Africa is taking steps to combat climate change.
The continent is already home to the largest population of carbon-emitting plants and, despite being far from the epicentre of global warming, has already begun to use renewable energy to generate power.
The countries that are using renewable energy for power generation are Africa, Europe and Latin America.
Africa’s renewable energy strategy has a huge potential to help the continent fight climate disruption and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.
Africa is also the region with the largest carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector.
But its renewable energy sector is also growing fast.
“There is no doubt that renewable energy is a significant component of Africa’s future energy mix,” says Timo Kortemeyer, the Director of the Energy Efficiency Program at the African Development Bank (ADB).
Africa’s electricity demand grew from 16.3 GW in 2005 to 31.6 GW in 2015.
It is forecast to grow to 40.7 GW by 2030.
“That’s quite significant,” says Kortmeyer.
“It’s also one of the fastest growing renewables sectors in Africa, which has led to the rapid expansion of the continent’s electricity sector.”
The growth in the renewable energy market has been fueled by two factors.
The first is the development of renewable energy generation capacity.
The second is the expansion of power generation and distribution infrastructure.
“Africa’s energy sector has been relatively quiet for a number of years,” says Dr Michael Bamber, director of the energy efficiency program at the ADB.
“The continent is now seeing an unprecedented growth in renewable energy capacity.”
But what is driving the rapid growth of renewable electricity in Africa is the rapid development of distributed generation and storage infrastructure.
Africa has seen a dramatic shift from fossil fuels to renewables.
In 2010, renewable energy was only one-third of Africa ‘s energy mix.
Now, it accounts for almost a quarter of the countrys total energy mix, and in 2015, it was one-fifth of Africas total capacity.
“By 2020, renewable generation capacity will have tripled in Africa,” says Bamber.
“And by 2030, it will be a third of Africa s total energy supply.”
“In many countries, renewables are used as a cost-effective way to reduce energy costs and help tackle climate change,” says Mr Kortemeier.
In Nigeria, for example, a wind farm can provide power for 10,000 homes with the price of electricity.
“In fact, if you have a wind turbine, you can turn the whole power supply off at night, without having to pay for electricity at the pump,” says Mark Witte, a professor at the University of Western Australia who studies the impact of renewable energies on the economy.
“Renewables provide a huge benefit to our economy,” says Witte.
Renewables are now also being used to generate electricity at a time when the cost of renewables has risen sharply.
“As a result of this, we are seeing significant increases in the cost and cost-effectiveness of renewables,” says David Jablonski, Chief Executive of Renewable Energy Australia.
“We’re seeing a shift from the old-style, fossil-based energy industry that relied on fossil fuel power plants, and to more efficient renewable energy, and more of the costs are being shared between the consumers and the generators.”
Renewables, however, are also being targeted at other industries that rely on fossil energy for their operations.
For example, in Kenya, a recent wind farm was being built by an Italian company called Energia Power.
“A lot of people in Kenya want to get off fossil fuels and build renewable energy plants,” says Jablonkski.
“But this project is also about creating jobs and creating jobs, so we’re very proud of it.”
In Kenya, renewable power is now being used for a range of services.
For instance, it has been used to provide heat and light for schools, as well as to heat water in hospitals.
“Solar energy is becoming increasingly important to many households and businesses,” says Michael Bauza, an analyst with energy and resources consultancy ConvergEx.
“Wind power is not only useful for cooling buildings but also for generating electricity for hospitals and other facilities.”
In Nigeria alone, there are more than 700,000 solar-power plants.
They generate electricity when there is solar radiation in the sun, which is then transmitted to a customer, often via a satellite link.
“When you look at the numbers, Nigeria is now generating over one billion megawatt hours of renewable power a year,” says Rizwan Akhtar, director at the Nigerian Renewable Resources Agency (NREA).
“That is the equivalent of taking 500,000 cars off the road.”
But, as a result, it is not clear whether renewable energy will be used as the dominant source of power in Nigeria in the near future.
“Although renewable energy can be a very efficient way to increase power generation, it does not have the same impact as