To meet skyrocketing demand for electricity, African countries may have to triple their energy output by 2030. While hydropower and fossil fuel power plants are favored approaches in some quarters, a new assessment by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found that wind and solar can be economically and environmentally competitive options and can contribute significantly to the rising demand.
“Wind and solar have historically been dismissed as too expensive and temporally variable, but one of our key findings is that there are plentiful wind and solar resources in Africa that are both low-impact and cost-effective,” said Ranjit Deshmukh, one of the lead researchers of the study. “Another important finding is that with strategic siting of the renewable energy resource and with more energy trade and grid interconnections between countries, the total system cost can be lower than it would be if countries were to develop their resource in isolation without strategic siting.”
The research appeared online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in an article titled, “Strategic siting and regional grid interconnections key to low-carbon futures in African countries.” The lead authors are Deshmukh and Grace C. Wu, both Berkeley Lab researchers in the Energy Technologies Area. Much of the initial research was funded by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which is based in Abu Dhabi. Individual fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the Link Foundation to Wu and Deshmukh supported the expanded analysis on wind siting.
“As a region, Africa is in an unparalleled energy crisis rife with electricity deficiency, lack of access, and high costs,” said Wu. “How African countries and the international community tackle this crisis in the coming decades will have large social, environmental, and climate implications.”
One-of-a-kind open-source planning framework and tool
The Berkeley Lab study is the first of its kind for Africa, using multiple criteria-such as quality of the resource, distance from transmission lines and roads, co-location potential, availability of water resources, potential human impact, and many other factors-to characterize wind and solar resources. Looking at the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) and the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP), which together include 21 countries accounting for half the continent’s population, it found that many countries have wind and solar potential several times greater than their expected demand in 2030.
The tool they used to make these evaluations, the Multicriteria Analysis for Planning Renewable Energy (MapRE, at mapre.lbl.gov) was developed at Berkeley Lab in collaboration with IRENA and is open-source and publicly available to researchers and policymakers.
“Usually project developers will just choose the site with the least levelized cost and best wind speeds, but in reality those aren’t the best sites,” Deshmukh said. “Often times you want development closer to transmission infrastructure or to cities so you don’t have to assume the risk involved in developing transmission infrastructure over long distances, let alone transmitting electricity across those distances. It’s difficult to quantify those costs. Our tool enables stakeholders to bring all these criteria into their decision-making and helps them prioritize areas for development and preplanning of transmission.”
Siting and grid interconnections are key
Not only did the researchers find plentiful wind and solar resources in Africa, another key finding was that system costs and impacts could be lower with robust energy trade and grid connections between countries. And if wind farms are strategically sited so as to manage peak demand, costs can be lower still.
“System costs can be further reduced if wind farms are sited where the timing of wind generation matches electricity demand rather than in areas that maximize wind energy production,” Wu said. “These cost savings are due to avoided natural gas, hydro, or coal generation capacity.”
For example, the researchers found that in a high-wind scenario in the Southern Africa Power Pool, strategic siting and grid interconnections would reduce the need for conventional generation capacity by 9.5 percent, resulting in cost savings of 6 to 20 percent, depending on the technology that was avoided.
“Together, international energy trade and strategic siting can enable African countries to pursue ‘no-regrets’ wind and solar that can compete with conventional generation technologies like coal and hydropower,” Wu said. “No-regrets options are low-cost, low-impact, and low-risk.”
With Berkeley Lab’s MapRE tool, policymakers will be able to do a preliminary evaluation of various sites on their own without having to rely on developers for technical information. “This information brings policymakers level with project developers,” Deskhmukh said. “It reduces costs for everybody and allows for a much more sustainable planning paradigm.”
In addition to Africa, the researchers have uploaded data for India and plan to add more countries, most likely in Asia. And they have held five workshops in Africa for regulators, academics, utilities, and energy officials to share the approach and findings. “They’ve been super enthusiastic,” Deshmukh said. “We’re seeing impacts on the ground.”
