“Italian and African entrepreneurs are geographically near but economically distant. They’d have so much to exchange in a relationship that brings benefits and wealth to both sides: we must bring the two worlds together, initiate the first meeting.”
Italia Africa Business Week was a valuable chance to demonstrate the commitment of Enel Green Power, which is by Africa’s side in the energy transition underway.
Michele Porri, EGP’s Head of Business Development in Africa, was a speaker at the conference “Access to energy that boosts sustainable development – cycle of energy, water and food”, together with Roberto Ridolfi, Special Advisor on strategy and financial development at FAO, Marco Aresti, Program Manager RES4MED&Africa, Madi Sakandé, General Manager New Cold System (Burkina Faso) Francesco Caponetti, General Director of CEDIAM SA West Africa, Kelali Adhana Tekle, CEO of the Morer Innovation Consultancy Plc (Ethiopia) and Simona De Iulis, Renewable Energy Expert and Research Scientist on Solar Energy for ENEA. The panel was moderated by Massimo Zaurrini, Director of the magazine Africa e Affari.
“‘Green’ sources are the solution to the water-food-energy nexus: they can be used for water treatment, heating, pumping and desalination and can make it possible to cook without biomass and to store food longer.”
#Growingtogether thanks to renewable energy
Limited access to electricity is a weakness of the African energy system as well as a giant barrier to its economic and social development. Energy, especially if it’s renewable, is the answer.
“Where there’s no energy, there’s no water, where there’s no water, there’s no food. These are three areas that require an integrated approach and that’s why we are open to collaboration with institutional as well as private actors to accomplish scalable and economically sustainable projects.”
Considering wind, water and sun, Africa is rich in renewable sources and yet more than 600 million people still don’t have access to electricity and only 10 countries have an electrification rate over 75%.
“Building large-scale plants that allow us to offer low-cost energy and investments in transmission to make the grid more complete would make electricity available for more and more people at lower prices. What’s still missing is a stable regulatory and political framework that allows for economic returns for the duration of the investment.”
Renewable energy will have a central role in the development of Africa, with an installed renewable capacity that will reach a share of 160 GW in 2030. Much of this will be made possible thanks in part to international investors, including Enel Green Power.
Renewable sources are increasingly competitive and more affordable than fossil fuels, thanks in part to on-grid, mini-grid and off-grid systems, which allow us to power the rural communities of Africa’s remote areas as well as the new megalopolises of the future.
Goals and Sustainable Development Projects in Africa
Electrical energy goes along with access to all basic services, like education, healthcare, agriculture, transport and nutrition.
This is why Enel Green Power, by making the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) its own, works to ensure a more prosperous future for the continent with, on one hand, the “green” energy from its plants and the innovative technologies it exports to the continent and, on the other, by carrying out initiatives of Creating Shared Value (CSV), aimed at improving living conditions for the local population.
“When we make an investment in renewables, our focus is on sustainability, as regards the investment as well as care for the environment and local communities. That means having sustainable worksites and plants and creating long-term, sustainable impact, triggering a virtuous process of the circular economy.”
Enel Green Power is present in many countries in Africa. In South Africa, where it has 500 MW already operational, it signed the Financial Close for another 700 MW in July. In Morocco, it recently won a tender for 850 MW of wind energy and is ready to sign the Financial Close and start construction on the plants, following the model of the Sustainable Worksite. In Ethiopia, it won 100 MW, and in Zambia, it recently started construction on its 34-MW Ngonye plant.
EGP also aims to develop its business in Kenya and Tunisia, where they are opening up tenders to fuel sustainable development.
However, a regulatory system is needed that allows for significant private investments to take advantage of the potential of renewables and respond to inevitable urbanisation and the resulting growth in energy demand.
At that point, renewable sources will be the real answer to the sustainable development of Africa.