Satcoms to support Africa’s power planning

Satcoms to support Africa’s power planning

A news release from the Rockefeller Foundation announces that satellite imagery is being used for electricity consumption forecasting in Africa for the first time through a new service.

The new service is supplied by the e-GUIDE Initiative, a collaboration between The Rockefeller Foundation – which describes itself as a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees – and four leading universities. It aims to help utilities and system planners improve the planning and provision of electricity in Africa.

Called the Electricity Consumption Prediction Service for Africa and launched this week, the service provides estimates of future electricity consumption at high spatial resolution and combines satellite imagery with historical and big data sources.

The service, which will be freely available, addresses the challenges faced by utilities, regulators, system planners, off-grid companies and researchers in adequately matching supply and demand and identifying the most appropriate technology solutions for investment.

By combining datasets and applying machine learning techniques, the service will create a comprehensive picture of expected demand for every region across Africa for the first time. In countries with limited historical consumption data, the service will extrapolate insights based on consumer profiles in similar environments, allowing learnings to flow across borders.

The service will initially provide intelligence on residential consumption in Kenya, with Uganda and Rwanda to follow. In the coming year, the service will be expanded to forecast the consumption of small and medium enterprises. Coverage for all of Africa is anticipated by late 2021.

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