The amount of wind and solar currently deployed in Africa is tiny, he said. But with global prices having declined dramatically in the last decade or so, renewable energy has become a competitive alternative. And while hydropower is a significant and familiar resource in Africa, climbing costs and persistent droughts are making it less attractive.
“Just based purely on economics today wind and solar are attractive,” Deshmukh said. “It makes economic sense. Through planning around multiple stakeholder criteria and prioritizing wind and solar projects for regional energy trade, policymakers and financiers can increase their cost-competitiveness.”
The Global Wind Energy Council published its Global Wind Energy Outlook report this week, outlining scenarios which show how wind energy could supply 20% of global electricity by 2030.
Specifically, the report outlined ways in which wind power could reach 2,110 GW by 2030, supplying up to 20% of global electricity while simultaneously creating 2.4 million new jobs, reducing carbon emissions by more than 3.3 billion tonnes per year, and attracting annual investments of €200 billion.
“Now that the Paris Agreement is coming into force, countries need to get serious about what they committed to last December,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General. “Meeting the Paris targets means a completely decarbonised electricity supply well before 2050, and wind power will play the major role in getting us there.
“Wind power is the most competitive option for adding new capacity to the grid in a growing number of markets,” Sawyer continued, “but if the Paris agreement targets are to be reached, that means closing fossil fuel fired power plants and replacing them with wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass. That will be the hard part, and governments will have to get serious about it if they are to live up to the commitments to which they have now bound themselves.”
Looking back, the GWEC report concluded that the annual installation of wind energy in 2015 reached 63 GW, bringing the cumulative total up to around 433 GW. China was unsurprisingly the leading market for wind again, and has been since 2009. The global wind industry is currently set out across more than 80 countries, of which 28 have more than 1 GW installed.
The report presents outlook scenarios through to 2020, 2030, and 2050, based on the International Energy Agency’s New Policies Scenario from the World Energy Outlook as its baseline. The Outlook also provides two other scenarios, with the GWEC’s Advanced Scenario being the “most ambitious” and outlining the “best case” scenario for wind.
“Decarbonising the global energy system includes the transport sector as a major emitter of carbon,” added the report’s lead analyst Dr. Sven Teske, Research Principal for the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney.
“The market for electric mobility, both in regard to electric vehicles as well as public transport, will continue to grow significantly and with this electricity demand for the transport sector. Wind power is in a pole position to supply this future power demand making the wind industry one of the key industries of the energy sector.”
NAIROBI — An environment expert has said Chinese know-how in renewable energy development could help generate clean and sustainable power in Africa, which is home to almost half the global population lacking access to electricity.
David Rodgers, a senior climate change specialist with the US-based foundation, Global Environment Facility, said China had made wind and solar power technologies, which used to be seen as luxuries, become affordable to the world.
“China’s approach of doing things in a big way has made the country become the leader in the world by availing affordable energy to the populations,” Rodgers said on Wednesday at the United Nations Environment Assembly in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
China is the world’s largest investor in renewables excluding large hydro, with its $102.9 billion in investment in 2015 representing more than one third of the global total, according to a report issued by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in late March.
The US was a distant second, with $44.1 billion(R691billion), followed by Japan ($36.2 billion) and Britain ($22.2 billion), the report shows.
The UNEP says Africa could be one of the most promising markets for renewal energy in the next decade due to its abundant solar, wind, biomass and geothermal resources.
Rodgers said Africa should harness these renewable energy resources to help it address power shortages.
“Africa must develop strong policies to enable them to adopt solar and wind power since the continent still do not have enough supply of energy.”
In this regard, he said China’s know-how in the renewable energy sector “should be transplanted into Africa.”
“China’s investment to help make distributed power a reality, coupled with support for proper policies, would be very helpful to help African countries achieve their goals for clean and sustainable power.”
Chinese companies have been supporting African countries in developing renewable energy, engaging in solar, hydro, wind and thermal projects.
