Africa?s renewable energy electrification race to be led by wind energy

Wind power is expected to dominate Africa’s renewable energy sector over the next decade as the continent faces a massive struggle of providing electricity to remote communities, according to a new report by a global consultancy.

A Frost & Sullivan press release issued on Wednesday noted that the total renewable power investment in Africa, which was €2.5 billion by 2010, is expected to grow to €40 billion by the end of this decade.

“The key growth sectors will be wind turbines, solar power, geothermal energy and foreign direct investment (FDI) into energy and power infrastructure,” the release quoted Ross Bruton, Frost & Sullivan’s energy and power systems industry analyst, as saying.

The release noted that Africa is the most poorly electrified continent in the world even though it has enough energy resources to more than adequately meet its existing and growing energy needs.

“The proportion of people without electricity in Africa is higher than anywhere else on the planet, with as little as 5% of the population having direct access to electricity in some countries,” the release said, adding the need to provide electrification to remote communities is one of the key drivers of renewable energy development on the continent.

Development of the renewable energy sector in Africa will lead to a diversification of the generation mix, a decreased dependency on a singular feedstock and greater security of supply, the release said.

“Smart electricity development in Africa will be driven through grid incorporation of renewable power, and technological leapfrogging through investments,” Bruton said.

The release added that, over the next 10 years, renewable energy initiatives will be dominated by wind farm projects, such as the Ashegoda Wind Farm in Ethiopia and Tanzania’s Singida Wind Farm. Solar energy will also show good growth, mostly through South Africa’s Upington concentrating solar power and solar energy photovoltaic project and renewed interest in Desertec in North Africa.

EWEA is a strong supporter of bringing clean electricity to rural and poor areas. Its chosen charity, ‘Renewable World’, is a registered charity working with local partners in Africa, Asia and Central America to tackle poverty by providing small-scale renewable energy systems off-grid communities. EWEA is also a member of the Alliance for Rural Electrification which promotes rural electrification in developing countries, and a member of the Global Wind Energy Council, which promotes the development of wind energy in Africa.

Frost & Sullivan will release its full report — called Mega Trends in Africa: A bright vision for the growing continent — next week in Cape Town.

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Chris Rose,