow for an academic article on the use of huge data in improving transport in Sudan.