Developing Green Energy Solutions for Africa at March event in Cape Town
The 15th Africa Energy Indaba will focus on the continent's reliable, affordable, sustainable energy supply for the next 25 years.
Most economies worldwide are facing an ever-deepening energy crisis. Recent global supply chain disruptions and geopolitical turmoil continue to drive up fuel costs, affecting every sector of society.
This crisis is more devastating in Africa, where energy poverty has been a stumbling block to economic growth and development for decades.
According to research conducted by the World Bank in 2021, nearly 800 million people live without access to electricity, with approximately 600 million of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. The financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic deepened this crisis, making essential electricity services unaffordable for 30 million more people, the majority in Africa.
The deepening energy crisis in Africa is the most crucial challenge to overcome if the continent hopes to realise its potential as an economic force in world markets over the next 25 years.
Every sector of society feels the destabilising effect of unreliable and unaffordable energy supply, from the government to business, down to the household level.
In South Africa, the deepening energy crisis and persistent load shedding have cost the economy between 8% and 10% in potential growth over the past few years, translating into more than R360 billion in lost GDP and about one million lost job opportunities, according to leading economists.
The urgency with which Africa needs to address the energy crisis is beyond dispute. However, the continent does not simply need more power but must also consider the demands of the global energy transition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
While many highly industrialised countries grapple with the need to re-invent the fossil-fuel-hungry infrastructures that have propped up their development over the past century, Africa is in a unique position to take the lead in industrialising using renewable energy sources from the ground up.
According to statistics provided by the African Development Bank, Africa’s untapped renewable energy potential is estimated at 350 gigawatts (GW) for hydroelectric energy, 110 GW for wind energy, 15 GW for geothermal energy, and 1,000 GW for solar.
In addition, green hydrogen as a renewable energy source is a game-changer in the global energy transition. Africa is an ideal market to develop and export power from green hydrogen, forever changing the co-dependent relationship the continent currently has with expensive fossil-fuel exporting economies.
If this enormous reserve of renewables is exploited, its effect could potentially alter the economies of many African countries, making it a key priority of sustainable development.
The 15th Africa Energy Indaba, Cape Town, South Africa, holding from 7-9 March 2023, will take up this mandate.
The three-day conference and exhibition will provide a platform for government leaders, policymakers, business leaders, and entrepreneurs from the power sector to discuss, debate, and seek solutions to enable energy generation and distribution across Africa.
A diverse group of high-profile speakers will share their real-world insights about the changing energy landscape in Africa.
Panel discussions and plenary sessions will seek to address what is necessary to meet the growing need for energy access on the continent. Experts will explore the latest developments in renewable energy sources, green energy projects, and on and off-grid energy technology currently under development on the continent and abroad.
They will also analyse the policy, infrastructure, and skills development needed to realise an abundance of reliable, safe, and environmentally sustainable energy on the continent in the next 25 years.
Top Photo: Power lines in Plattekloof, Cape Town (Asanda Kwakweni | Dreamstime)