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Investment in African Renewable Energy Reaches $3.6 Billion in 2011

Commodities / Renewable Energy Jan 04, 2012 - 10:05 AM GMT

By: OilPrice_Com

Commodities

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleFirst, the bad news.

Although Africa has vast fossil and renewable energy sources, only twenty percent of its population has direct access to electricity and in some rural areas, four out of five people are completely without power. According to the UN, over 600 million Africans currently do not have access to electric power. A depressing 70 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa's population is living without access to clean and safe energy for their basic needs such as cooking, lighting and heating, making energy poverty among the most urgent issues facing Africa. Worldwide, more than 1.4 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity, and 1 billion more only have intermittent access.


Over 2.5 billion people, almost half of humanity, rely on traditional biomass - wood, coal, charcoal, or animal waste to cook their meals and heat their homes, exposing themselves and their families to smoke and fumes that damage their health and kill nearly two million people a year. More than 95 percent of these people are either in sub-Saharan Africa or developing Asia.

The good news?

According to the Managing Director of Nigeria's Bank of Industry (BOI), Evelyn Oputu, total investments in renewable energy in Africa rose from $750 million in 2004 to $3.6 billion in 2011. To put this in a global context, worldwide investment in renewable energy has risen from $33 billion in 2004 to $211 billion in 2011.

And the future?

According to a report issued in August 2011 by Frost & Sullivan entitled "Mega Trends in Africa: A bright vision for the growing continent," investment in renewable power in Africa is set to grow from the 2011 total of $3.6-billion in 2010 to $57-billion by 2020, a staggering 1,583 percent increase in nine short years. According to the document, "The key growth sectors will be wind power, solar power, geothermal power and foreign direct investment (FDI) into energy and power infrastructure."

The reason for the spectacular projections? Africa's combination of a massive unmet demand, including remote communities, allied to an abundance of renewable power potential in the form of solar, wind and geothermal potential. To give but one example, Only seven percent of Africa's hydropower capacity has been developed up to now.

Africa is not yet locked into the inefficient, oft-polluting infrastructure of many Western countries. Accordingly, Africa with modern efficient technologies could build a renewable energy infrastructure that could bypass the inefficient, fossil fuel-centered energy infrastructure systems of the developed world.

Modest starts in renewable energy have already begun across the continent. Wind power projects in Africa are planned or under way in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Tanzania - including Kenya's 0.3 gigawatt Lake Turkana project and 0.7 gigawatt of capacity under construction in Morocco, while Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda all have existing biomass power capacity or plans for future development.

Solar? South Africa has its planned solar park in Upington, intended to contribute 5,000 megawatts to the national electrical grid, while North Africa's Desertec is the largest solar power project ever conceived, designed at a potential cost of $500 billion to provide a significant portion of the electricity needs of participating countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and up to 15 per cent of Europe's electricity needs by 2050.

Africa's ambitions have the support of the United Nations, where in 2010 the General Assembly unanimously endorsed a resolution designating 2012 as "The International Year of Sustainable Energy for All." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has set three inter-linked objectives to support the goal of achieving "Sustainable Energy for All" by 2030, which are ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

The UN Sustainable Energy for All incorporates a number of initiatives focusing on Africa, including World Bank Group's Lighting Africa, the Paris-Nairobi Climate Initiative, the Africa-European Union Energy Partnership, and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, as well as the EU's decision to make access to sustainable energy a development priority through its "Agenda for Change." A number of countries, including South Africa, are also leading the way with national initiatives.

But these initiatives are relatively recent and need financial support to prosper. It was only in September 2010 that African and European leaders launched the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Program (RECP) at the First High-Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) in Vienna.

AEEP's agenda is nothing if not ambitious, as its targets on renewable energy to be reached by 2020 include 10,000 megawatts of hydropower facilities, 5,000 megawatts of wind power capacity, 500 megawatts of solar energy capacity and tripling the capacity of other renewables, such as geothermal, and modern biomass.

The downside to this picture? Three things - the need for massive amounts of investment capital, a problem attendant to massive amounts of cash - corruption, and the continent's changing political landscape, which is already impacting the Desertec North African solar initiative as the Arab Spring roils the south coast of the Mediterranean.

But both the need and potential are there - all that are currently lacking to make the future predictions a reality are cash and political will.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Renewa...

This article was written by Dr. John CK Daly for Oilprice.com who offer detailed analysis on Crude Oil, Geopolitics, Gold and most other commodities. They also provide free political and economic intelligence to help investors gain a greater understanding of world events and the impact they have on certain regions and sectors. Visit: http://www.oilprice.com

© 2011 Copyright OilPrice.com- All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

Hanna Mills
10 Jan 12, 07:06
Sustainable Development in Africa

Interesting article! Thanks a lot! I do believe that a sustainable development within the next decades is highly important for South Africa and its population. We're currently seeing the trend of urbanization, meaning that lots of people are moving to the cities in hope of jobs. Siemens, for instance, have announced that they are seeing a great potential in South African cities: http://www.siemens.co.za/sustainable-development/sustainable-development.html There are a variety of things that need to be tackled, such as a more sustainable infrastructure, a more sustainable energy supply, more sustainable building technologies,...

It's going to be very tough but highly interesting years!


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