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tv   Earth Focus  LINKTV  May 23, 2013 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT

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," today on "earth focus pioneering renewable energy in southern africa. people in technologies reshaping africa's energy future, coming up on "earth focus." africa is a continent in transition. while some african countries are experiencing an oil and gas boom, half of africa's population continue to live on less than $1.25 a day. most of the poor lack in, and also access to affordable and reliable sources of energy. without electricity, students
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cannot study when the sun goes down, clinics cannot refrigerated vaccines, and businesses shut their doors. the cycle of poverty continues. but africa's sun, wind, and water resources make it ideal for renewable energy development, and entrepreneurs and businesses are quickly catching on. correspondent jeff barbee travels through four countries in southern africa to explore emerging renewable technologies that may be more sustainable than fossil fuels and that are already helping to alleviate poverty while protecting the environment. forotswana is best known
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diamonds, a big game, sunshine, and desert. 80% of the people here use scarce fire wood for their energy needs, depleting the country further of its natural resources. crosby is from solar cookers for africa. he is on a mission to change that. >> i got into solar cooking when visiting schools around the country and watching the way they prepared food using fire wood. i have seen the technology in zambia and thought this was a no-brainer. i wait for africa to cook at no cost, no emissions come completely clean and sustainable. >> he is thinking big and has embarked on ambitious agenda through africa, already visiting zambia and now botswana, spreading the gospel of solar energy, one community at a time. >> i like the idea of a continent where the sun comes up and many of dishes are faced
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towards the sun to do the daily cooking. >> the u.n. environment program reports that africa is losing nearly 10 million acres of forest every year, twice the world's everest deforestation rate. this is not from clear-cutting but due to the overuse of what for home cooking fires like this one. >> people that are collecting fire weather the same people who are really not on the financial assistance, so they do not have money and resources available to them. no matter how cheaply make the cookers, we still cannot reach the people we need to reach. therefore, we need funding. solar cookers reduce emissions by the simple fact that food could on a solar cooker does not require fire wood which releases emissions which then makes the solar cooker's eligible for carbon financing but a quick aside from government and private support, a recent international agreement c hasn't made it easier liked projects for this -- has made it
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easier to tap into the carbon market. >> we have mechanisms were white -- whereby we can put our solar cookers and to communities. >> the ziller dishes focus light from dishessun onto a popular the believe these systems are easy for anyone to use. >> solar cookers come in a box that you can carry on the back of a bicycle. takes about 20 minutes to put together. extremely easy to use. you need and specialized skills, knowledge, or tools to assemble and use a solar cooker. it is very easy to use. >> he put together a similar caravans traveling throughout southern africa. the crew is distributing solar technology and trying to reach people in some of the most remote places on the continent. >> the care of and is in the sense of the old silk caravans, people taking spices from india all the way to europe. they were also taking
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information. they were swapping stories. they were bringing it to another -- cultural togetherness. >> in 2009, the government of botswana put out an urgent call for solar energy projects that happen to the 315 cloudless days per year. if they manage to capture only a small part of the energy, the future of the environment and the people will be very bright indeed. >> you do not have people without the environment. no environment without people. we should promote technologies that can assist people while helping the environment. i cannot imagine doing a better thing. i cannot imagine it. simply nothing i would want to do more than what i am doing right now. >> in the vastness of the
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desert, the sun is powering the communications revolution. huge distances separate electrical utilities of this huge country, and they're very few fixed phone lines. in the past, botswana relied on generators to run hundreds of remote cell phone towers. >> the system works very well and is better than the diesel systems. we have the energy from the sun. >> according to the world bank, botswana has 143 cell phone prescriptions per 100 people, more than the u.k., germany, the united states, and japan. cell phones here are as you begin with this as bernanke parts, wild animals -- as the awlaki cards and wild animals. now we can offer a better, cleaner way to connect to the old diesel systems consumed 30
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two hundred gallons of fuel every year. that did not improve the fuel used to drive trucks across the country and maintain an refuel generators. in the country chronically short on power, users say it towers have been remarkably dependable. of --have a lot [indiscernible] >> botswana as one of the highest solar energy industries in the world, a cloak -- according to the u.n. the system uses solar panels to run a cell phone microwave equipment and charge a bank. at night, factors like these in this remote town power the system until morning. it has changed the lives of people like this 19-year-old uses his cell phone to keep in touch with his far-flung family, organize schoolwork, and speak to his girlfriend two towns
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away. >> [indiscernible] >> headquarters, the country's capital, there's more to come. soon they plan to roll out a fourth generation and data system to deliver broadband internet to most cell phones subscribers. is the mainlevision cost. there are downloads. >> that will be largely powered by the sun. >> the first time i open my eyes, i was brought in to the hydroelectric business. our family has been hydropower
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for 60 years. my uncle and father did the development of the first plant. we live on a little form on the eastern cape. electricity was unknown and that part of the world at that time. >> since 1978, pat has been an alternative energy pioneer. he designed micro hydro electric power stations, known more simply as micro hydros. like a much larger cousins, these small plants generate electricity from kinetic energy released from falling water. but the similarity is there. until recently, the small systems were too expensive to compete with british electricity prices, but the increase in power costs and new technological breakthroughs have driven consumers to his workshop from a small town in south africa, about nine hours' drive from cape town. >> hydropower was not economically viable, because the government actually subsidize
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the production of electricity. south africa had one of the cheapest electricity rights in the world. that has changed dramatically. our subsidies are being reduced. getting a hand-out from the government. >> the state-run energy company in south africa has raised electricity tariffs by 40% per year for the last two years and vows to continue. so downey sprang into action and partner with local engineer dennis clerk to create of cortex hydro systems. the company helps farmers in rural communities of all small spill the blood small-scale hydroelectric power systems that reduce their power costs. he does not just want to cut costs. he wants to clear the skies. >> nuclear power stations -- i do not like those things. i mean, what is a coal-fired power station? when you get up in johannesburg, you look at all the smog.
