By Engr. O’tobi Oyetimein mNRCS (tweet:@TitoTobyPhoenix)
Fast Facts on the African Power Problem
1. Africa will need to add around 250 GW of capacity by 2030 to meet demand growth.
2. Solar has by far the largest renewable resource potential in Africa, with high-quality solar resources available everywhere.
3. Nearly 600 million people in Africa lack access to electricity.
4. Electricity blackouts and reliance on expensive diesel power generation costs some African economies between 1% and 5% of GDP annually.
5. Nigeria has Africa’s highest population at about 160 million, over 60% (96 million), of these have less than 12 hours of electricity per day.
6. Electricity blackouts and reliance on expensive diesel power generators costs the Nigerian economy over 30% of GDP annually. If Nigerians can get 1 extra hour of electricity per day, the GDP will increase by approximately 9%.
7. If all Nigerians alone can have access to constant electricity, the African power problem is approximately 20% solved.
8. Average per capita electricity consumption in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa): 153 kWh/year (one-fourth of the consumption in India and just 6% of the global average.)
9. Current installed capacity: 147 GW (a level comparable to the capacity China installs in a year).
According to IRENA estimates, ‘‘Africa is endowed with vast untapped renewable energy resources that can provide affordable electricity for all. Solar has by far the largest renewable resource potential in Africa, with high-quality solar resources available almost everywhere. Africa’s onshore wind resources (alone) are in the order of 1750 GW, far more than total African demand for the foreseeable future’’. Africa needs to add just around 250 GW of capacity (less than 17.5% of her onshore wind resources alone) by 2030 to meet demand growth. This suggests that power generation could increase to 50% in 2030 and to 73% in 2050 if the right policies are in place and implemented. It also means renewable energy could be the path for least-cost development, particularly for bringing electricity access to millions of Africans currently lacking access to the grid. Although hydropower has dominated renewable power investment across the continent, it only generates 10% to 20% of the total economically feasible potential. Solar has by far the largest renewable resource potential in Africa. The continent can benefit from the recent global progress and cost reductions in renewable power generation technologies, to leapfrog the development path taken by industrialized countries and move directly to a renewable-based system.
IRENA International Renewable Energy Agency.