African renewable-energy supply could surpass demand by 2030

Just 37% of people in Africa had access to electricity in 2014, with the vast majority living in rural areas. Demand is set to skyrocket, projected to triple 2010 consumptions levels by 2030 (an amount three times that of the U.K.).

Renewables make up just one percent of the energy on the continent. Falling costs of solar and wind have driven growth of renewable energy in a few countries yet half of African countries lack even basic estimates of their potential.

A new study maps the potential for expansion of wind and solar plants in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The results, explored in a post on Carbon Brief, are fairly astounding: given the quality and quantity of the resources and other markers of suitability, the potential supply of renewable energy could outstrip demand. By a factor of at least two.

One setback: the resources are unevenly distributed between and within countries. In order to meet 2030 demand, significant investment would be needed to extend transmission lines between neighboring countries.

This post originally appeared in ImpactAlpha's daily newsletter. Get The Brief.

Photo credit: Cleanenergyworld.net

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