JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SUB-SAHARAN Africa has taken the lead in the endorsement of clean energy with revelations some countries in the region having eclipsed the world’s wealthiest countries in attracting investments in such renewable energy sources in 2014.
According to a global assessment, during the period, countries south of the Sahara have to date attracted more than US$25 billion worth of investments in solar, and other renewable power generation projects much to the doubling of their renewable energy capacity to over 4 gigawatts
Climatescope 2015, the clean energy country competitiveness index, indicates that for the first time ever, over half of all new annual investment into clean energy power generating projects globally went toward projects in emerging markets, rather than toward wealthier countries.
Three African countries – South Africa, Kenya and Uganda – finished in the top 10 of the Climatescope index with South Africa, in fourth place overall.
The Southern African country has become a globally significant investment destination for clean energy thanks to its renewable energy independent power producer procurement (REIPPP) programme REIPPP auctions, accounting for nearly 70 percent of regional investment.
The news of the rising prominence of lesser developed countries comes on the eve of a key round of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21), a United Nations-organised climate change forum starting in Paris, France on Monday (November 30).
The findings also assert the increased support of renewable energy projects in the continent over recent months.
Among key financiers include the Climate Investment Funds CIF), a unique pair of financing instruments designed to pilot initiatives driving transformational change towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development projects.
Recently, the fund committed $100 million for the realisation of such projects in East Africa.
CIPF is bankrolling the projects under the auspices of the Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries Programme (SREP) fund.
“SREP support will target the development of off-grid energy markets to help bring electricity to unserved communities in rural areas, create employment opportunities and generate income.
SREP funding can act as a catalyst and will help improve the enabling environment conditions to unlock and systematically scale-up private investments,” said Senior SREP Coordinator, Zhihong Zhang.
More prominently, United States President Barack Obama has partnered with government, African governments, the private sector, international organizations, and development partners to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa through the Power Africa initiative.
It will add more than 30 000 MW of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity in sub-Saharan Africa by expanding mini-grid and off-grid solutions and building out power generation, transmission, and distribution structures.
Power Africa will also increase electricity access by adding more than 60 million new connections.
Meanwhile, the latest scheme to mobilise investments into the renewable energy sector in the continent is Energy Africa, the brainchild of the United Department for International Development (DFID).
The project, whose overall goal is to reduce poverty in poorer countries, aims to help bring universal energy access in the continent forward from the year 2080 to 2030.
Energy Africa explores the abundance of solar in the continent.
It has been noted Sub-Saharan Africa is endowed with vast renewable energy resources but over the years, insufficient investment stalled the implementation of the projects.
Two in three people in the region of 1,1 billion people do not have access to electricity.
– CAJ News