Indeed, while access to energy in Sub-Saharan Africa is rising, with the region’s population predicted to double from 1 billion in 2018 to over 2 billion in 2050, IMF experts predict that demand for electricity will rise by 3% yearly. Currently, the region’s primary energy sources, coal, oil, and traditional biomass (wood, charcoal, and dry dung), are all linked to significant environmental and health consequences. Integrating and developing an energy mix that is mostly based on clean energy would support robust growth, low emissions, and environmentally friendly development all at the same time. Figure 1 shows that Africa’s present energy mix is virtually completely made up of fossil fuels and biomass. Figure 1 has been updated to demonstrate that by 2050, Africa will be able to rely entirely on renewable energy without slowing down its progress.
Source: International Monetary Fund (2020)
Courtesy: Gregor and Mouhamadou
Africa’s rapid economic growth poses a significant energy issue, which is compounded by growing expectations for more resilience and sustainability. One of the continent’s most pressing development concerns is finding a long-term solution to fulfil rising energy demands. Africa has a wealth of renewable energy sources, including hydro, solar, wind, and others, and the time has come to guarantee that the proper energy mix is implemented. Decisions made today will have a long-term impact on the continent’s energy economy. Renewable energy sources are becoming more popular in Africa, not just because of environmental concerns, but also because they are becoming more cost-effective. It is critical to continue to promote the development of contemporary clean energy in Africa.
Africa has made significant success in the development of its solar energy industry in recent years, with over 1.8W of new solar installations added to the continent, primarily due to five countries: Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, and Ghana. At the same time, Mr. Daniel-Alexander Schroth, the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Acting Director for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, oozes confidence that things are on the right track and that Africa’s renewable energy is on the rise. Africa’s renewable energy solutions have shown to be economically viable in recent years, thanks to substantial technological advancements. Between 2010 and 2019, the cost of power generated by utility-scale solar photovoltaics (PV) decreased by 82 per cent.
As a result, Africa’s renewable energy mix has increasingly changed away from traditional hydropower and thermal facilities, in order to increase energy access and support long-term economic growth. For example, with the help of solar power farm stations, more than a third of Morocco’s electricity is already renewable. According to a report by the International Energy Agency renewable energy will make up almost half of sub-Saharan Africa’s power generation growth by 2040. The report, which is the IEA’s first significant analysis of Sub-Saharan Africa, looked at the region’s potential to offer energy to the region’s estimated 620 million people who currently do not have access to electricity. Since 2000, the economy of Sub-Saharan Africa has been quickly increasing, and over the following 26 years, the continent will begin to unlock its “huge renewable energy resources,” with solar energy leading the way. Only 10% of sub-Saharan Africa’s hydropower potential is currently being utilized, according to the research. Furthermore, much of Africa has “great solar” potential, while coastal areas have wind energy potential.
Solar photovoltaics will power two-thirds of mini-grid and off-grid systems in rural regions by 2040. As technological costs fall, renewable energy systems become more appealing than diesel generators, especially when financing is available to cover the greater upfront cost. There are several things that can be done to help Africa’s energy sector flourish even further. A $450 billion investment in the region’s power industry, more regional collaboration on energy audits, feasibility studies, and energy projects, and improved resource and energy-based revenue management are among them. If investors and African governments take all of these proposals seriously, the region’s GDP might grow by 30% by 2040.
Most African countries would benefit greatly in the long run by investing in a sustainable energy audit and feasibility assessment, avoiding the looming economic challenges that wealthy countries are already confronting. While numerous projects are presently ongoing to expand and link existing grid networks, there are just too many issues to make this a viable choice for the vast majority of individuals and businesses in Africa. The only viable approach to address the electrification needs of communities and businesses is distributed generation using renewable energy technology. In Africa, there is a push for energy decentralization, with many countries considering solar power farms and small grids as options. However, to effectively actualize this, there is need for energy auditing and feasibility study.
Although solar power technology has the ability to give electricity to vast populations and has been utilized to generate power on a big scale in industrialized countries, its greatest promise in Africa may be to deliver power to communities and businesses to assist with day-to-day needs. The 8.5MW plant at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in the Rwamagana District of Rwanda’s Eastern Province is the first utility-scale solar farm in Sub-Saharan Africa. It leased 20 hectares (49 acres) of property from a charity community in Rwanda to house and educate genocide survivors. The plant employs 28,360 photovoltaic panels and generates 6% of the country’s total electricity.
