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Africa must increase renewable energy generation by 650% to achieve 2030 goal

Sub-Saharan Africa must dramatically increase annual renewable energy deployment by to reach the continent’s ambitious targets established at COP21, according to a new report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Power up: Delivering renewable energy in Africa, commissioned by IHS Towers, interviewed 28 experts including developers, technology companies, banks and energy analysts, supported by fieldwork in Nigeria, Zambia and Uganda. It seeks to examine current trends and future prospects, in the context of the African Renewable Energy Initiative’s goal of deploying 330 gigawatts to the region by 2030, an increase of over 650% from current rates.

Adam Green, editor of the report, said:“Pico-solar units, microgrids, m-payments and remote utility management software are some of the impressive innovations bringing green energy to people beyond the traditional grid. But Africa needs a major increase in power generation assets like wind and solar farms.” 

The report argues that governments must implement cost-reflective tariffs, as artificially low prices and subsidies for fossil fuel energy make renewables less competitive. The report also calls for governments to launch renewable procurement programmes that will provide a long-term investment framework, rather than relying on one-off investments. Lastly, the fiscal conditions of national off-takers must be improved, as it is a considerable risk factor for developers and banks.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is being lifted by a global tide in favour of renewable power,” says Adam Green. “It has plenty of home-grown success stories both in the likely markets of South Africa and Kenya, but also in less experienced nations like Zambia and Uganda. Tackling these investment obstacles will help make the 2030 dream a reality.”

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