Renewables and innovation to deal with major energy challenges: population growth and economic progress are driving a significant increase in energy demand. The success of RES4MED’s operational approach in the Euro-Mediterranean area is being exported to the African continent. Nairobi (Kenya) will hold RES4Africa Day on October 26th and 27th
The RES4MED experience for Africa's development. International experts in the field of renewable energy and institutional representatives from various countries gathered on May 19 at the Enel Auditorium in Rome for the occasion of the RES4MED Annual Conference, dedicated to the theme “Enhancing Investments for Clean Tech Solutions, Beyond MENA Towards Africa: Challenges and Opportunities”.
The event, organised under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was an occasion to discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with energy investments in Sub-Saharan African countries on the basis of the experience in Mediterranean.
During the Conference, Head of Enel Green Power Francesco Venturini, in his capacity as President of RES4MED, launched "Res4Africa", the new strategic project that expands the geographic scope of the association, accepting the challenge offered by the African continent in relation to its potential and opportunities for growth in the renewable energy sector.
The success of RES4MED’s operational approach in the Euro-Mediterranean area is being exported to the African continent at a decisive moment for the development of renewable energy in Africa.
President Venturini announced RES4Africa Day, to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, on October 26 and 27, in collaboration with the African-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP).
At present Africa is having to deal with major energy challenges: population growth and economic progress are driving a significant increase in energy demand.
Africa is rich in resources but its people have limited access to energy. Since 2000, energy demand in Sub-Saharan Africa has increased by 45%. This is an impressive figure, especially when assessed in relation to its importance in the world (4% of the global total) and the percentage of the population (13% of the global total). Excluding South Africa, average annual consumption is around 162 kWh per capita, compared with a global average of 7000 kWh. As a yardstick for comparison, an inhabitant of Tanzania takes about eight years to consume the amount of electricity that an American uses in a month (source: latest report of the Africa Progress Panel).
The IEA estimates that investment in energy supply in the coming years will amount to about 110 billion US dollars per year to reach a total of 3 trillion US dollars in 2040. Thanks to the commitments made at the COP21 in Paris, World Bank Africa forecasts capital inflows across the continent totalling 16.1 billion US dollars by 2020.
The role of the private sector and international investors is undoubtedly crucial for achieving national targets for renewable development, to increase the competitiveness of the system and to support innovation in energy infrastructure.
To date, 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa live without access to electricity, out of a world total of 1.2 billion. Increasing access to energy in rural areas is the most important issue to be resolved: for many remote areas of Africa, the most cost-effective option would be off-grid electrification. Renewables are already the most competitive solution for the electrification of Africa, using centralised and decentralised systems.