More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger: Jack Diamond.
Yes, it’s true I do have the answer to the World’s energy problems. The answer, surprisingly, is Africa. Let me explain.
Africa, as we all know, is a vast continent – approximately 30.2 million km2 (11.7 million square miles). That, apparently, is around 20% of the total land area of the World. That’s big by anyone’s standards.
In fact Africa is 124 times bigger than the UK but with only 18 times as many people. This means huge areas are uninhabited.
What else do we know about Africa?
Much of the continent is hot, dry and extremely sunny. And this is where my plan lies.
Here in the UK much is made of solar panels and we’re encouraged by many people (governments, environmental groups etc) to attach a couple of these to our roofs. The problem is that the UK is quite far north, as is much of Europe, and this affects the amount of sunlight we get.
So, back to Africa.
It’s huge, it’s sunny and hot and not many people (comparatively) live there. Also, apart from a couple of exceptions, many African countries struggle financially. Africa should be, but it’s not, competing with the likes of China as a World economic force.
So, my plan is that we turn enormous areas of the continent – and I’m talking about several areas the size of small countries here – over to solar panel farms. Given what we already know, the amount of sunshine and the vast open spaces, Africa could be the World’s leading supplier of electricity. As a minimum it could supply all the electricity it’s own population could ever need but, given a big enough effort, it could be a massive exporter of energy to the rest of the World.
Think of the other benefits too. Thousands of jobs created across many countries in Africa, prosperity for the population and less need for the rest of the World to constantly throw bucket loads of cash in the direction of African countries. This would have a huge effect on ending poverty across the whole continent and, as a side benefit, the rest of the World gets any excess energy.
It’s a win – win situation.
But, of course, this means thinking big. And many, many charities I feel would be against the idea because their business model would be devastated – there just wouldn’t be all those hungry African babies to feed if the people were all more prosperous.
But, come on, do we really want to help them (and ourselves) or do we simply want to carry on throwing them scraps of comfort from time to time in the form of hand-outs?
And, please don’t tell me that we can’t afford to do this. The UK alone will be spending £16.3 billion in overseas aid each year by 2020. Last year the US gave $32 billion in overseas aid. Other countries also give huge amounts. Imagine if just one year’s worth of overseas aid from every developed nation was given to this project, it would be financed in less than 12 months – and we’d all be getting green, solar power too.
Or, alternatively, we can carry on sticking solar panels on our roofs here in Europe and knocking our electricity bills back by £50 a year whilst giving a couple of quid a year to pay some charity CEO’s overinflated salary.
Do I think it will ever happen? No, probably not, but you can dream can’t you?
Thanks for reading.
(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)