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it comes from a coal-fired power station. people want these systems in the realize not only the advantages of generating from a cost point of view but also the effect on the environment. >> micro hydro is classified as any plant that produces less than 300, lots of electricity. vortexes hydro markets across enterprise like this one that produce about 56 kilowatts. this is enough power for roughly 20 homes. each plant prevents about 16 tons of carbon and sulfur dioxide from being released by coal-fired power station. but there is a stigma attached to micro hydro power that has prevented it from being widely adopted. >> the biggest challenges awareness of what it is all about. the manumission hydropower, the thought comes out of massive
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dams and power schemes to the advantage of micro hydro is use a small portion of the river to generate the fall. without generating -- interfere with the flow. >> the environmental impact on the ecology of a river is limited to the footprint of the turbine itself. unlike large scale dams like this one which a flood huge areas of land, cut off migrating species, and cause habitat loss, downy feels the environmental benefits of a micro hydro systems fallout -- far outweigh their small impact. >> you're not using a resourced. in south africa, water is a scarce resource. if you're only using the energy. >> they have built more than 60 micro hydro power stations across africa. the turbines are generating power in malawi, south africa,
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and the democratic republic of congo, the government has commissioned two that he is currently working on. the energy has powered payment systems like grain mailing for thousands of years. today, they believe it is is still one of the best hopes for removing our dependency on fossil fuels. >> if we could have thousands of micro hydros feeding into the national grid and shutting down our coal-fired power stations, that israel. real.t is >> when i first told my kids that i was joining, they asked if i was going to be a desperate man. today when the look at me and
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what i am doing and what they're learning about what their father is heading up, they have pride and passion. they often come to my project. >> mark for is working on the frontier of green technologies, creating electricity from trash at dumps around the south african city of durban. now this city of 3.5 million people is drawing power from this surprising source. >> this landfill is one of the largest in southern africa. approximately 4000 tons of waste per day. a portion is biodegradable. so the landfill gas extraction system was implemented. >> for most people, dumps are a smelly necessity to modern living. but it is this gas, the smell, the contents methane. >> we expect it to a destruction system. we take it down to the gas compound where we then use it as a fuel to the engines which
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generate electricity and put back into the electricity grid. >> long perforated pipes are laid in vast trenches and then covered. these hoses siphoning that in the comes off of the decomposing layers of garbage. this gas is channeled to the power generation compound. 108 cubic meters of gas and our comes from each well. foreign experts to visit the project are amazed at what this third world city has accomplished. >> early on, the brain center of the whole project, and this computer shows a simple process. the extraction of the landfill gas, diverted to the gas and urges, used as fuel to turn the engine which generates electricity and put it back on to the electricity grid. this system here out and the current rate of gas extraction, we are generating enough power to supply about 6000 low-cost
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houses. >> methane is 21 times as powerful as greenhouse gases as carbon dioxide. that means a saving their burning 1 ton of methane is equal to preventing 21 tons of co2 from being released into the atmosphere. by preventing this and gas from escaping and using it to replace dirty coal power, the project is offering a major emissions reduction that, if used widely, has the power to slow climate change. these emission reductions are called carbon credits. the city of durban is trying to sell these credits to help fund the project. >> a developing country like south africa is reliant on car been trading to fund a project of this nature. a project of this nature, due to the low cost of electricity, will not be financially feasible. >> with the world bank and other funding, the project is secure for now. but by getting their carbon credits approved, the project
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will be successful far into the future, creating green and felsites that improved -- landfill sites that improve the quality of life in this city. >> forest destruction is a problem throughout the region, but in a small developing country like malawi, it is an environmental catastrophe. malawi is one of the most deforested countries in the world, and the remaining forests and wetlands are being cut down at an alarming rate. timber cutting has been reducing the former forced to marginal farmland. a year ago, woodlands cover this area, but the relentless need for energy from communities and
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a lack of other viable fuel options has seen it disappear. but there may be some hope. technology is coming to the malawi countryside, and it is something to sing about. on a recent sunday in this village, a group has gotten together to sing, to gossip, and to make stoves. stove, and the name means environmental protection. those simple, it has radically reduce the amount of wood malawin households need for their energy. in the past, the three-stone fire like this one was the best technology available. the stove burns cleaner, for much longer, all less than half the wood. it is made from locally-source materials. linda explains how using this
