The Economic Viability of Solar and Wind Energy in Africa
Rising power demand amongst the emerging African nations has boosted the growth of renewable energy in the continent and the aim for some countries is to almost triple their energy output by 2030. This influx in demand has led to nations moving past fossil fuels and hydropower and emphasising on solar and wind energies which can be both economically and environmentally competitive and provide the ample supply that significant increasing demand requires. Cheaper prices for improved technology and developing infrastructure are enabling remote, unconnected areas of Africa getting access to power. “The falling cost of solar and an expected decline in (costs of renewable energy) storage are providing a major boost to delivering electricity and related services to communities without access to energy,” William Brent, a spokesman for the organization, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The commercial viability of the renewable sources are massive especially in Africa where the decentralised systems power not only million households but the extractive sector e.g. mines located in the remote areas of West Africa. It is estimated that more than 160 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity was added to the global mix and Africa accounts for 12% for it. This growing renewables market have led to a lot of foreign investment in various African nations.
Zambia: Germany is expected to invest 70 million Euros in Zambia’s energy sector for various projects ranging from 2017-2018. The German government has invested in the GET FiT programme and aim to facilitate more private sector investment. Indian global solar company, Sterling and Wilson has been chosen to construct Zambia’s largest solar plant, of capacity 54.3 MWp. The project is part of the Scaling Solar program, promoted by the International Finance Corporation – a member of the World Bank Group. The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) have also passed a $1.05 million grant to support a feasibility study for Zambia’s first wind power plant. “The $275 million wind farm will generate around 500GWh of clean electricity. This will make it one of the largest renewable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa and the first independent wind power plant in Zambia.” (https://citizen.co.za/news/news-africa/1625055/zambia-to-get-first-wind-power-plant/)
Learn more about energy investment opportunities in Zambia at: www.ametrade.org/zimeczambia
Mozambique: Mozambique has also been forefront of extending their renewable energy sources. The nation has offered a portfolio of small but varied renewable energy projects to foreign investors estimated at $500 million. This step could enable everyone in the country to have access to power by 2030. Cronimet Mining Power Solutions GmbH and their local partner MOSTE have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop Mozambique’s largest pre-paid solar mini-grid on Chiloane Island in Sofala Province. ‘The solar mini-grid will be the country’s first privately developed and financed mini-grid, and is expected to generate up to 200kWp of solar power that will electrify the island’s households, public institutions, commercial enterprises and water pumps.’
Learn more about energy investment opportunities in Mozambique at: http://ametrade.org/mozmec/
Mali: Renewable energy is also the key factor to sustainable development in West Africa. Financing has been finalised for the largest solar farm in West Africa in Mali. Leading French renewable energy provider, Akuo Energy will develop the 50MW project. The project located at Kita, southern Mali includes transmission infrastructure connecting into the local electricity grid and is first photovoltaic power station in the country to be owned and run by a private sector independent power producer. Akuo will sell its power to Mali’s national utility under a 28-year power purchase agreement.
Uganda: United Kingdom has decided to partner with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) in Uganda to help access clean energy in the country by providing assistance to the Uganda Solar Energy Association. “Combined with other initiatives of the ‘On and Off-Grid Small Scale Renewable Energy in Uganda’ project, this work will contribute to improved clean energy access for over 200,000 households and businesses.” (DFID Uganda, Jennie Barugh )
AME Trade Ltd.’s upcoming energy events: www.ametrade.org/energy-calendar/