“Access to clean energy is the keystone to the development of Africa. For a safe and sustainable energy future, renewable sources are the answer. The cost competitiveness, the availability of resources and the rapid time to market of green technologies can contribute to the spread of sustainable energy in Africa.”
Creating a network to foster the development of renewables
The Renewable Industry Advisory Board (RIAB), a partner of the International Energy Agency (IEA), is a network of international companies working in the renewable energy sector that meet each year to establish priorities and discuss energy challenges around the world.
The 2018 edition was a valuable time to discuss barriers as well as the great opportunities for the sustainable development of Africa, highlighting the necessary actions to encourage investments in the African renewables sector and to face the challenges of population growth.
The meeting was opened by Massimo Gaiani, General Director for Globalisation for MAECI, Paolo Frankl, Head of the Renewable Energy Division of the International Energy Agency (IEA), and Martin Schöpe, Head of the Economic Affairs and Energy division of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy (African Union), and Antonio Cammisecra, CEO of Enel Green Power and President of “Res4Med&Africa” participated as speakers in the panel dedicated to renewable energy in Africa, entitled “RE in Africa: status, scenarios, priorities”.
The rapid changes that characterise the African context can lead to a process of sustainable growth only if Africa relies on renewable energy, which plays a key role not only because it guarantees the spread of electricity but also because it is able to foster economic and social development through job creation, the development of entrepreneurship, gender equity and food security.
On October 24, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and RES4Med&Africa to start a mutual cooperation, the first step in the accession of UNECA to RES4Med&Africa as a regional member.
The conference also witnessed the announcement of the partnership between the African Union and RES4Africa for the "Renewable Energy Capacity Building Program", a biennial training program worth over 800,000 dollars focused on renewable energy that will run in five African countries. A joint initiative officially sealed October 25 during the Italy – Africa Ministerial Conference that took place at the Farnesina.
“During the Italy-Africa Ministerial Conference, we officially signed the partnership between the African Union and RES4Africa for the" Renewable Energy Capacity Building Program". The letter of intent recognizes the value that RES4Africa can generate in capacity building and, therefore, in the professional training of young Africans who are entering the world of work and who can have an opportunity for work and personal fulfilment in renewable energy.”
During the meeting at the Farnesina Antonio Cammisecra also announced the launch of "RenewAfrica", an initiative that highlights the need to find a new tool to support the development of largescale plants in Africa, providing investors with a benchmark as regards loans and guarantees, and a structured instrument to governments to support the country's policies and regulatory frameworks.
Enel Green Power, partner of RES4Africa in this project, provides member companies with its extensive experience in the renewables sector and its technological and regulatory know how in order to help them choose the best geographical area for the construction of renewable plants and to understand regulatory frameworks, business aspects and environmental protection.
“70% of Africans will have energy access through so-called utility scale projects, so, connected to transport networks. Large scale projects will be the real expansion in the African electricity sector. More than 60% of new capacity installed in Africa by 2030 will be renewable energy. These two facts together tell us that we must work to create the conditions for the projects to be implemented faster and become enabling factors for other sectors in rural areas, especially for water and food processing. ”
Renewable sources, whether solar, wind, geothermal or hydroelectric, have an increasingly affordable cost because of their constant technological development. The modularity of plants, and of the necessary investments, also plays a key role.
The competitiveness of renewables is now a fact and, in emerging countries, like in Africa, what we need is a clear regulatory framework that can attract investments and carry out innovative and sustainable solutions at a local level.
Enel Green Power, a leading private operator in renewables in the world and also in Africa, with a stable presence in South Africa, Zambia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco, is committed to writing a new chapter in the continent’s energy history, that starts with a new development model based on renewable sources and guarantees energy access to all its inhabitants.