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technology has changed life in her village. speaking foreign language] >> the technology is in the design. the materials and building techniques are local and important. an irish company concerned about deforestation and looking for ways to get africa involved in the carbon economy appreciated the difficulty of carbon trading through forestry. >> if we could get carbon credits here in malawi for
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reforesting, we would love to do it. but we know it is too complicated. we're better off focusing in on energy efficiency. >> that led to the problem in a different way. what if they could reduce the forest destruction by using technology to reduce wood consumption and reduce co2 emissions. >> the technology we're promoting reduces the need for wood. instead of using 10 pieces of wood, they can now use four pieces of wood. this is a big cost-saving for them but it also reduces pressure on the forest, so there is less trees being cut down. >> tobacco is one of the main crash crops -- cash crops throughout malawi. it is carradine would fired kilns. the technology they are promoting reduces would consumption in these kilns by
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about 50%. these are called rocket barnes. in two years, they have sold almost 1000 of them. speaking foreign language] >> we are at the stage now or we have about 800 of these out there, 900. the farmers are talking about them. they're loving the idea. they want more barns. the demand is very high. this cleaner technology can benefit their lives. >> by selling stoves and barnes through micro loans on a massive scale and using part in financing to help fund part of the costs, they help reduce carbon emissions and make their money through a long-term
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monitoring system which measures how much co2 is not going into the atmosphere. >> we do not get a carbon credit for building a barn. we get carbon credits when we can verify and demonstrate that these technologies are working. so we're not going to sell the barn and walk away. we have to come back every year for the next six years, possibly for the next 20 years. that is very good. that is after sales service and just is not exist. >> it is a long-term commitment that is rare in africa, even among aid agencies. right now, that commitment is coming from carbon trade. >> our project and never have got to where it is today on carbon trading. carbon trading gives us a very ambitious targets to reach, and we can reach them. >> african forests can be a part of the solution to global warming. africans and project developers
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in africa are prepared to enter the carbon trade and use it to create sustainable forestry projects. [captions made possible by kcet television] >> old electrical technology has hampered the development of renewable energy in many african namibia countriesafrican namibia has a plan to ween itself off of expensive electricity imports from nearby south africa. it has renovated the national grid to help make people homes into power-production systems. >> the potential is up mostly in namibia, solar energy, wind energy, and biomass energy. >> the government was to have a significant amount of the country's energy coming from
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this by 2020. >> our target is 10%. >> getting small producers into production has only recently become possible. it is the first country in africa to create both a new l ones. an electrical grid like this one can take power from many different sources, anywhere in the system. the architect installed this to reduce its own electricity costs and also to show his clients what is possible with the new technology. >> it is a very smart investment because the payback of this investment will be between six and eight years. also, smaller consumers could be helping out, and the system, by putting that in the grid, we would not have to import that much energy from south africa because we could be a lot more self-sufficient. >> and goes directly into these
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margaret, allowing him to feed it with his home produces excess energy and draw from it when solar power runs short. this reduces the cost of the system because he does not react -- and the expense of batteries. >> if we were not able to use the grid as it is now, then we would have to have a total separate battery system. now everything produced goes into the bread. >> namibia's state control power company has also installed a solar array to run their headquarters in downtown. other large projects are already powering remote desert committees in the namib desert. the government has a 20-year three-part plan to expand this technology. >> number one is that the products are very expensive. so we have the program. the interest rate is 5%. number two, this is the
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responsibility of connecting all the remote schools, clinics. the last one is to establish what we call energy shops. >> the shops will sell renewable energy systems and sign up customers to the government loan program. it will take years to reach their goals, but officials believe the system should already be a model for other countries in africa. on the continent beset by chronic energy shortages, this kind of green solution could change the lives of millions.
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>> hello and welcome to "global 3000." the number of older people is growing faster than any other age group worldwide. in europe, this has already led to a shortage of nurses and care givers. time to think of new recruitment strategies. here is what we have coming up. new frontiers for global care. chinese nurses prepared to work in german retirement homes. child laborers denied. we need children in bolivia who have started their own trade union.

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