A clean future for energy in Africa
Africa’s rapid economic expansion creates a daunting energy challenge, combined with growing expectations for improved resilience and sustainability. Finding a sustainable way to meet growing energy needs is one of the main development challenges for the continent. Africa is rich in renewable energy sources, including hydro, solar, wind and others, and now is the time for sound planning to ensure the right energy mix. Decisions made today will shape the continent’s energy sector for decades. Endowed with significant renewable energy resources, Africa can embrace innovative and sustainable technologies and play a leading role in global action to shape a sustainable energy future.
Over the past two decades, Africa has experienced rapid economic growth and improved social conditions. Unreliable supply is a concern holding back economic development, with most countries facing frequent outages and often relying on expensive and polluting solutions. Clean, indigenous and affordable renewable energy solutions offer the continent the opportunity to achieve its economic, social, environmental and climate goals.
According to the report “Scaling Up Renewable Energy Deployment In Africa” by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Africa could meet nearly a quarter of its energy needs from indigenous and clean renewable energy from by 2030. Modern renewables amounting to 310 GW could provide half of the continent’s total power generation capacity. This corresponds to a sevenfold increase in the currently available capacity, which stood at 42 GW. A transformation of this magnitude in Africa’s energy sector would require an average annual investment of US$70 billion through 2030, resulting in carbon dioxide emission reductions of up to 310 megatons per year.
Growth in West Africa supported by the World Bank
In West Africa, the new regional Electricity Access and Battery Energy Storage Technologies (BEST) project, backed by $465 million from the World Bank Group, will increase grid connections in the fragile areas of the Sahel, will strengthen the capacities of the Economic Community of West Africa, the Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) of the United States (ECOWAS) and strengthen the operation of the Pool network West Africa Power Plant (WAPP) with an infrastructure of battery energy storage technologies. This is a pioneering initiative that paves the way for increased production, transmission and investment in renewable energy in the region.
“West Africa is on the cusp of a regional electricity market that promises significant development benefits and potential for private sector participation,” says Charles Cormier, Practice Leader World Energy at the World Bank. “Bringing electricity to more households and businesses, improving reliability and harnessing the region’s vast renewable energy resources, day and night, will help accelerate the economic and social transformation of South Africa. ‘West.
Over the past decade, the World Bank has financed nearly $2.3 billion in infrastructure and reform investments in support of WAPP, seen as key to achieving universal access to electricity by 2030 in the 15 ECOWAS countries. This new project builds on the progress made and will finance civil works to accelerate access in Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.
In Mauritania, rural electrification will be extended through the densification of the network of existing substations, which will allow the electrification of Boghe, Kaedi and Selibaby, and neighboring villages along the southern border with Senegal. Communities in the Niger River and Center-East regions who live close to the Niger-Nigeria interconnection will also have access to the grid, as will communities around substations in the Casamance region of Senegal. Connection fees will be partially subsidized, helping to reduce costs for the estimated one million people who will benefit.
In Côte d’Ivoire, Niger and eventually in Mali, the project will finance BEST equipment to improve the stability of the regional electricity network by increasing the energy reserve in these countries and facilitating the integration of variable renewable energies. Battery energy storage technologies will allow WAPP operators to store renewable energy produced during off-peak hours and dispatch it during peak demand, instead of relying on more carbon-intensive production when demand is high, the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing. It is expected that BEST will further stimulate private sector participation in the region by supporting the renewable energy market, as the battery energy storage capacity installed under this project will accommodate the 793 MW of new capacity of solar energy that WAPP plans to install. develop in the three countries.
“These ambitious results will be achieved through a regional approach,” adds Deborah Wetzel, Director of Regional Integration for Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank. “By working together, these countries can optimize investments and economies of scale, harmonize equipment and standards, and synchronize systems to bring the transformative power of electricity to more people and usher in a new era of electricity trade. low-carbon energy.”
Power to Ethiopia
Last year, the World Bank approved a $500 million International Development Association (IDA) credit to support Ethiopia’s goal of achieving universal access to electricity by 2025. Over the past decade, the Ethiopian government has made encouraging progress in its electrification program and expanded the power grid. coverage of nearly 60% of towns and villages. Despite this progress, Ethiopia has the third largest energy access deficit in sub-Saharan Africa with more than half of the population still without access to reliable electricity, especially in deep rural areas that depend on electricity. biomass and kerosene. The electricity deficit in Ethiopia continues to aggravate the poverty situation, preventing too many people from meeting their basic socio-economic needs and limiting access to opportunities.
The Access to Distributed Electricity and Lighting in Ethiopia (ADELE) project is an important component of Ethiopia’s National Electrification Program (NEP), which aims to strategically change the direction of infrastructure development towards the provision of adequate, reliable and affordable electricity services. “With a goal of providing electricity services to nearly 5 million people, 11,500 businesses, and 1,400 health and education facilities, the project represents the World Bank’s continued support to the Ethiopian government’s NEP and s “part of our commitment to support Ethiopia’s resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also an important step towards improving service delivery and addressing drivers of fragility and conflict,” explains Ousmane Dione, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia.
An important feature of ADELE will be the deployment of innovative solutions such as decentralized renewable energy technologies, in particular solar photovoltaic (PV) mini-grids and individual solar systems for domestic and productive use, deployed through a combined approach. public and private delivery methods. that further improve affordability and inclusion. The project also focuses on closing the gender gap in the energy sector and increasing the percentage of women participating in the mini-grid sector and the off-grid technology value chain. .
Supporting a Renewable Future for Africa
Renewable energy offers Africa the opportunity to leapfrog into a sustainable and prosperous future. Increasing access to reliable, affordable and clean energy resources is a key priority, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. About 600 million people in Africa still do not have access to electricity, representing 48% of the continent’s population of nearly 1.2 billion. The accelerated deployment of renewable energy creates jobs and brings health benefits. The renewable energy sector today employs 10.3 million people worldwide. With far-sighted industrial policies and targeted skills development, millions of new jobs can be created in Africa. Doubling the share of renewables by 2030 would create additional economic value by increasing global gross domestic product by up to 1.1%. This would mean a 3.7% improvement in global welfare and jobs for over 24 million people in the renewable energy sector. This would allow for other economic benefits such as improved health services, especially in more remote areas.
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Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Green Energy Africa.
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