Clean energy projects are part of ten major plans for China-Africa cooperation outlined by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a China-Africa forum held in Johannesburg, South Africa in early December last year. China will provide $60 billion of funding support for the plans.
People in rural areas in Africa suffer the most from power shortages. Rodgers believes renewable energy could play a role in alleviating the problem.
“It may not be necessary to build out the grid 100 percent when we now have technology, such as distributed power, solar PV, and wind that can be based in rural areas and in villages,” he said.
Electric cars, LED lighting, reusable bags; many a green innovation has gone mainstream in recent years – and now energy storage is joining the list.
With new tech start-ups entering the scene this year to produce storage batteries, costs for storing energy are set to fall, making 2016 the year of battery storage around the world.
Why the focus on storage? More companies are turning to wind and solar energy but weather patterns are far from consistent. By storing the energy produced in batteries, it can be released for use when it is needed, and not only throughout the day, but from season to season as well.
Energy storage has already taken off in some markets around the world, driven by renewable energy generation, but has largely been overlooked so far in Britain, mainly because of the high cost of implementing storage technologies.
In some markets, such as the US, Germany, and Japan, energy storage is being used commercially. In the US, about 13 per cent of electricity comes from renewable sources and in Germany it equates to around 30 per cent of electricity consumed. And the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) pumped $700 million into energy storage for Japan in 2015.
Investing now to build energy storage systems that take advantage of local, renewable resources could ultimately save companies money by paving the way to energy independence. “It’s a huge advantage to keep energy locally and bring it back locally when you need it, without having to transport it across the country,” says Franz Jenowein, Sustainability Consulting Director at JLL.
The cost of energy storage needs to come down for the commercial real estate industry to embrace it. “Although there’s excitement around the numbers, it might take up to 10 years for companies to get their return on investment,” says Jenowein.
Knowledge of a new technology is one thing; actually using it is quite another. The photovoltaic (PV) effect, responsible for converting light into energy, for example, isn’t new: a 19-year-old French physicist discovered it in 1839.
“Solar PV panels were first used by space satellites in the late 1950s. And battery storage technology has come a long way, but it’s only really come onto the radar with Tesla,” says Jenowein who noted that the premium, electric vehicle automaker used a “very clever communications strategy to make something as geeky as a battery attractive.”
Introducing super batteries
Batteries, pumped-storage systems, ice storage, and heat thermal storage make up some of the more common energy storage technologies for use during peak demand to bring grid usage down and to compensate for peak electricity tariffs. But super batteries, the same types that power electric vehicles, are the current focus of tech companies ever since Tesla introduced the Powerwall energy storage system for homes in May 2015.
Energy stored in batteries provides a promising way to store renewable energy for buildings, too. They can power lights, computers, heating and cooling equipment during peak times, can take over during power outages, and they provide an alternative to fossil fuel powered back-up generators.
Storage battery systems have two functions. “The beauty is that you not only generate energy, but you also have an energy holding technology. Batteries can be connected to the power grid, potentially playing a key role in the emerging smart grids,” says Jenowein. Once you put energy storage systems in buildings and connect to the grid, they become part of this new energy ecosystem.
Getting into the act
More UK tech start-ups are getting into the act by developing their own storage batteries, which they can sell to commercial building owners, in a sort of “storage war” competition, with companies such as Powervault, Moixa Technology, and redT.
Powervault, for example, plans to “take on Tesla” by providing home energy storage systems for British homeowners. Moixa’s system is for residential and commercial uses, and redT’s is for industrial and utility-scale usage.
Although this technology is still prohibitively expensive for widespread use, as production increases and more companies get into the game, prices will go down. “Costs are expected to fall 40 percent over the next five years,” according to JLL’s 2016 Sustainability Trends report.
Jenowein paints a picture of the environment in the UK today: a recognition by building managers of higher electricity rates during day peak times and a willingness to do something about it, and the technology solutions of the batteries. He says that lots of components need to come together for energy storage to become more prevalent, such as regulatory elements, subsidies and incentives, and software to integrate the technologies.
