20 February, 2024 Member article

Promoting prosperity with green industrial development zones

Developing countries in Africa and elsewhere are discovering the benefits of special zones for promoting industries and creating well-paying jobs. When conceived as industrial hubs as well as commercial centres, these industrial development zones can provide ideal settings for enabling a range of industries – both new and existing – to benefit from shared infrastructure, create jobs, and attract a skilled workforce to surrounding communities.

Faced with unreliable grids, many IDZ developers are looking toward decentralised power solutions. At the same time, the realities of climate change require that they seek clean, renewable technologies to meet their energy needs.

Zero-Carbon Combined Heat and Power

As new industrial zones are created, they need electricity. But many industries also need heat. Today, new solar thermal technologies can provide both, in the form of clean, round-the-clock combined heat and power, or CHP.

247Solar Plants™ offer an attractive way to produce clean power as well as clean steam for a variety of industrial applications. As community-size modules of 400 kWe each, 247Solar Plants™ are small enough to be located near communities and industrial sites. They operate every hour of the year to provide the super-reliable, clean 24/7 power and heat essential for growing industries.  Because they are modular, 247Solar Plants are scalable, so industrial hubs and surrounding communities can add capacity as demand grows.

Wide socio-economic benefits for people

A 2022 report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says, “By driving the development of new industries, the energy transition can … become a major job creation opportunity for Africa.” Economic development driven by the energy transition “could have a significant, positive impact on gross domestic product (GDP), job creation, and welfare across Africa, through ways such as reduced climate impacts, improved public health, and the creation of new industries.”

Green Industrial Development Zones – industrial centres powered by green energy – are one way this can be realised. By providing low-cost, highly reliable electricity along with industrial-grade heat, and by eliminating the need for backup generation, 247Solar technologies can pave the way for pollution-free growth with good jobs, increased prosperity, and improved standards of living for surrounding communities.