Energy & Infrastructure Insight - Issue 2

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 9 of 23

Africa saw an 8.4% increase in installed renewable energy in 2018 to reach some 46 GW, tempered somewhat perhaps by the fact that in 2017, all new non-hydro power plant projects were fuelled by fuel oil, diesel or coal (1). The share of renewables in meeting global energy demand is expected to grow by one-fifth in the next five years to reach 12.4% in 2023. However, with Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding Nigeria, South Africa and Angola) expected to grow economically by 4% in 2019, rising to 4.8% in 2021 in line with forecasts, and given the continent's large and growing population, energy demand is expected to nearly double by 2040. IRENA has forecast (2) that Africa could meet nearly a quarter of its energy needs from indigenous and clean renewable energy by 2030 with renewables amounting to 310 GW, providing half the continent's total electricity generation capacity. This would amount to a sevenfold increase from the capacity available in 2017 (42 GW). However, Sub-Saharan Africa currently has the lowest energy access rates in the world, with less than half its population having access to electricity (falling to less than one-quarter in rural areas). This has a significantly negative impact on economic growth and sustainable development. Although access to electricity generated from renewable sources (historically hydropower but increasingly solar and wind) will continue to play a key part in increasing energy access, and technological advances in renewable energy will continue to expand options for increasing access to those not served or underserved by national grids, according to Africa50 however, Africa's energy future "necessarily" includes natural gas (3). The scale of the electrification challenge means that more than one source of fuel will be required to achieve the objective (4). 10 DOES AFRICA NEED GAS TO COMPLEMENT RENEWABLE ENERGY? IT'S WIDELY RECOGNIZED THAT THE ROLE OF RENEWABLES IN THE GLOBAL GENERATION MIX IS RISING, REFLECTING THEIR INCREASINGLY LOWER COSTS AND IMPROVED RELIABILITY, SUPPORTED BY CHANGING POLITICAL, SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS. THIS ARTICLE ASKS THE QUESTION WHETHER AFRICA NEEDS GAS TO COMPLEMENT ITS GROWING RENEWABLE ENERGY SECTOR? The continent is home to 7% of global reserves and Sub- Saharan Africa is estimated to have some 400 GW of gas- generated power potential. Gas resources have been identified in fourteen countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, with Nigeria accounting for 81% of proven reserves and several undeveloped fields in Mozambique and Tanzania accounting for 62% of total contingent resources. Despite these notable gas reserves, only 11 countries have the necessary gas-fired generation capacity installed, and although natural gas supplies nearly one-quarter of all power plants by fuel type, they are mostly located in coastal areas of countries with large proven reserves (5). PROVEN GAS RESERVES IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Almost all the Sub-Saharan African countries could potentially use natural gas for power generation, either by using domestic gas where they have significant gas reserves, by importing gas by pipeline or LNG import terminals, where appropriate, or by interconnection with neighbouring countries. However, gas consumption in the region is largely supplied by domestic production from within each country, LNG exports are sent outside the region (Angola and Equatorial Guinea largely exist to export LNG and only Nigeria has a relatively well-developed market which both consumes and also exports by both LNG and pipeline). Furthermore, there are no LNG imports within the region (although FLNG is a potential alternative) and pipeline trade within the region is limited.

Articles in this issue

view archives of Energy - Energy & Infrastructure Insight - Issue 2