SEE How Some African Countries Will Soon Get Electricity From Floating Ships-PIX

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The lack of electricity is one of the most critical challenges facing our continent, Africa. In 2019, the continent had more than 580 million people without electricity access out of an estimated 1.4 billion people that call Africa home. Energy poverty impacts people's daily lives, as without energy - infrastructure, schools, hospitals, and other essential services cannot be developed. Imagine a hospital losing power in the middle of a pandemic? It could cost lives. But a few African countries are already looking a quick but temporary solution to this problem - but it doesn't come cheap. Powerships are exactly what their name describes them as: floating electricity supplied by ships. These powerships travel all over the world and have the advantage of providing almost immediate electricity, so they are an excellent option to meet the supply gap in the short term compared to the years it takes to design, award, and commission other types of power generation projects. Also, as the power ships generate energy from LNG, they are a viable option for most coastal countries, especially countries with access to such resource. Finally, power ships do not require any land or significant development. A connection to the LNG, either from a ship or onshore, is sufficient to get the power ships running. A floating plant can be operational within 100 days - compared to the years it takes to build a conventional coal-fired station. These powerships require a fuel connection – either from onshore facilities or transfer from a secondary ship – but do not require any land. African Countries Some African countries such as Cameroon and Senegal, are currently analyzing this option, with South Africa at an advanced stage already issuing out licenses, and Ghana already hosting a powership in the country. This could also be a short-term solution to meet most coastal African countries' energy supply, especially to gas producing countries as Nigeria, Mozambique, and Equatorial Guinea. While doing so, governments should not lose sight that this is only a short-term solution and should carefully plan for the projects' economics and their power capacity building plans. Also, these countries should not forget other crucial matters as local content, black ownership (in the case of South Africa), and guarantees from the generators to mitigate any event in the duration of these type of projects. This is not a proposal for African countries to stop developing long-term energy projects or abandon their goals of reducing greenhouse emissions by developing large-scale renewable energy projects. On the contrary, power ships should be considered a viable solution to address energy insecurity issues in the continent in the following years. Africa and its people cannot wait for governments and companies to agree on the design, pricing, and financing of energy projects with a long development time. African countries need energy now and powerships might just be the solution.

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