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Solar energy and climate change are killing future hydro plants in … – ZME Science

There are around 1.2 billion people in Africa, and most of them need more energy than they’re using now. The person in Africa uses four times less energy than the global average, but as African nations improve their standard of living, they are starting to use more and more electricity. Hopefully, the vast majority of that new energy will be renewable and clean — and indeed, that’s the plan for much of the African continent, with hydropower at the forefront.

But the plan is changing.

Hydroelectric dams, once considered to be a prime source of future African energy, may no longer be cost-effective.

The Aswan Dam in Egypt. CC BY 3.0.

At least on paper, the case for hydroelectric energy seems very strong in Africa. Abundant rainfall, massive rivers, and huge waterfalls — the geography of the continent seems to be excellently fit for hydropower. Many countries are already using this. Ghana’s Lake Volta (the largest artificial lake in the world), Ethiopia’s flagship Renaissance Dam, and the Aswan Dam (the largest embankment dam in the world) in Egypt are already huge, completed projects.

But Africa is only exploiting around 10% of its hydropower potential, and there are plans to build way more hydroelectric projects. Except those plans may not be all that wise.

According to a new modeling study, investing in more hydroelectric projects may not be the wisest approach for Africa.

Solar’s cheaper

The researchers looked at what would be the most cost-effective way for African countries to meet their rising energy demand by 2050. They looked at various sources of energy (hydropower, solar, wind, nuclear, natural gas, coal, and others), comparing their cost. They also estimated the cost and benefits of every possible future hydropower in Africa.

The study’s complexity is unprecedented. They included everything from population growth to river flow and interplay between different plants. Ultimately, they found that in many cases, it’s better to simply not build the hydroelectric plants. In fact, 67% of possible future hydropower plants in Africa are probably not worth the investment.

For now, renewables still account for a very small percentage of Africa’s energy. But this stat could start to change soon.

“What is unique about our study is that we model every single hydropower plant in Africa individually — both existing ones and future candidates,” explains Dr. Angelo Carlino, lead author of the study. “This way, our model can pinpoint which plants could be a smart investment and which ones should probably not be built.”

The first reason is that renewable sources (especially solar, but also wind) are becoming cheaper. Simply put, hydropower will be unable to compete economically with other renewable sources of energy. Solar, in particular, is expected to become the cheapest form of energy for Africa.

But there’s another reason why hydropower may not be as cost-effective: climate change.

Climate and water

We’re already seeing the effects of climate change, but in the next couple of decades, these effects will almost certainly intensify. Drought is among the most prominent such effects — and drought is a game changer for hydropower. Drought makes river volume less reliable, and it also means you need to invest more into maintaining the plants.

This is another reason why solar power will emerge as the more attractive technology in the long term,” says Dr. Matthias Wildemeersch, a research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria and co-author of the study.

But this doesn’t mean it’s “game over” for hydropower in Africa. At least in the short and medium term, some hydroelectric plants could provide much-needed cheap power. They could also be used as a buffer in the transition to renewables — essentially serving as a cost-effective bridge to reliable wind and solar.

“Our model shows which specific hydropower plants would still be cost-effective in the short-term,” comments Professor Andrea Castelletti, professor in Natural Resources Management at Politecnico di Milano and senior author of the study. “Especially in the Congo, Niger, and Nile basins, there are certain projects that would be worth the effort, as long as they are well-planned and harmful environmental effects are kept to a minimum.”

However, the study forces African countries to rethink how they should use hydropower.

“The window for hydropower in Africa to be a feasible investment is very rapidly closing,” adds Professor Sebastian Sterl, professor in Energy Meteorology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium, and senior scientist at the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The study suggests that beyond 2030, only a very limited number of hydropower plants would remain attractive investments across Africa. “Aside from cost-effectiveness, this is generally good news for the environment: it means that many rivers won’t have to be dammed and can keep their natural course,” concludes Sterl.

Solar will be king

In addition to showing the roadblocks for hydropower, the study highlights how dominant solar power is expected to become.

In the long term, solar power would emerge as the “king” of electricity markets world wide. Solar power is already the cheapest form of electricity globally, and there’s still plenty of room for improvement, particularly as renewable energy is scaled up.

“The benefit of rapid renewable deployment is greater energy security androcky independence, plus long-term energy price deflation because this is a manufactured technology — the more you install the cheaper it gets,” Kingsmill Bond, Senior Principal at the Rocky Mountain Institute, told Euronews earlier this year.

Journal Reference: Angelo Carlino et al, Declining cost of renewables and climate change curb the need for African hydropower expansion, Science (2023). DOI: 10.1126/science.adf5848

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Napoli forward Victor Osimhen angered after his club posts a mocking video online – Republic World

Napoli forward Victor Osimhen has deleted almost all pictures of himself in the team’s shirt from his social media accounts after the soccer club posted a mocking video of him online.

Napoli posted a video Tuesday that appeared to make fun of Osimhen’s penalty skills after he missed a spot kick in Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Bologna.

