University of Vaasa delivers Energy Villages to Africa

The University of Vaasa is a partner in the international LEAP-RE consortium that is a long-term partnership between the European Union and the African Union for research and innovation in the energy sector. The university is responsible for delivering the Energy Village concept within the program, which includes the establishment of 16 energy self-sufficient energy villages in Ethiopia, Botswana, Uganda and Kenya in Africa.

The Energy Village project will be carried out together with the following collaboration universities: Addis Ababa Science and Technology University (Ethiopia), Botswana International University of Science and Technology (Botswana), Makerere University (Uganda) and Moi University (Kenya). On top of this, the local inhabitants will be actively and strongly integrated into the project from the very beginning, including the planning phase.

We will introduce the Energy Village concept including a plan for investments, not by forcing the previously well functioned praxis, but adjusting it based on the preconditions of each village. We will start by analysing each region’s energy consumption and investigate the potential for producing renewable energy. It will be important that the operational program, developed for each energy village, will be applicable to the African society and its fundamental principles, says Ari Haapanen, the project manager from VEBIC, the Energy research platform at the University of Vaasa.

An Energy Village is defined as a small region or village that produces all its energy by renewable sources, all harvested from its own area. Therefore, all the money used for buying energy will circulate within the own community – this, in turn, will generate employment and well-being for the local community.

– Our aim is that this activity will continue also after the official project has ended, continues Haapanen.

Energy Village is a four-year project and it starts in June 2021. The plan is that the University of Vaasa team will make 3-4 site visits to Africa, depending on Covid19 regulations.

The project will also provide Finnish companies opportunities by having the possibility to recommend Finnish technology and service providers and their solutions to be used in the target villages.

The aim of the LEAP-RE consortium (Long-Term Joint EU-AU Research and Innovation Partnership on Renewable Energy) is to develop renewable sustainable energy solutions all over Africa. The actual program collates 83 research partners from Europe and Africa, which all aim at supporting and promoting the innovations and constructing solutions based on renewable energy sources. The total budget of LEAP-RE is M€ 32, whereof the share of University of Vaasa is 214000 €.

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Further information

Ari Haapanen, Project manager, VEBIC research platform, University of Vaasa, email ari.haapanen@uwasa.fi, tel +358 29 449 8210

 

Photo: Village in Kenya, credit: Flore de Preneuf (Flickr CC) / World Bank

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