By Patrick Conroy and Mark Venables on behalf of Hyve Group.
There is a saying; “oil and water don’t mix”. While this may be true on a metaphysical level, it is not true when it comes to Africa’s energy needs.
With the continent’s population set to double by 2100, this 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.
While Africa is rich in renewable energy sources, it also needs to lift nearly half a billion people out of poverty according to the United Nations (https://bit.ly/3KopdPH). These and other challenges will be in the spotlight when heads of state, business leaders, energy experts and investors come together at Africa Oil Week and the Oil Summit. green energy in Africa (https://Africa-OilWeek.com) in Cape Town, October 3rd – 7and This year.
Here, decisions about the right energy mix will have far-reaching consequences. Endowed with both hydrocarbons and 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. In addition to the AOW, the Green Energy Africa Summit will take place at the same time and place.
“As the organizers of the event, we realize that Africa needs energy solutions ranging from traditional oil and gas to renewable energy,” said Paul Sinclair, vice president of energy at AOW.
“We want delegates to be able to engage 360 degrees and explore the best opportunities for their markets,” he said.
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.
Unreliable supply is a concern holding back economic development, with most countries facing frequent power outages.
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 the energy sector in Africa would require an average annual investment of $70 billion by 2030, resulting in carbon dioxide emission reductions of up to 310 megatons per year.
Meanwhile, hydrocarbons will continue to supply the rest of Africa’s energy needs until green energy forms the basis of the continent’s energy needs. Of course, carbon-based fuels are increasingly undesirable. However, it should be remembered that Africa produces less than 3.8% of the planet’s greenhouse gases. When it comes to climate change, Africa has the smallest footprint in the world.
According to the late global health expert and statistician Hans Rosling, the wealthiest billion people contribute more than half of all CO2 emissions (https://bit.ly/3KwNd30). This puts the responsibility for reducing carbon emissions in the hands of developed countries.
signs of hope
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 generation, transmission and investment in renewable energy in the region.
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.
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.
Africa cannot follow the same energy path as the developed world, nor afford to ignore its natural energy resources in favor of green energy solutions if it is to achieve its economic and social development goals.
As the lowest contributor to climate change, Africa must have the latitude to develop a fair and equitable energy mix of hydrocarbons and renewable energies to achieve economic growth, reduce child mortality and improve social uplift in its nation states.
Distributed by APO Group for Africa Oil Week.
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