Africa is the ‘next big place’ for renewable energy according to Enel Green Power SpA (EGPW), a subsidiary of Enel, Italy’s largest power utility.

“We said, what is the next big region of the world where renewables can come, can grow, and where we can play a role similar to the one we are playing today in Latin America?” Chief Executive Officer Francesco Starace said in an interview.

The operator of about 8.9 gigawatts of hydroelectric, solar, wind and alternative energy power plants is focusing on places where governments are seeking to expand electricity access as developed nations wind down subsidies for renewable power. The company, which has operations in 16 countries, is expanding its reach in South Africa and Morocco and plans to enter Kenya and Egypt, among other nations, in the next five years. Latin America accounted for 28 percent of the company’s added capacity last year.

Enel Green Power plans to spend about 73 percent of the $7.42 billion it has set aside for growth during the next five years in emerging markets, according to the company’s 2014-2018 business plan.

Rift Valley

In South Africa, the company is planning geothermal and wind projects. Biomass might be the next type of renewable investment in the country, Starace said.

Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, has “a huge geothermal potential and for us geothermal is very important,” Starace said.  These countries form part of the Rift Valley geothermal grouping, which is estimated to have a total generation capacity of over 20 000MW.

Enel SpA (ENEL) owns 69 percent of Enel Green Power’s outstanding shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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