Africa’s renewables power on the rise as fossil fuel falls

Thursday December 02 2021
pic renewable
By Bird

Nairobi. From Egypt to Eswatini, African countries are increasing their supply of hydro, solar and wind energy to accelerate a net-zero journey.

Africa has increased its share of renewable energy resources as fossil fuel inventories take a dip on delays, cancellation of mega oil and coal projects and divestment in the portfolios in a pandemic year, shows a report.

Africa Energy Review 2021, published by consultancy firm PWC, shows that hydropower capacity increased by more than 25 percent followed by solar (13 percent) and wind (11 percent) through 2020, compared with 2019.

“Renewable energy is on a gradual rise across the continent,” reads the report in part. That growth, the report said, will be led by solar and wind projects in Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Ethiopia.

The rise in uptake of clean energy has pushed its annual growth rate by 21 percent over the last decade to a current capacity of more than 58 GW.

“Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa are leading the increase in renewable energy supply on the continent, while some of Africa’s smaller countries including Cabo Verde, Djibouti, Rwanda and Eswatini have set ambitious renewable energy targets,” says the review.

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While hydropower accounts for 63 percent of the total renewables capacity, the report points to significant investments in solar, wind and bioenergy seen surpassing that of hydro in the next decade.

“Most African countries are also increasing investment in solar and hydropower technologies with projects currently under construction estimated to add 33 GW of renewable energy capacity,” according to the review.

A total of 35 of Africa’s 54 countries, the review say have undertaken some form of commitment towards net zero emissions, in what could partly explain the falling production, consumption and export of fossil fuels.

Oil production on the continent recorded the largest decline by 19 percent to 6.8 million barrels per day, consumption declined by 14 percent as exports dipped to 5.7 million barrels per day in 2020.

“Despite companies commencing exploration and development projects, planned capital expenditure in 2020–2021 has fallen from 90 billion dollars pre-COVID-19 to 60 billion dollars,” according to the review.

The low investment appetite to fund oil and gas projects has been attributed to the rising need for producers and governments to show clear proof of emission reduction strategies and strong commercial business cases for these fossil fuels.

Gas and coal production declined by 5 percent and 5.5 percent respectively as consumption of coal declined most by 5 percent compared to gas which recorded a 1.5 percent slump relative to the previous year.