The Potential of African Renewable Energy Resources and the Push Towards Sustainable DevelopmentApr 22, 2023 12:00PM ● By Anand Subramanian
Image: Ngong Hills Wind Farm, Kenya. Source: Wikimedia Commons
In recent years, there has been an increasing awareness of the need for sustainable development and renewable energy's role in reaching this aim. With its abundant renewable energy resources, Africa has the potential to pave the way for a more sustainable and low-carbon future.
Africa has significant solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and biomass resources, allowing it to supply inexpensive, dependable, and sustainable energy to fulfill its people's expanding energy demands.
Despite the potential of these resources, Africa continues to face significant energy challenges, with millions of people needing access to electricity. Developing renewable energy resources in Africa provides a chance to address its people's energy demands and encourage economic growth, poverty reduction, and environmental sustainability.
In this context, it is critical to investigate the potential of African renewable energy resources and the drive for sustainable development.
Africa has one of the world's most significant amounts of solar radiation, making it an ideal site for solar energy generation. The continent features enormous regions of terrain that receive 325 days of sunlight every year on average. South Africa, Morocco, and Egypt are among the African countries that have developed large-scale solar energy projects. For example, with a capacity of 1.8 GW, Egypt's Benban solar park is now the world's largest. The expansion of Africa's solar energy sector has the potential to deliver clean and inexpensive electricity to millions of people.
Wind energy is yet another renewable energy source with significant promise in Africa. Large expanses of land in the continent are suited for wind power generation. Many African countries, notably Kenya, Ethiopia, and Morocco, are now implementing wind energy projects. With a capacity of 310 MW, the Lake Turkana Wind Power Plant in Kenya is now Africa's largest wind farm. Wind energy development in Africa has the potential to generate employment, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase access to power.
With numerous rivers running through the continent, including the Nile, Congo, and Zambezi, Africa has enormous hydro energy potential. Many African countries, notably Ethiopia, Angola, and Zambia, are implementing large-scale hydro energy projects. For example, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is now under construction, will have a capacity of 6.45 GW. The expansion of Africa's hydro energy industry has the potential to deliver clean and inexpensive electricity to millions of people.
With multiple active and dormant volcanoes spread across the continent, Africa has enormous geothermal energy potential. Many African countries, notably Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti, are now implementing geothermal energy projects. With a capacity of 280 MW, the Olkaria geothermal power station in Kenya is now Africa's largest geothermal power plant. The expansion of Africa's geothermal energy sector has the potential to supply clean and dependable electricity to millions of people.
The push towards sustainable development
With various countries, organizations, and people investing in renewable energy projects, Africa's movement toward sustainable development is gaining traction. The African Development Bank (AfDB), for example, has created the New Deal on Energy for Africa to provide universal access to energy in Africa by 2025. The strategy involves large-scale renewable energy projects as well as the expansion of the transmission and distribution network. Some African nations, notably Ghana, Morocco, and Kenya, have also introduced feed-in tariffs to encourage private investment in renewable energy projects. The feed-in tariffs guarantee the price of power generated by renewable energy sources, resulting in increased private investment in the industry.
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Anand Subramanian is a freelance photographer and content writer based out of Tamil Nadu, India. Having a background in Engineering always made him curious about life on the other side of the spectrum. He leapt forward towards the Photography life and never looked back. Specializing in Documentary and Portrait photography gave him an up-close and personal view into the complexities of human beings and those experiences helped him branch out from visual to words. Today he is mentoring passionate photographers and writing about the different dimensions of the art world.
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