Last week, global nuclear player Rosatom, stressed that Sub-Saharan Africa should be transitioning away from fossil fuels, a move that has been dubbed the ‘energy revolution’. By introducing technologies such as nuclear power, countries like Ghana could boost socio-economic development, while offsetting the regions CO2 emissions.
This was highlighted by Rosatom Regional Vice-President of Sub-Saharan Africa ,Viktor Polikarpov , during the annual Powering Africa conference held in Accra, Ghana.
According to Rosatom, Ghana has implemented energy goals for 2020, which are closely aligned with the principles of the ‘energy revolution’.
Energy to meet increasing growth
The Moscow-headquartered nuclear firm, stressed that in order to maintain economic growth potential, the region needs to increase its power generation capacity tenfold.
“Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow at 4.5% in 2015 and in excess of 5% in 2016, driving urbanisation and increasing long-term energy demands.”
Polikarpov said: “It is projected that Sub-Saharan Africa will consume nearly 1,600 terawatt hours by 2040, four times what was used in 2010, this if it is to achieve electrification levels of around 70 – 80%.
“By 2040, Sub-Saharan Africa will consume as much electricity as India and Latin America did combined in 2010.”
In regions such as South Africa, it has been realised that in order to meet and sustain the increasing energy demand, it is imperative to diversify the energy mix by integrating all types of energy resources.
Polikarpov added: “Base load power is often referred to as the essential minimum amount of power needed by the grid to effectively run society. Base load is required 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to run heavy industry. Disruptions in these operations cause major delays, damage equipment, put lives at risk and ultimately cost economies billions.”
Polikarpov concluded: “In my mind the most obvious option would be nuclear power. It is one the cleanest sources today, emitting no greenhouse gasses. It is statistically the safest form of energy available on the planet and finally it is very cost effective, especially when considered as a long term investment.
“It is important to take into account that nuclear has an operational lifespan over 60 years, twice that of coal and three times that of renewables. It is for these very reasons that the latest report by the World Nuclear Association estimates that nuclear power could grow by as much as 45% of the next 20 years.”
Rosatom added in a statement that Ghana has recently unveiled plans to explore a nuclear power programme, as it seeks to become a major net exporter of energy in the west African sub-region.