The photovoltaic 250 kW Kigali Solaire station in Rwanda is one example of a modest grid-connected solar power plant in Africa. Several projects have been created under the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program, including the 96MW(DC) Jasper Solar Energy Project, the 75MW(DC) Lesedi PV Project, and the 75MW(DC) Letsatsi PV Project.
Solar energy is used to power health care facilities in Gambia and Sierra Leone, providing a consistent source of electricity for lighting, diagnostic tests, therapies, and water pumping. There are plans to create solar farms in the North African deserts to bring electricity to Europe. Renewable energy will be generated in the Sahara desert and distributed via a high-voltage infrastructure for export to Europe and local use in North Africa. Efforts are underway to offer up to 15% of continental Europe’s electricity.
Nigeria’s energy needs are growing, and the country’s growing population is not fully accounted for in the energy development plan. The current urban-centred energy policy is regrettable, as rural and sub-rural energy demand and supply are not prioritized in the country’s energy development strategy. People in rural regions rely on wood and traditional biomass for their energy needs, which results in significant deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and pollution, contributing to global warming and environmental issues. The main goal has been to provide energy to cities and diverse industrialized areas, despite the fact that many businesses rely too much on fossil fuels to be productive, resulting in an energy imbalance in the country’s socioeconomic and political landscapes. When the current and ever-increasing population is compared to the overall capacity of the available power stations, it becomes clear that Nigeria is unable to supply the people’s energy needs. Numerous areas still lack access to electricity, and the environment is contaminated as a result of the widespread use of diesel and gasoline to power many enterprises.
Nigeria could benefit from focused initiatives that lower local air pollution while also assisting the country in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. There are a number of aspects that must be studied and addressed as the country transitions to a sustainable energy future. Energy audits, feasibility studies, complete exploitation and promotion of clean energy resources, energy efficiency techniques, and the implementation of energy conservation measures in diverse sectors such as communities, industrial, residential, and office buildings are just a few examples.
Energy auditing has significant societal benefits, such as lower energy expenses for low-income homes. Implementing the country’s renewable energy target will incur significant costs from an economic standpoint, but these can be partially offset by selling carbon credits in accordance with the rules of the ‘Clean Development Mechanism,’ which were agreed upon ten years ago and will result in indirect health benefits. Nigeria is blessed with rich renewable energy resources, such as solar, and it is imperative that these resources be used in order to create a new energy future for the country. The government has a responsibility in this regard to make renewable energy accessible and cheap to all.
Renewable energy will play a critical part in satisfying Nigeria’s future energy needs in businesses and communities. Renewable energy production and usage should be prioritized, especially in view of greater awareness of the negative environmental implications of fossil-fueled generating. The world’s demand for renewable energy is steadily expanding. Renewable energy must be widely used in order for the energy sector to be sustainable.
The greatest strategy to enhance the engagement of Nigerian proponents of clean energy for a clean environment is to invest in clean energy infrastructure. Clean energy investment refers to money put into a system for supplying and using energy that has minimum negative environmental and social implications. Investment in clean energy systems is the most cost-effective and efficient way to achieve a cleaner environment and, as a result, successful participation in the global carbon market.
The Energy Project Africa focuses on energy auditing and feasibility studies to create opportunities for energy conservation in Nigeria’s various sectors, including office buildings and residential areas, manufacturing industries, transportation, electricity generation and distribution, and electrification equipment and appliances that ensure energy efficiency (EPA). The EPA has also made possible the different places where energy savings might be accomplished. Within the EPA’s potential to actualize clean energy, several guidelines and initiatives are accessible. If the recommendations and actions are carefully followed, significant energy savings will be achieved in the community and among enterprises.
Africa is attempting to make an egalitarian and climate-friendly energy transition from fossil fuel dependence to inexpensive, reliable, and sustainable green energy while keeping the lights on at home and in companies. Meeting this challenge in Africa as a whole is extremely pressing. The continent’s economic future and the lives of millions of people are at stake. Three things are required in Nigeria by 2030 to ensure that every home and business has access to reliable, affordable, and clean energy: energy auditing, feasibility studies, and funding to exponentially boost green energy growth. As a result, the energy supply mix must be varied by constructing adequate infrastructure and raising public awareness about the importance of promoting and developing the country’s enormous clean energy resources as well as enhancing sustainable energy.
Energy Project Africa is a leading renewable energy business in Lagos, Nigeria with expertise in an energy audit and feasibility solutions, mini-grid and solar farm, strategy advisory. Supply by EPA provides solar products and equipment for corporate and institutional clients for the project and operational needs. If you need a partner with hands-on local expertise in the renewable energy space or any of our bespoke solutions/services, kindly visit Mail email@example.com to learn more.