“The challenge is to make it all work together,” says Jenowein. His prediction: energy storage for use in commercial office buildings will be more commonplace, but probably not before 2025 or 2030.
The operator of South Australia’s vast network says it has no concern about the growing penetration of renewable energy on its grid, and is in fact encouraging remote towns to look at high penetration renewable micro-grids to reduce costs.
South Australia is likely to source more than 50 per cent of its electricity needs from fluctuating, but highly predictable, wind and solar power this year, and the penetration will continue to grow.
Last week the Australian Energy Market Operator issued a report on the growing penetration of renewables, and the imminent departure of the last coal generator, but found no threat to energy security.
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SA Power Networks chief executive Ron Stobbe told analysts: ”We don’t see any major implications at all for our networks. We can manage generation from any source.”
Indeed, SAPN is looking to rapidly increase the share of renewable energy in parts of its grid, to increase reliability and reduce costs – both for itself and its consumers.
It says it is talking with a number of remote towns on the feasibility of high penetration renewable energy micro-grids, that might focus on wind and /or solar power, plus diesel back-up or battery storage.
SAPN says this will be a cheaper option for the network than upgrading its extended grid, and also in making repairs to lines damaged by storms and fires. And it will increase safety.
Networks in Western Australia and Queensland are also looking at high renewable penetration micro-grids for the same reasons. A recent analysis suggested using solar and storage could cost just one-tenth of the price of other proposed methods to protect against fire risk.
SAPN is also looking to trial “mid-scale” network storage to improve reliability, allow for higher renewables penetration and defer network upgrades. Ergon in Queensland says a similar strategy is cutting network costs by one third.
SAPN says it is also conducting residential battery storage trials with multiple vendors, to ascertain the value to consumers and to networks by deferring upgrades, and is creating an innovation centre to look at such technologies.
Cape Town – South Africa’s abundance of sun and wind means the country has the potential to supply cheaper and cleaner energy. This is according to an analysis conducted by Mainstream Renewable Power, a global wind and solar company.
Mainstream’s chief executive, Dr Eddie O’Connor, said the initial analysis strongly underpins government’s investment in renewable energy.
“Not only are wind and solar power cheaper than new fossil fuel generation in South Africa but when combined, they can make a very significant contribution to the baseload power at the time of day it is most needed. The analysis also shows that the combined wind and solar resources match the average demand profile for electricity.”
O’Connor said this was significant because the wind blows and the sun shines when electricity is most needed, which did not occur regularly in other global markets.
Mainstream measured wind and solar resource data from 2013 for 18 solar sites across South Africa at different times of the day. The sites analysed represented a combined generation capacity of 42 000 megawatts, 30 000 MW wind and 12 000 MW solar. Mainstream then examined Eskom’s electricity demand data (for 2008) to understand the impact the 42GW of wind and solar generation could have in relation to meeting the country’s electricity needs.
O’Connor said analysts have indicated the average bid price for wind projects in the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.
Round one bids were accepted at 115c/kWh (kilowatt hour), round two at 100c/kWh and round three at 74c/kWh. By the time round four was reached in August last year, the bid price had dropped to 62c/kWh. The same process caused solar power to bid down from 275c/kWh in round one to 79c/kWh in round four, compared to the predicted cost of 128c/kWh for electricity from Medupi, which is designed to supply 4 764MW of renewable energy capacity in less than four years.
“Wind and solar power are quietly been piling on capacity in South Africa. The fact that these projects have almost surpassed the output of such a station in about half the time of its still-unfinished construction is hard to ignore.”
Rezco Asset Management director Rob Spanjaard said: “In the fog of confusion caused by the chaos at Eskom, sight is lost of where the national government has done really well in the area of power generation.
“Perhaps this could provide a model to get out of the morass that we are in that is dragging the whole economy down.”
Spanjaard said the state-run renewable energy programme was a leader internationally in a field of power generation and costs for renewable energy compare very favourably to the costs of a coal power and the final costs of nuclear power were forecast to be more expensive than coal.
