Africa’s energy generation unlikely to go green this decade
A new study into Africa’s energy generation landscape uses a state-of-the-art machine-learning technique to analyse the pipeline of more than 2,500 planned power plants and their chances of successful commission. The study shows the share of non-hydro renewables in African electricity generation is likely to remain below 10% in 2030, although this varies by region.
The research, published in Nature Energy, from the University of Oxford predicts that total electricity generation across the African continent will double by 2030, with fossil fuels continuing to dominate the energy mix – posing potential risk to global climate change commitments.
“Africa’s electricity demand is set to increase significantly as the continent strives to industrialise and improve the wellbeing of its people, which offers an opportunity to power this economic development through renewables,” says Galina Alova, study lead author and researcher at the Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.
Aloya adds: “There is a prominent narrative in the energy planning community that the continent will be able to take advantage of its vast renewable energy resources and rapidly decreasing clean technology prices to leapfrog to renewables by 2030 – but our analysis shows that overall it is not currently positioned to do so.”
The study predicts that in 2030, fossil fuels will account for two-thirds of all generated electricity across Africa. While an additional 18% of generation is set to come from hydro-energy projects. These have their own challenges, such as being vulnerable to an increasing number of droughts caused by climate change.
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