It later deleted the video but Osimhen responded by deleting almost all pictures of himself in a Napoli shirt. His agent also reacted angrily.

“What happened today on Napoli’s official profile on the TikTok platform is not acceptable,” Osimhen’s agent, Roberto Calenda, said in a post. “A video mocking Victor was first made public and then, but now belatedly, deleted.

“A serious fact that causes very serious damage to the player and adds to the treatment that the boy is suffering in the last period between media trials and fake news. We reserve the right to take legal action and any useful initiative to protect Victor.”

Osimhen’s penalty miss came with 18 minutes of the match remaining at Bologna when the forward sent his shot well wide. The forward also reacted angrily toward coach Rudi Garcia when he was substituted with four minutes left.

The Napoli fans jeered that decision, just as they had done when Garcia took off Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Garcia is already under pressure with the team winless in its past three league matches and looking like a shadow of the team that won the Serie A title last season under Luciano Spalletti.

Osimhen was the league’s top scorer last season with 26 goals. The 24-year-old Nigerian has three goals in five matches this season.

His contract expires in 2025 but there are reports Osimhen could seek to leave the club in January.

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San Antonio Zoo welcomes adorable meerkat pups to newly opened … – San Antonio Current

<a href="" rel="contentImg_gal-32700245" title="Known as Suricata suricatta, meerkats are a small mongoose commonly found in South Africa. – Screen shot / X @SanAntonioZoo" data-caption="Known as Suricata suricatta, meerkats are a small mongoose commonly found in South Africa.  
Screen shot / X @SanAntonioZoo” class=”uk-display-block uk-position-relative uk-visible-toggle”> click to enlarge Known as Suricata suricatta, meerkats are a small mongoose  commonly found in South Africa. - Screen shot / X @SanAntonioZoo

Screen shot / X @SanAntonioZoo

Known as Suricata suricatta, meerkats are a small mongoose commonly found in South Africa.

After an almost three-decade absence, meerkats have returned to the San Antonio Zoo with the birth of four adorable pups.

The birth of the meerkats, also known as Suricata suricatta, coincides with the reopening of a special habitat for the animals inside Kronkosky’s Tiny Tot Nature Spot, zoo officials said. The previous meerkat habitat closed 27 years ago.

The revamped meerkat habitat now houses a larger and more active family of the mammals, according to zoo officials.

“These little meerkat babies are an absolute delight,” San Antonio Zoo CEO Tim Morrow said in a statement. “We are thrilled to offer our visitors the opportunity to witness these captivating animals up close and personally.”

Families can see the meerkats and experience the new facility during the facility’s annual Zoo Boo!, which runs through Oct. 31.

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Royal Enfield appoints AW Rostamani Group as official distributor for the UAE – Autocar Professional

Royal Enfield, a global leader in the mid-size motorcycle segment (250cc – 750cc), announced plans to further strengthen its presence in the Middle East and Africa region with the appointment of AW Rostamani Group as its official distribution partner for the UAE region

Located in Umm Suqeim St. Dubai, the newly inaugurated store will have iconic Royal Enfield motorcycles including the Super Meteor 650, Hunter 350, Scram 411, Classic, Meteor, Interceptor, Continental GT, and the Himalayan. The store will also have the complete range of Royal Enfield apparel and accessories. 

A dedicated service centre has also been set up for Royal Enfield customers in Al Quoz to ensure that customers receive seamless after-sales service experience. To cater to the evolving demands of the riding community in the region, the company plans to set up additional branches in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi in the coming months. 

With the newly formed alliance Royal Enfield will further widen its presence in the UAE, as the AW Rostamani Group today inaugurated its first Royal Enfield store at Umm Suqeim St. Dubai. 

Speaking about the partnership with AW Rostamani Group, Yadvinder Singh Guleria, CCO of Royal Enfield, said, “We have been focused on growing the middleweight motorcycle segment in the Middle Eastern markets for almost a decade now. In a bid to extend the Royal Enfield pure motorcycling experience to the riding community in UAE, we are excited about our strategic partnership with AW Rostamani who brings a wealth of experience and a strong presence in the market.”

“With this new alliance, customers in the UAE can look forward to easier access to our wide portfolio of exciting motorcycles. This collaboration represents a significant step in our growth strategy, and we are excited about the opportunities it will bring to our valued customers,” he added. 

Demand for Royal Enfield motorcycles across the UAE region continues to rise, as the brand establishes itself as a global leader in the midsize motorcycle sector (250cc-750cc). Exponential growth in Royal Enfield’s International markets has seen production increase to 832,179 motorcycles in FY 2023 and registered motorcycle sales were at 834,895 units (standalone), up by 38.4% from 602,268 (standalone) in FY 22. 

Michel Ayat, CEO of AW Rostamani, said: “We were pleased to forge a partnership with Royal Enfield, a venerable motorcycle manufacturer with an illustrious legacy. The demand for bikes in the UAE is on a steady rise, and we remain steadfast in our belief that this alliance profoundly caters to and elevates the aspirations of the burgeoning community of motorcycle enthusiasts nationwide.”

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