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6 min.

Signatures for Africa’s Renewable Future in Rome

A declaration of intent marking the foundation of the renewAfrica Initiative has been signed in Rome. It is an appeal to Europe to equip itself with a new tool to reduce risk and support investments in renewable energy for the African continent.

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Renewable energy is the key to boosting the energy transition of the African continent. Only with sustainable and green sources will it be possible to respond to the growing demand for energy, triggered by faster and faster urbanization, and ensure energy access for all.

Africa, however, is still a continent full of contrasts, where an uncertain regulatory system and political instability can discourage private investments.

This is why Enel Green Power and several players in the renewable energy sector, including companies, universities and financial institutions, have joined forces to launch the renewAfrica Initiative, an innovative initiative to accelerate the African transition toward sustainable energy and to boost private European investments in renewable energy to foster inclusive and widespread development in Africa.

The launch of renewAfrica took place on 4 June in Rome during a conference that ended with a declaration of intent signed by 20 organizations* engaged in the renewables sector on various fronts, showing their interest in the initiative.

Together with Antonio Cammisecra, President of RES4Africa, and a video message from Romano Prodi, ex-president of the European Commission and a special envoy of the United Nations for Africa, the event featured the participation of other high-level representatives, such as Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Antonella Baldino from Cassa Depositi and Prestiti, Anne-Charlotte Bournoville from the European Commission and Maria Shaw-Barragan from the European Investment Bank.

 

“European industry, academia, investors and think-tanks are the perfect players to provide industry experience on what is necessary to bring about the transformation of the energy sector. renewAfrica will be a turning point for the future of sustainable energy in Africa.”

– Antonio Cammisecra, President of RES4Africa and CEO of Enel Green Power

 

The goal of the renewAfrica Initiative is to decisively change renewable energy access throughout Africa with a partnership between public and private sectors to create a favorable environment for investments in green energy and support the continent in its energy transition.
 

Why a New Tool is Needed

The tools that exist today are not able to support investments in a complete and structured way throughout the development phases of a renewable project – from the preparation of paperwork to the construction and management of the plant, and support in the tender phase all the way to financial close.

A recent study published by Res4Med&Africa and PwC analyzed 75 European support instruments. Of these, only 17 provided guaranteed coverage for large-scale plants (over 50 MW), and none of them was able to cover all stages of the renewable project. 

 

“renewAfrica is a holistic and multi-stakeholder initiative to achieve our common goal: the future of renewable energy in Africa.”

– Roberto Vigotti, Secretary General of RES4Africa

 

renewAfrica will ask Europe to reduce this gap and give companies and institutions a suitable, complete and sustainable instrument.

It is expected that, by 2030, 118 GW of additional green power will be installed on the continent, for an estimated investment of 150 billion euro.

Solar and hydro, abundant sources throughout the continent, will lead the revolution, but wind and geothermal will also have a strong impact. 

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The Advantages of Participating in renewAfrica

Although many African countries have already chosen the path toward renewables using international instruments, such as the World Bank’s Scaling Solar, or national instruments, like the REIPPPP in South Africa, there is still a lot to be done, especially to mitigate the risks linked to regulations, political instability and financial returns.

From this perspective, renewAfrica aims to sponsor high-level dialogue to develop regulatory frameworks and policies that are favorable to investments, as well as offer financing and de-risking tools.

Furthermore, the initiative aims to encourage capacity-building and knowledge-transfer to stimulate the development of long-term projects and provide adequate support on a political and regulatory level, providing adequate tools for all phases of the project, for all technologies and all countries.

 

“The next step is to outline a plan to launch the renewAfrica initiative. Undoubtedly, an approach that combines the sector and multi-stakeholder approaches is a key element to its success. This is why so many players have come together today, committed to guiding Africa’s sustainable energy future.”

– Antonio Cammisecra, President of RES4Africa and CEO of Enel Green Power

 

A Program for All of Africa

The signatories intend for the new EU program for renewables to be able to create a dialogue with local governments, capacity building for institutions and companies, support for tendering and allocation processes, as well as provide professional skills and training needed for the development of the market.

The program will be applied in all the countries in the continent, with a detailed approach that will allow for its adaptation to various specific cases. 

 

“In order to trigger the revolution of renewables in Africa, we need a strong political strategy: a robust synergy with the European Commission, and a close relationship with the African Union. If there will be 54 different African policies, it will be a disaster, so it is necessary a common regulatory framework – this is a priority – with simple and clear rules for all.”

– Romano Prodi, ex-president of the European Commission and special envoy of the United Nations for Africa

 

After its signing in Rome, renewAfrica will begin its journey towards Brussels. Before that, though, on 19 June, the initiative will be presented to UNECA and to the African Union during the RES4Africa Foundation’s annual conference in Addis Ababa.

During the conference in Addis Ababa, working groups with the greatest experts from signatory organizations of the letter of intent will be created. They will meet together to form governance and define the various technical aspects that the new European instrument will have to include.

In the autumn, the program will finally be presented European Commission. The journey to making this initiative a concrete action plan has already begun.
 

*The non-binding Declaration of Intent was signed by: ABB, Cassa Depositi and Prestiti, DNV GL, EDP Renewables, Enel Green Power, GE Renewable Energy, Intesa Sanpaolo, Nordex, Nordic Energy, Norfund, Pöyry, Prysmian, PwC, REC Group, Siemens Gamesa, SMA, Solar Power Europe, Soltec, Total Eren, Vestas.

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