“These renewable energy projects are very profitable to the bidders, so there are increasing numbers of groups bidding for the projects available. At last round, only 20 percent of bidding projects were selected.”
He said in the process the country received an unbelievable bargain, currently, 5 200MW had been approved at a capital cost of R168-billion. The project winners had to supply all their own capital and about 40 percent of the spend was local content and thousands of jobs have been created.
“The lessons have nothing to do with privatisation or even renewable energy. At the very least the government should analyse what has worked so spectacularly well for them in one area of power generation and apply these lessons to Eskom.”
Johan van der Berg, chief executive of the South African Wind Energy Association, said wind energy costs South Africa almost nothing. And added to this was the savings from not using coal and diesel.
“These benefits have increased significantly in the last six months, over the previous period. If we assume South Africa will be electricity constrained until 2020, it is fair to assume that an expansion of the renewable energy procurement programme will yield enhanced benefits. Just in wind energy, the community benefits over the next 20 years.”
Manie de Waal, divisional head of Sola PV at Energy Partners said renewable energy was the alternative energy source to what Eskom supplies through the grid.
“As such, it can generate cost savings as well as provide reliability during the current erratic supply South Africa experience through load shedding.”
He said the local manufacturing and installation of solar photo-voltaic (PV) units could create more than 2 000 jobs over the next three to five years.
Seminar. This two day conference takes place on Wednesday, 24 and Thursday, 25 June 2015 during the annual alive2green Sustainability Week at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria.
The process of adding electricity to the grid in one place and taking it out at another, commonly known as wheeling, has been dubbed a potential catalyst for South Africa’s transition to renewable energy – could this approach open the flood gates? As energy producers gain direct access to end users by wheeling their clean energy through the Eskom grid, the market begins to open up, allowing market forces to push efficiencies up and prices down.
The possibilities opening up for gas generation, both at the utility and on site scale and the prospect of reducing national Green House Gas emissions is beginning to look highly possible, if not probable. Strategies to achieve grid autonomy through efficiency and on site generation will be discussed at the 2015 Sustainable Energy Seminar, a not-to-be-missed event, attracting the country’s leading experts in sustainable energy.
“There is an urgent need to reduce fossil fuel dependency, reduce our carbon footprint and diversify the energy mix and supply. Renewable energy is an attractive solution to many problems, the most important of these being security of supply, because resources are abundant and sustainable with the advantage of relatively quick implementation times, creation of work opportunities and a lower long-term impact on the environment,” says Dr Karen Surridge-Talbot, centre manager for the Renewable Energy Centre of Research and Development (RECORD) at the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI). Surridge-Talbot will share insights from SANEDI’s flagship projects at the Seminar.
South Africa has one of the best solar regimes in the world and the question is how best to harness this renewable energy resource. Dr Chris Haw, director of Aurora Power Group and the co-founder of the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association will discuss solar energy for commercial energy users with helpful case studies from his experience at SOLA Future Energy.
Valuable insights about redox flow batteries will be shared by Mulilo project engineer, Tim Crombie and Etienne Gerber, technical head at Mitochondria Energy Company (Pty) Ltd will discuss hydrogen fuel cells. Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz from the CSIR will speak about the council’s integrated energy initiative and opportunities for renewables in South Africa.
The Sustainable Energy Seminar will include riveting discussions on renewable energy generation potential versus the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP) programme, wheeling, natural gas as an alternative energy source in South Africa, autonomy from Eskom – going off the grid and sustainable energy at city scale. Each session in the Sustainable Energy Seminar will begin with an expert panel of 20 minute presentations, followed by a question and answer session with input from the audience.
“We have a crucial role to play in enabling the transition from a carbon-intensive economy to more efficient low-carbon alternatives. The reduction of electricity consumption and increased rollout of renewable energy alternatives is a critical aspect of this transition,” says Dr Marco Lotz, Sustainability Carbon Specialist of Nedbank Group.
