Unlocking Africa’s energy potential: Role of renewables, technology, and investment

Africa needs to tap into a range of energy sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, and gas as millions of Africans lack access to electricity, with some 900 million having no access to clean cooking fuels and technologies, according to experts at the recently concluded high-level global energy event, the Strategic conference at Middle East Energy (MEE) 2023, a leading international trade event for the power industry based in Dubai.

However, the benefits Africa will derive from the energy transition will depend on the extent to which raw material producers invest in, and develop, processing capacity further up the value chain.

Investment in technology and the use of big data to determine policy are key to the energy transition process.

Moreover, building infrastructure for the green energy transition will require a significant scale-up in investment. IEA estimates in 2018 show at least $55 billion is needed annually to achieve universal access in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Affordable and reliable energy for all Africans remains an absolute priority for all Africans in the next five years.”

At present, 600 million people, which is about 43 percent of the total population, lack access to electricity, most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa.” said Ade Yesufu, the Exhibition Director of Nigeria Energy Exhibition and Conference

Mr Yesufu added that countries such as Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda are on track for full access by 2030, offering success stories other countries can follow.

“In rural areas, where over 80 percent of the population is electricity-deprived live, mini-grids and stand-alone systems, mostly solar-based, are the most viable solutions…” Mr Yesufu said.

Experts noted that there is a strong potential for renewable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa in the energy transition process.

The major challenge remains limited access to electricity and a high-carbon energy mix.

The share of renewable energies in the energy mix remains low, at around 30 percent.

The theme of this year’s edition was “Guiding the region through the energy transition” which focused on energy transition.

According to the organisers, this theme guided the entire planning process for the exhibition, which has now seen a 20 percent growth in the dedicated renewable energy zone.

For instance, country pavilions featured state-of-the-art renewable energy products and solutions, especially solar, and other renewable sources.

Experts argue that digitalisation and technologies are key to leapfrogging Africa into a future of universal electrification where energy demands are met.

“This is why the Strategic conference dedicated a whole day to reviewing how the power and utilities sector is harnessing the fourth industrial revolution to enable the energy transition…”

The annual event is a unique platform for energy leaders to explore the latest technological advancements in the energy sector whilst participating in relevant discourse with other leaders.

At this year’s edition held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, United Arab Emirates, participants covered a broad spectrum of energy sub-sectors, including the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity and energy consumption.

This is in addition to management, renewable & clean energy, critical and backup power, and smart solutions.

The event was attended by a record-high global audience of over 20,000 visitors, including everyone who matters across the global energy sector, including energy ministers, utility decision makers, and even innovative start-up leaders to participate in conversations around global energy transition, renewable hybrid solutions, and the advancement of the global energy industry.

For more information about Middle East Energy, please visit the website: https://www.middleeast-energy.com/

Conversations on enabling the development of Nigeria’s energy sector will continue at the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Nigeria Energy Exhibition and Conference. Scheduled from September 19 – 21, 2023 at Landmark Center, Lagos, the event will bring together contractors, developers, investors, project owners, and utilities to network and develop reliable power solutions for Nigeria’s peak energy demand and pave the way for decentralisation. Visit www.nigeria-energy.com for more information.

Source; The East Africa

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