Africaneeds acomprehensive roadmap forthe continent’s energytransition

06Jun 2020
The Guardian
Africaneeds acomprehensive roadmap forthe continent’s energytransition

​​​​​​​Renewable energy, often referred to as clean energy, comes from natural sources or processes that are constantly replenished. In other words, renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight,-

-wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat.

  Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services.  

Africa faces an enormous energy challenge. Its growing population and economic progress has sent energy demand soaring. This calls for a rapid increase in supply on the continent, to which all forms of energy must contribute in the decades ahead. Africa therefore has a unique opportunity to pursue sustainable energy development as a basis for long-term prosperity. Africa is richly endowed with fossil-based and renewable energy sources. However, a continued reliance on oil and gas along with traditional biomass combustion for energy will bring considerable social, economic and environmental constraints. Tackling today’s energy challenge on the continent, therefore, requires a firm commitment to the accelerated use of modern renewable energy sources. Countries like Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa are leading this effort, while some of Africa’s smaller countries including Cabo Verde, Djibouti, Rwanda and Swaziland have also set ambitious renewable energy targets. Others are following suit, and renewable energy is on the rise across the continent.  illuminates a viable path to prosperity through renewable energy development.   Africa needs to highlight  possible roles for various renewable energy technologies across the five regions of Africa until 2030.Africa can deploy modern renewables to eliminate power shortages, bring electricity and development opportunities to rural villages that have never enjoyed those benefits, spur on industrial growth, create entrepreneurs, and support increased prosperity across the continent.

Modern renewables can also facilitate a cost-effective transformation to a cleaner and more secure power sector. Some technology solutions are relatively easy to implement but require an enabling environment, with appropriate policies, regulation, governance and access to financial markets. As a promising sign of things to come, several African countries have already succeeded in making steps necessary to scale up renewables, such as adoption of support policies, investment promotion and regional collaboration. Africa 2030 builds on a large body of background studies developed in close co operation with African experts. With momentum building in support of renewable energy. By making the right decisions today, African countries can usher in a sustainable energy landscape for generations to come.

Africa has a wealth of renewable energy sources with the capacity to meet the basic economic development needs of its people. In a report released recently by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) hinted that  by 2030 the continent could meet about 23 per cent of the region's essential energy demand through these resources, which are abundant and prolific in almost all countries, says the text called Global Renewable Outlook 2020.

According to Irena's studies, many countries that do not border the Mediterranean Sea, known as sub-Saharan Africa, will have the highest proportion of alternative energy in their total primary energy supply.

Indeed endowed with immense natural resources, Africa has embarked on a transforming energy path and the territories located on approximately 85 per cent of its surface area have the potential to deploy programmes to exploit them in a sustainable manner, according to the international organisation.

It also warns that the energy revolution must be accelerated in order to alleviate the immediate challenges of all nations, while contributing to the creation of jobs, the promotion of industrial development and the growth of human well-being.

The Covid-19 pandemic multiplies existing risks and vulnerabilities, warns Irena, and urges continued work now on the development of renewable energy to increase the capacity to address the health crisis and economic downturn in the region.

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