The Sustainable Energy Seminar, sponsored by Nedbank, SANEDI, UNIDO, BASF, Massbuild and Participate Technologies forms part of the larger Sustainability Week, organised by alive2green, which runs from Tuesday, 23 to Sunday, 28 June. Affiliated partners of the Sustainable Energy Seminarinclude: PIESA, SESSA, SAEE, REEEP, TAPPSA, SAAEA and NBI.
Sustainability Week is hosted by the City of Tshwane which has a vision to become a low carbon, resource efficient and climate resilient city by 2055. Executive Mayor of Tshwane Councillor Kgosientso Ramogkopa said, “Sustainability Week is a vital gathering for experts and leaders alike to champion urban sustainability for future generations. Energy efficiency is at the heart of this challenge – it cannot be overlooked.”
For more information on Sustainability Week, visit www.sustainabilityweek.co.za.
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BioTherm Energy and Enel Green Power among the preferred project bidders named in the fourth round of the REIPPP initiative.
BioTherm Energy, a South African entity and an African-based independent power producer (IPP), has secured preferred bidder appointment for three projects: the 120MW Golden Valley Wind facility, 45MW Aggeneys Solar PV and 86MW Konkoonsies II Solar PV Facility, totaling 251MW of installed capacity.
The African utility successfully constructed and now operates 49MW of wind and solar projects secured in Round 1 of the REIPPP Program. In addition, it owns and operates a 4.2MW waste gas project at the PetroSA Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) Refinery in Mossel Bay, Western Cape.
“This 251MW allocation by the Department of Energy reflects our ability to compete directly with leading international players who have come to dominate the South African landscape,” said Jasandra Nyker, BioTherm Energy CEO. “We appreciate the Department of Energy’s commitment to supporting a South African development and investment platform in this round.”
In addition, to being awarded preferred bidder status for the wind and solar projects in South Africa, the company has recently garnered success in the rest of Africa. It was awarded preferred bidder status on four solar power projects in Zambia and secured two preferred bidder solar projects in Burkina Faso. BioTherm Energy was also finalist in the Ugandan GET FiT solar facility program and is actively developing greenfield opportunities in East and West Africa.
“BioTherm’s focus on sub-Saharan Africa is equally important to its growth strategy in South Africa,” Nyker added. “Regionalized growth of renewable energy such as wind or solar offers significant economic development and assists in improving the local manufacturing and services value chain. The recent announcement of the Round 4 projects adds to South Africa’s energy evolution and is a further step towards establishing a sustainable, low-carbon environment.”
Enel Green Power, for its part, won energy supply contracts for three wind power projects, including the Oyster Bay project that had been developed by RES. The 142MW Oyster Bay wind farm will comprise 43 turbines and generate in excess of 560GWh per year. Once complete, the project is expected to displace more than half a million tonnes of CO2 in each year of operation, making a dent in carbon emissions by offsetting the economy’s reliance on coal-fired generation.
“We are delighted that the Oyster Bay wind project has received preferred bidder status from the South African Department for Energy,” said Duncan Ayling, development director for RESSouthern Africa. “Such high wind energy sites represent excellent value for money for South Africans and bring socio-economic benefits to the local community through job creation, enterprise development and community trust schemes.”
Oyster Bay will be majority-owned, built and operated by Enel Green Power, a leading European renewable energy power producer. Between now and financial close, RES will continue to support the project and deliver development services in cooperation with Enel Green Power.
Source: Renewable Energy Focus
South Africa has announced its list of preferred bidders for the fourth round auction of renewable energy projects.
The country will add about 1,000 mw of power in this round, industry insiders told Reuters.
Named “Windows 4″, the renewable energy bidding rounds have invited bids for a range of renewable projects such as wind, photovoltaic, biomass and small scale
South Africa, the most advanced economy of the Dark Continent, has been struggling to keep its grid in order and to meet consumer demand owing to a lack of capacity building since the end of apartheid.
It still depends on coal for 95 percent of its energy production.
