Africa's energy futures

Part of the sustainability theme of the 2014-18 research programme

As one of the most likely regions of the world to suffer first and most from climate change, Africa has considerable long run incentives to see effective global mitigation policies enacted. However, concerns are frequently and legitimately voiced with respect to the implications of mitigation policies for African growth and development prospects.

The specific objective of this project is to contribute significantly to a knowledge base that provides substantial insight into the economics of renewable power systems on the African continent, the development advantages (if any) of a continent wide grid; and the optimal mix of power sources. This knowledge base also illustrates the development costs and benefits to the continent of shifting from fossil fuel based systems to renewable systems. In so doing, these analyses have the potential to help catalyze the formation of coalitions of countries necessary for undertaking these broad scale investments and inform credible requests for financing of low-carbon energy production.

Video: introduction and overview of African Energy Futures

Channing Arndt, in this interview, provides an introduction and overview into the project on 'African Energy Futures'. Africa is well endowed with sun, wind and hydropower – but these potential resources are unevenly distributed. This could, however, provide an impetus for big grids – in order to develop the resources and match supply and demand. One way is to expand the space over which solar and wind power are collected. A more promising approach is to combine renewables and hydropower.

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Main subject

Theme: Current, Sustainability