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    A system using satellite imagery to predict electricity consumption has been launched to aid African countries in developing energy masterplans.

    The free-to-use Electricity Consumption Prediction service forecasts energy use by employing high-resolution satellite imagery combined with historic and big data sources. It is the brainchild of the Electricity Growth and Use in Developing Economies (e-GUIDE) initiative, in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation and several US universities.

    According to the Rockefeller Foundation, which funds the initiative through a US$3.8 million grant, the new e-GUIDE service addresses energy poverty by improving the planning process for the provision of electricity. It also aids in driving direct investment and scales projects that support economic recovery in communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Electricity Consumption Prediction service can be used to create a comprehensive dataset of electricity demand across each African region, which can be used by utilities, regulators, system planners, off-grid companies, and researchers to match supply and demand, and identify technological solutions for investment.

    The platform will initially focus on residential consumption in Kenya, followed by Uganda and Rwanda. While the service will be expanded to SMEs in the coming year, continental coverage is expected by late 2021.

    1 December 2020
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images