Hydrokinetic Energy Could Power ICTs

One of the greatest challenges in ICT4D is a lack of infrastructure in the developing world. Electricity in particular proves an issue because many of the technologies need to be charged and in many developing areas access to electricity is limited. Therefore, in discussing how to use ICTs to successfully promote sustainable development, it is imperative to address the issue of electricity. There are many energy technologies that have serious potential in the developing world that are also good leave a minimal carbon footprint.

One of these technologies is hydrokinetic energy. Like solar and wind energy, it makes use of natural unlimited resources to produce electricity. Through this class we have already learned about some of the applications of solar panels in ICT4D in Kenya so it seems reasonable to look at other energy alternatives. Hydrokinetic energy uses current driven turbines in rivers streams or the ocean to generate energy. Unlike a dam, it is able to make use of the energy of water without changing the environment. It is more powerful and produces more energy than wind turbines and is often more reliable than solar energy (in the right locations, current is strong and 24hrs.) The infrastructure it requires in minimal and it is relatively inexpensive.

This technology has potential in the developing world. The company Hydro Alternative Energy, Inc. is planning a hydrokinetic development energy project in Durban South Africa. Extending electricity infrastructure in places like Durban would mean more people having access to electricity and therefore would be able to make use of ICTs and all of the potential benefits of those technologies. This could spur development. Water is everywhere and many regions and communities could make us of this technology. This could be either on a large national scale or even on a grassroots community scale.

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About etherspace

I am a junior joint Spanish-Portuguese & international development major at Tulane University. View all posts by etherspace

2 responses to “Hydrokinetic Energy Could Power ICTs

  • laurenholtzman

    This seems like a very powerful initiative which could really help people and still be environmentally friendly. As long as Hydro Alternative Energy, Inc. carries out this project in an accountable way to the community, this could mean significant development. Besides providing electricity and preserving the environment, it could also spur job creation and improve the economy of the area. I look forward to seeing how the project in Durban is carried out and how other countries will take advantage of such a system and use it in the same way.

  • sophiwaterr

    Is the Hydrokinetic infrastructure actually inexpensive? If so, it seems like a fantastic approach, if realistically created. It seems that controversy to alternative energy production stems from some of these problems:
    -The infrastructure is not sustainable, or has not been effective in tests.
    -It is not cheap enough- for the governmental and individual level
    -The technology itself may be unreliable
    -Where does one create it, NIMBY= Not in my Backyard

    Concerns are expected, some objections point to major flaws. But when one studies alternative energy, the current role of fossil fuels must be taken into account. Meaning, small complications and restrictions to technology implementation should be considered negligible. Our current oil use is destroying both human and natural environments. Furthermore, fossil fuels are highly limited and have caused enormous problems in the past (Ex. Persian Gulf War).
    So sure, there are limitations to hydrokinetic, solar, wind and other energies, but aren’t they still better alternatives to oil and coal?

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