During his address to the South African global Renewable Energy Conference, the German Ambassador to South Africa said “After the Fukushima nuclear accident, Germany made a decision to fundamentally change it’s energy supply”.
In one of them it will be evaluated the role of renewable energy as a tool for economic development and poverty eradication, in a world where there are more than 1,2 million people without access to electricity services, according to experts.
In a recent report by the global Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) it was stated that Africa could generate as much as 310 gigawatts through renewable energy solutions within the next 15 years. Solar resources are abundant across the continent, while biomass and hydropower potential are more plentiful in the central and southern regions.
The share of renewables in Africa’s power generation mix could grow to as high as 50% by 2030 if all the REmap Options in the report are implemented says IRENA.
Wind is primarily of interest to the north, east and south, while the Great Rift Valley in the east has significant geothermal potential. However, the low bankability of RE projects, limited grid capacity and stability, and the lack of economies of scale (in terms of electricity demand) are holding back the implementation of large-scale RE power projects.
The sector has contributed to more than 109 000 construction jobs and cut about 4,4m tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Biomass remains the major source of energy in most SADC member countries, with wood and charcoal accounting for more than 45 percent of the final energy consumption in the region. Beyond the obvious benefits of minimizing traditional fossil fuel energy technologies, the report also concludes that such a scale-up of renewables in Africa “is an affordable means to help meet fast-growing energy demand while increasing energy access, improving health, and achieving sustainability goals”. Work has also begun on a national biomass action plan, it explained.
Speaking about the cost effectiveness of renewable energy Amin said “The technologies are available, reliable and increasingly cost-competitive. The onus is now on Africa’s governments to create conditions to accelerate deployment, paving the way for Africa’s unfettered, sustainable development”. “It’s a question of a couple of months”, Omphi Aphane, deputy director general in the energy ministry, told Reuters at a Cape Town renewable energy conference, referring to the solar park. The 2015 conference is themed “RE-energizing Africa” and seeks to position Africa as the business destination for renewable energy, given its current growth trajectory and need for clean energy investment for sustainable economic growth.