Electrify Africa to save lives

Jude Clemente’s June 29, 2014 article on Forbes.com gives an excellent explanation for the value of coal as an energy source. This article focuses specifically on the need to expand the use of coal in the developing world, as doing so will provide billions of people with much needed access to life-saving, affordable, reliable, electricity.

Africa needs more electricity, more coal, more gas, more nuclear, more renewables. The Sub-Saharan region, with a population of 910 million people, uses less electricity per year (145 TWh) than the state of Alabama (155 TWh) with just 4.8 million. There is only enough electricity generated in Sub-Sahara to power one light bulb per person for three hours a day. Over 65% of the population lives without any electricity at all.

The consequences of this scale of electricity deprivation are, in the words of Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the IEA, “unacceptable.” Of the 25 nations at the bottom of the U.N. Human Development Index, 24 are in Africa. Africa confronts rapid population growth, extreme poverty, high illiteracy rates, malnutrition, inadequate water supply, poor sanitation, and bad health.

Quite the opposite of the media reports about the need to cease using coal, a reasonable look at this issue quickly teaches one that those who are truly concerned about human well-being and flourishing will actively advocate for the use of coal-fueled electricity, especially in the developing world.

30. July 2014 by Jason Hayes
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