Sunday, November 13, 2022

Renewable Energy for Africa

 In sub-Saharan Africa, more than half of the people don't have access to electricity.

Power usage is projected to double by 2040. 

Africa has the potential to become a renewable powerhouse.

With sunlight year-round, the continent has 60% of the world's best solar resources. In 2020, solar projects in Zambia, Senegal and Ethiopia were auctioned off for as low as $25 per megawatt hour, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. That makes them more cost-effective than fossil fuels. Renewables also provide flexibility in a region where electricity grids often don’t reach rural populations  and if they do, they are expensive. The solution: Rooftop solar panels or mini-grids that can work independently and provide enough to power lights and a phone charger.  

It has enough wind potential in a year to meet its electricity demand 250 times over.

Countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia already cover more than 80% of their consumption with hydropower  but there is room to produce even more across the continent. 

Kenya is a world leader in harnessing geothermal energy.

"What makes Africa the right continent to roll out those green technologies is the simple fact that they are there in abundance," said Tony Tiyou, CEO of the engineering consultancy Renewables in Africa that works in Kenya, Mozambique, Ghana, Nigeria and Benin. 

 Yet, the continent as a whole still gets almost all of its energy from fossil fuels. In the last two decades, just 2% of global investments into green energy were made across the continent. 

"Companies that are trying to invest in renewable energy are looking at a market in Uganda for people who are poor. So there is no big interest," said Dickens Kamugisha of the Africa Institute for Energy Governance. The Ugandan non-profit fights environmentally-damaging projects. "But the oil is produced by huge companies that can attract funding from all over the world." 

Can Africa power with renewables as it grows? – DW – 11/12/2022

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