The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has released two publications, titled ‘Southern African Power Pool: Planning and Prospects for Renewable Energy’ and ‘West African Power Pool: Planning and Prospects for Renewable Energy,’ which examine various scenarios for the development of renewable energy in Africa and, for Southern Africa, calculate the gains in CO2 emissions.
The report on Southern Africa finds that a scenario in which the potential of renewable energy technologies is fully utilized through investment cost reduction will result in 40 million tons (Mt) of CO2 less emitted by 2030 than in the same scenario that excludes carbon finance, which would result in a longer reliance on coal. Furthermore, a similar scenario that excludes the Grand Inga hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) shows that by 2050 there would be a gain of 200 Mt of CO2 emissions compared to a ‘no carbon finance’-scenario, and a gain of 250 Mt compared to a scenario that assumes no further reduction in investment cost of renewable energy technologies.
The reports also show that, in Southern Africa, the share of renewable energy technologies in electricity production could increase from 10% today to 46% in 2030, while for West Africa this share could increase from the current 22% to 52% in 2030. In Southern Africa this would entail that 20% of decentralized capacity could come from renewable sources and nearly 80% of the expected capacity additions between 2010 and 2030 could be provided by renewable energy technologies. For Western Africa, nearly half of these capacity additions could be from renewable technologies.
The modeling tools used in the reports have been developed by IRENA and tested in cooperation with the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).