Experts to discuss fate of Africa’s energy sector as COVID-19 rages

28May 2020
The Guardian
Experts to discuss fate of Africa’s energy sector as COVID-19 rages

THE Covid-19 pandemic has had significant impacts on the growth and development of the energy sector. In particular, a recent study released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) concluded that the world is heading towards seeing a decrease in the development of wind turbines,-

IEA executive director Dr Fatih Birol.

-solar power plants and other renewable energy installations.

Set to be the first annual decline in new renewable energy project developments in two decades, this reduction will have a heavy impact on many countries’ plans to increase their renewable energy capacity and in turn, economic growth.

“Countries are continuing to build new wind turbines and solar plants, but at a much slower pace. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the world needed to significantly accelerate the deployment of renewables to have a chance of meeting its energy and climate goals,” says IEA executive director Dr Fatih Birol.

Amid today’s extraordinary health and economic challenges, governments must not lose sight of the essential task of stepping up clean energy transitions to enable us to emerge from the crisis on a secure and sustainable path,” adds Dr Birol.

The African Energy Chamber (AEC) is tomorrow expected to present an open webinar focused on the renewable energy sector and guided by the question: Is now the time for renewable energy?

Hosted by Africa Oil & Power, the conversation will feature contributions from Matleng Energy Solutions (South Africa) chairperson Nelisiwe Magubane; Suzanne Jaworowski, Senior Advisor of Policy & Communications at the US Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy;  and Lekela Power Senegal general manager Massaer Cisse.

The panel discussion will be jointly moderated by Dr Clinton Carter-Brown, Head of the Energy Centre at the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and Africa Oil & Power director of programming Caty Hirst.

“The global pandemic coupled with the low oil price is encouraging many countries to relook at their energy mixes and energy transition plans in line with the current global environment,” said AEC executive chairman NJ Ayuk, adding: “With each day, there are new complexities in planning energy transitions that will not jeopardise governments’ long-term energy strategies.”

“While we may naturally want to look into solutions such as small-scale nuclear reactors, wind, solar and hydro, we are unfortunately faced with immense challenges presented by restrictions aiming at fighting the pandemic as the first step,” he noted, adding that through the webinar “we hope to provide insight on the ideal way, specifically for African countries, to plan ahead despite the challenges”.

The AEC is a leading chamber of successful networks, transactions and partnerships at the helm of growing energy industries across Africa. It strives to promote the continent’s interests, companies and people.

The AEC’s partners have the power to shape Africa’s energy future by promoting growth, fostering collaboration, shaping policy, and providing leadership and guidance in the fast-growing energy sector.