The country is looking to introduce green energy into its mix on a larger scale.
According to Reuters, some of the possible bidders include Building Energy, Italy; Enel Green Power, Italy; paper maker Sappi and BioTherm, Johannesberg.
Also Germany’s state-controlled development bank KfW announced last week that it had granted the power utility Eskom a 4 billion rand loan to help modernise its power grid and to connect new renewable energy projects to the system.
Source: GreenTech Lead
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The potential to power growth sustainably is there. Policy makers must just rise to the challenge, a new UN report says
AS Africa looks to keep economic growth numbers healthy and improve the well-being of its citizens, many of its initiatives have understandably tended to follow those undertaken by industrialised countries.
The challenge increasingly has been to fund such steps, such as a focus on manufacturing and export-oriented growth, in addition to other bottlenecks such as high-carbon emissions and destruction of the environment.
But a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) shows that a switch to green investments provides a huge opportunity for progress in a continent where nearly half of sub-Saharan Africans live in extreme poverty; three in four households have no grid power; and 70% do not have access to improved sanitation.
Currently a buzz phrase, green economies are those that achieve growth through investments that cut carbon emissions and pollution, in addition to using resources efficiently and protecting the environment for future generations.
To make its case to policymakers, the Green Economy Africa Synthesis Report offers staggering numbers obtained from its findings across 10 African countries, with the region, perhaps of necessity, identified as among the global front runners in leading the transition to green economies.
“Enormous sustainable, renewable, and untapped resources exist on this continent. Africa receives 325 days per year of sunlight and is using less than 7% of its hydroelectric potential, and less than 2% of its geothermal capacity,” UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said.
Mail and Guardian Africa picked out eight examples of other such staggering numbers from the report:
1: Under green investment scenarios, the national real GDP in fast-growing Kenya would increase by an estimated 12% by 2030. This would lead to an additional 3.1 million people being lifted out of poverty. One small solar LED lamp could for example save a Kenyan family more than $1 a week, in a country where an average 13% of income is spent on kerosene.
2: Investments in expanding solar and wind capacity in Senegal would by 2035 create up to 30,000 additional jobs. This would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 9%, or about 27 million tonnes, helping the country realise its undoubted potential.
3: South Africa, which has been battling a water crisis, could save billions of tonnes of water if it makes further investments in natural resource management, especially land restoration. This could create up to 737,000 new jobs, helping alleviate a persistent unemployment headache in Africa’s richest economy. Making energy efficient improvements could further reduce electricity demand by 5% in 2030.
4: Renewable energy investment scenarios in Burkina Faso, which is in the throes of Sahel region desertification, could save up to 100,000 hectares of forest area by 2050, reducing carbon dioxide by 16,000 tonnes. If the country invests further in green electricity generation, it could see this category rise from 20% in 2012 to 60% in 2050.
5: Struggling Egypt could save 30% of its energy consumption if it used efficiency measures. The North African country currently consumes 33 billon KW. And just replacing faulty farm pipelines and introducing drip irrigation could save up to 40% water losses, as it frets over downstream use of its lifeline Nile River.
6: In power-choked but quick-growing Rwanda, expanding its grid-connected renewable energy supply could replace its emergency diesel generators, in place since 2004. The country has an installed off-grid hydro capacity of just 1.54 MW, showing just how power deficit economically cripples countries, from Rwanda to South Africa
7: In Mauritius, a green economy scenario results in over 25% more employment that in a conventional growth scenario. Green sectors tend to be more labour intensive than resource intensive, hence creating space for new jobs in a continent where 11 million African join the labour market every year.
8: In Africa, where agriculture accounts for 32% of its GDP and supports the livelihoods of 80% of its population, investments in green practices such as organic agriculture could provide a cash boom. Uganda for example increased its certified organic exports from $3.7 million in 2004 to $22.8 million four years later. The global market for organic foods and beverages is expected to grow to $105 billion by 2015, from $62.9 billion in 2011.
Source: Mail and Guardian Africa
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