Africa needs investments to the tune of $130 billion annually to become a net-zero continent by 2050, a report by Friends of the Earth has suggested.
According to a report by the organization titled, “A Just Recovery Renewable Energy Plan for Africa,” the money would come from “the global North” and will address the three biggest problems of the continent: energy poverty, climate change, and Covid-19.
“Such a plan would require over 300 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy by 2030, as agreed by the African Union, and over 2000 GW by 2050,” Friends of the Earth said.
“The report, based on the work of renowned academic Dr Sven Teske from Sydney University, demonstrates how a Just Recovery plan could be achieved for US$130 billion per year and funded through public finance from the global North, putting an end to tax dodging and dropping the debt,” the organization also said. “It also highlights the potential to create 7 million new jobs in renewable energy.”
Africa has been estimated to have solar energy potential of as much as 1,000 GW and wind potential of 110 GW, not to mention 350 GW in hydro power potential and 15 GW of geothermal potential. And yet, all of this vast potential remains largely untapped, even though solar and wind farms are getting so cheap that they are said to be on par with coal in some parts of the world.
The reasons this potential has not been tapped on any meaningful scale so far are complex. One of them is that many African countries simply lack transmission infrastructure extensive enough to accommodate utility-scale solar and wind installations economically. This makes a lot of installations not just expensive but economically unviable.
“As of two years ago, the cost for a micro-grid provider to connect one household to their grid was around $1000 dollars,” Toby Gill, CEO of Intelligent Power Generation, told Oilprice earlier this year. “When you then consider the average customer is paying less than $1-2 per day for their electricity use, the payback period for these energy companies becomes untenable.”