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Country Sector Sovereign / Non-Sovereign Title Commitment in UA Status Signature Date
Multinational Power Sovereign Multinational - Nigeria-Niger-Benin-Burkina Faso Power Interconnection Project 36,500,000 Implementation
Djibouti Power Sovereign Djibouti – Geothermal Exploration Project in the Lake Assal Region 10,740,000 Implementation
Multinational Power Sovereign Multinational - Projet d’interconnexion électrique Cameroun- Tchad (composante Tchad) 27,500,000 Implementation
Madagascar Power Sovereign Madagascar - Etude de faisabilité du projet de renforcement et d'interconnexion des réseaux de transport d'énergie électrique 1,000,000 Implementation
Multinational Power Sovereign Multinational - 225KV Guinea-Mali Electricity Interconnection Project 30,000,000 Implementation
Multinational Power Sovereign Multinational - 225KV Guinea-Mali Electricity Interconnection Project 30,000,000 Implementation
Mali Power Sovereign Mali - Mini Hydropower Plants and Related Distribution Networks Development Project (PDM-Hydro) 20,000,000 Implementation

BLOG

06 Sep 2022

Strengthening Electricity Interconnections in Africa to Drive Universal Energy Access

Tags
interconnection
Author
Africa-EU Energy-Partnership / Johan van den Berg
Strengthening Interconnections in Africa

Africa is under-served in terms of energy infrastructure. It is well known that many people are awaiting access to electricity and clean cooking. This is reflected in per capita energy use on the continent, which is extremely low relative to other continents. For comparison, data from the World Bank and the African Development Bank estimate the per capita consumption of energy in sub-Saharan Africa to just under 500 kWh, compared to 13,000 kWh per capita in the United States and 6,500 kWh in Europe.

Indeed, some fossil fuel assets exist that feed the electricity sector. In Sub-Saharan Africa at least, these assets overwhelmingly are reaching end of life. The African energy transition is primarily about installing the right kind of energy generation assets at the right speed and at affordable prices, through the right procurement and regulatory frameworks. This contrasts with the European challenge of replacing a completely sufficient but, from an emissions and climate perspective, unsustainable system with a sufficient yet clean one.  

What is common to both continents is the need to plan for the coupling of the electricity sector to transport, heating, cooling and energy needs in manufacturing. In this manner, the bulk of the economies will be driven with the cheapest, and also, cleanest electricity sources, which are likely to be solar PV and wind power. In the process, the potential of these sectors to contribute to both African and European economies is enhanced. There will be sectors that are hard to decarbonise like shipping, aviation, or on-site heat for steelmaking or fertiliser production. In many of these applications, renewable hydrogen is seen as a promising new technology with much room for learning. With electricity as a primary input, this again suggests an expansion of the solar PV and wind sectors on both continents and a global competitive advantage for Africa, given its rich wind and solar resource endowments and abundant land.

Given this background, it is clear why the energy component of the EU-Africa Global Gateway Investment Package, (insert hyperlink to first article if possible) chooses the focal areas of enhancing regional African electricity interconnections and supporting energy market integration.

Numerous studies, amongst them the annual ‘Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report’ shows that whilst it will be essential to pursue SDG 7 with a mix of on-grid and off-grid solutions, it is dramatically cheaper to do so on-grid from large scale wind and solar PV projects that are procured competitively. A recent policy brief by the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) on the potential of wind energy in Africa points out, that this can be 30 times cheaper than electricity from solar home systems and 15 times cheaper than mini-grid derived electricity.

The Global Gateway stipulates two electricity sector ambitions, namely:

  • additional renewable energy generation capacity of at least 300 GW​ by 2030; and
  • strengthening and expanding electricity interconnections and transmission lines.

These objectives dovetail perfectly with the African-led African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) that displays an identical goal for additional renewable energy and align with the clear benefit of electrifying as many people as possible on-grid. It further leverages existing work already supported by the EU on the Continental Power System Masterplan (CMP) and the Africa Single Electricity Market (AfSEM) that jointly aim to create an integrated electricity system between the African power pools. These financial resources coupled with bi-continental focus on integrated solutions are set to accelerate progress towards the achievement of SDG 7 in Africa and to facilitate broader sustainability.

Africa is under-served in terms of energy infrastructure. It is well known that many people are awaiting access to electricity and clean cooking. This is reflected in per capita energy use on the continent, which is extremely low relative to other continents. For comparison, data from the World Bank and the African Development Bank estimate the per capita consumption of energy in sub-Saharan Africa to just under 500 kWh, compared to 13,000 kWh per capita in the United States and 6,500 kWh in Europe.

Indeed, some fossil fuel assets exist that feed the electricity sector. In Sub-Saharan Africa at least, these assets overwhelmingly are reaching end of life. The African energy transition is primarily about installing the right kind of energy generation assets at the right speed and at affordable prices, through the right procurement and regulatory frameworks. This contrasts with the European challenge of replacing a completely sufficient but, from an emissions and climate perspective, unsustainable system with a sufficient yet clean one.  

What is common to both continents is the need to plan for the coupling of the electricity sector to transport, heating, cooling and energy needs in manufacturing. In this manner, the bulk of the economies will be driven with the cheapest, and also, cleanest electricity sources, which are likely to be solar PV and wind power. In the process, the potential of these sectors to contribute to both African and European economies is enhanced. There will be sectors that are hard to decarbonise like shipping, aviation, or on-site heat for steelmaking or fertiliser production. In many of these applications, renewable hydrogen is seen as a promising new technology with much room for learning. With electricity as a primary input, this again suggests an expansion of the solar PV and wind sectors on both continents and a global competitive advantage for Africa, given its rich wind and solar resource endowments and abundant land.

Given this background, it is clear why the energy component of the EU-Africa Global Gateway Investment Package, (insert hyperlink to first article if possible) chooses the focal areas of enhancing regional African electricity interconnections and supporting energy market integration.

Numerous studies, amongst them the annual ‘Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report’ shows that whilst it will be essential to pursue SDG 7 with a mix of on-grid and off-grid solutions, it is dramatically cheaper to do so on-grid from large scale wind and solar PV projects that are procured competitively. A recent policy brief by the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) on the potential of wind energy in Africa points out, that this can be 30 times cheaper than electricity from solar home systems and 15 times cheaper than mini-grid derived electricity.

The Global Gateway stipulates two electricity sector ambitions, namely:

  • additional renewable energy generation capacity of at least 300 GW​ by 2030; and
  • strengthening and expanding electricity interconnections and transmission lines.

These objectives dovetail perfectly with the African-led African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) that displays an identical goal for additional renewable energy and align with the clear benefit of electrifying as many people as possible on-grid. It further leverages existing work already supported by the EU on the Continental Power System Masterplan (CMP) and the Africa Single Electricity Market (AfSEM) that jointly aim to create an integrated electricity system between the African power pools. These financial resources coupled with bi-continental focus on integrated solutions are set to accelerate progress towards the achievement of SDG 7 in Africa and to facilitate broader sustainability.

 

This blog is authored by the Africa-EU Energy-Partnership / Johan van den Berg, Head of Secretariat. This is the second article of a three-part series.

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