Africa’s renewable energy future is possible
Africa has the lowest energy grid connection than any other continent. To power homes and businesses in a region of more than 1 billion people, African countries generates electricity from dams, coal and gas fired power stations, as well as a range of renewable energy sources including large-scale hydropower facilities and wind farms, and small-scale solar hot water and solar rooftop panels. Renewable energy target are part of African countries scheme designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the electricity sector and encourage the additional generation of electricity from sustainable and renewable sources. The leaders in this area are South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Kenya and Ethiopia. In South Africa, renewable energy target works by allowing both large-scale power stations and the owners of small-scale systems to create large-scale generation certificates and small-scale technology certificates for every megawatt hour of power they generate. Certificates are then purchased by electricity retailers who supply electricity to householders and businesses and submitted to the regulator to meet the retailers’ legal obligations under the renewable energy target. This creates a market which provides financial incentives to both large-scale renewable energy power stations and the owners of small-scale renewable energy systems. In Morocco, small-scale technology certificates are created following the installation of an eligible system, and are calculated based on the amount of electricity a system produces or replaces that is, electricity from non-renewable sources.Overall, householders who purchase these systems assign the right to create their certificates to an agent in return for a lower purchase price. The level of this benefit differs across the country depending on the level of solar energy.
An energy expert i had a chat with few days ago says African countries must re-focus their energy infrastructure now in order to become reliable on renewable energy in the future.He said it would not be long before many major cities and countries in Africa would be entirely self-powered. He believe this would stem from different sources but mainly from solar energy.It seems a bit inconceivable to many people in Africa right now, but the expert own forecast is that most major cities will be self-powered by 2040.That’ll be largely with solar and associated with batteries, but also other sources of generation including wind and including some other technologies like wave energy that will start to contribute to that mix.However, in order to realize a renewable future in Africa, he said African countries must now begin making changes. It really is an ideal time for African countries to be thinking about how do they renew their energy infrastructure, replace it with renewables, include the battery backups that they need.Still making use of the existing infrastructure that African countries have, the gas turbines that countries have and winding back the coal turbines, but as countries like South Africa wind them back contributing to a transition to what will be a renewable future.According to him, solar energy was currently the cheapest form of electricity generation in Africa. While he believed some countries like Kenya and South Africa have been at the forefront with adopting solar on rooftops and solar research, he said African countries had in some ways been lagging in terms of investments into solar energy. The major investments that have brought the price of energy down, the price of electricity down through renewables, started no doubt with foreign investments but now local investors are investing heavily.However, with the current price of solar energy, he said now was the time for a focus on solar. The price of solar has been falling at the rate of 15 per cent since 2005, every year, and it continues to do so. So African countries ability to afford this has become much better in the last couple of years. In the last few years, solar has started to compete with traditional energy generating technologies.