by Babalwa Bungane, ESI Africa intern
On Monday, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) latest report, Africa 2030, revealed that renewable energy projects could provide approximately 25% of Africa’s power needs. According to the report, renewables accounted for only 5% of total capacity in 2013 but argues that could rise to 22% in the next 15 years provided that an estimated $70 billion is invested into power distribution infrastructure from now through to 2030.
Furthermore, the report encourages the initiatives that promote alternative energy production sources, mitigating the insufficient energy which poses threats to the region’s economy hampering from growing.
IRENA Director General Adnan Amin said “Africa holds some of the best renewable energy resources in the world in the form of biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind”.
The report highlights that the potential for solar energy is content wide, whereas biomass and hydroelectric is predominant in central and southern regions. Wind energy is gaining ground in north, east and southern Africa, with east Africa’s geothermal development potential being significant along the Great Rift Valley.
As report earlier this week, South Africa needs an estimated $15 billion to help improve the ageing electricity transmission grid.
The renewable energy projects targets to provide 17.8GW of clean energy by 2030 adding to the national grid. Currently 1,827 MW of renewable energy is contributing to the installed capacity of 45, 000MW.
However, KfW senior energy and climate project manager, Ihno Baumfalk told reports that “”South Africa lacks [the] transmission infrastructure which is needed to enable the country to meet its target”.