Energy

Energy (263)

IRENA, IHA Forge Partnership To Advance Sustainable Hydropower

In recognition of their shared objectives to increase the uptake of renewable energy, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Hydropower Association (IHA) have signed a formal partnership agreement. 

Hydropower is the world's largest source of renewable energy, contributing over half of global renewable energy installed capacity, and directly employing around two million people. 

The agreement sets out IRENA's and IHA's joint ambition to accelerate the development, financing and deployment of sustainable hydropower. This will involve future policy and market initiatives aimed at better rewarding hydropower for the clean storage and flexibility services it provides to the energy system. Cooperation will facilitate public-private dialogue, strengthen international cooperation and promote sustainable hydropower through the development and dissemination of knowledge.

Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, said: "IRENA's Global Renewables Outlook estimates that an additional 850 GW of hydropower is required by 2050 for the world to stay on a climate-safe track in line with the Paris Agreement. There is therefore an urgent need to boost sustainable hydropower."

"The Covid-19 crisis has shown beyond doubt the unique flexibility and resilience provided by hydropower compared with other energy sources", he added. "IRENA has always considered hydropower an essential and central element of the renewables power mix."

Recognising the important role of hydropower in the clean energy transition, IRENA's recently published Post-COVID Recovery Agenda  recommends a 150 per cent increase in sustainable hydropower investments from USD 22 billion to USD 55 billion per year to 2030 to support the recovery and accelerate the energy transition.

Eddie Rich, Chief Executive of IHA, said: "IRENA is the leading agency for the global advancement of renewable energy. We are delighted that it has recognised the essential role that sustainable hydropower will play to meet the climate change commitments set out in the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7." 

"While hydropower will continue to play an essential role in global electricity, hydropower's flexibility and storage capabilities are also important to complement variable renewables such as wind and solar. Hydropower acts as an enabler of higher shares of variable renewable energy in future energy systems," he said.

Partnership activities will be focused on the development and sharing of knowledge, data and best practices. In addition, as part of the agreement, IRENA will join and play a leading role in IHA's new International Forum on Pumped Storage Hydropower. Created in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, the forum is a government-led multi-stakeholder platform that aims to shape and enhance the role of pumped storage hydropower in future power systems. Pumped storage hydropower is a low-cost and mature, long-duration energy storage technology that represents over 90 per cent of the world's grid-scale energy storage.

The partnership builds on another recent initiative by IRENA, the Collaborative Framework on Hydropower, supported by IHA, which aims to promote dialogue, co-operation and coordinated action among IRENA's 161 member states. IHA is supporting the framework by leveraging knowledge and experience from initiatives such as:
  • XFLEX HYDRO, an EU-funded initiative to demonstrate how innovative, flexible hydropower technologies can help countries meet their carbon reduction targets and support variable renewables.
  • The Hydropower Sustainability Tools, a set of guidelines and assessment tools used by leading developers and operators to design and develop sustainable hydropower projects.. 
  • IHA's Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience Guide, which offers a methodology for identifying, assessing and managing climate risks to enhance hydropower's resilience.

Energy Transformation In Southern Africa Boosted By New IRENA Agreement With SACREEE

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to work together on accelerating the deployment renewable energy solutions, including decentralised technologies, in Southern African countries.

The two organisations will also cooperate on policy development, capacity building programmes and regional events aimed at attracting investments to the region. 

Southern Africa has seen remarkable improvement in electricity access over the past decade. This is largely due to a strong commitment from SADC member states to take advantage of the region's vast renewable energy potential to improve energy security and meet rising energy demand. As a result, the total share of renewables in power generation rose from 23 per cent in 2015 to almost 39 per cent in 2018. However, despite significant progress, electricity access remains a challenge. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has re-emphasised the importance of a reliable, affordable, clean energy," said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera. "It has served as a stark reminder that the new energy age must be inclusive, just and low-carbon if we are to achieve sustainable development in Southern Africa and around the world.

Africa can seize the moment for meaningful change, and dramatically improve socioeconomic outcomes by moving decisively towards the energy transformation. This agreement will bolster regional progress," concluded Mr. La Camera. 

By building capacity in the SADC region, IRENA and SACREEE aim to accelerate renewable energy deployment and achieve universal energy access by creating environments more conducive to renewable energy investments. The two organisations will conduct joint activities under the Africa Clean Energy Corridor (ACEC) in the areas of renewable energy resource assessment, long-term planning, as well as investments, policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks. Implementation of activities under ACEC provides a comprehensive opportunity to avoid greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the objectives of Paris Agreement. 

"SACREEE has implemented several joint programmatic activities with IRENA through the African Clean Energy Corridor initiative and the SADC Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship Support Facility since 2017," said SACREEE Executive Director, Kudakwashe Ndhlukula.

"The renewal of this MoU will expand and strengthen our collaboration in areas of mutual interest and given mandates.  We therefore appreciate the continued partnership and support from IRENA towards the fulfilment of our mandate towards an energy secure and resilient society  through clean, affordable and sustainable energy solutions," concluded Mr. Ndhlukula. 

IRENA and SACREEE will also work together to accelerate renewable energy investments through the implementation of the "Southern African Investment Forum" that will facilitate access to sustainable finance in the region. The forum is part of IRENA's contribution to the Climate Investment Platform (CIP), designed to advance sustainable energy projects to investment maturity and facilitate their access to finance. Key forum activities include matchmaking between projects, project developers, and potential financiers and investors. 

IRENA and SACREEE also renewed their commitment to support entrepreneurship in the region. The two organisations previously partnered on establishing the SADC Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship Support Facility. The objective of the Facility was to enhance and strengthen the capacity of small to medium entrepreneurs in assessing the business potentials of sustainable energy, develop viable business plans and loan requests, and managing their businesses successfully.

Siemens Gamesa Seals Its First Wind Farm Project In Ethiopia

Siemens Gamesa has signed its first wind power project in Ethiopia with state-owned electricity company Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP), strengthening its leadership in Africa as the country begins to expand its green energy capacity to meet ambitious renewable targets.

The 100 MW Assela wind farm will be located between the towns of Adama and Assela, approximately 150 km south of the capital, Addis Ababa, and will contribute to clean and affordable power for the country’s electricity grid.

The country has set an ambitious target to supply 100% of its domestic energy demand through renewable energy by 2030. According to the African Development Bank, Ethiopia has abundant resources, particularly wind with a potential 10 GW of installation capacity and having installed 324 MW at present.  

“Siemens Gamesa is intent on expanding its leadership across Africa, and in turn help a growing transition to green energy across the continent. So, we are extremely pleased to begin work in Ethiopia and look forward to collaborating with both EEP and the country to continue to promote their drive to install more renewables and meet transformational energy targets,” said Roberto Sabalza, CEO for Onshore Southern Europe and Africa at Siemens Gamesa.  

According to a Wood Mackenzie forecast, around 2 GW of wind power would be installed in Ethiopia by 2029.

The wind farm will be made up of 29 SG 3.4-132 wind turbines and is expected to be commissioned by the start of 2023. The project will generate about 300,000 MWh per year. Siemens Gamesa will provide full engineering, procurement, and turnkey construction.

The Assela wind project will be financed by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs via Danida Business Finance (DBF) adding to a loan agreement signed between the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC) and Danske Bank A/S.

Ethiopia has many renewable resources covering wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, and the country aspires to be a power hub and the battery for the Horn of Africa. The country’s National Electrification Program, launched in 2017, outlines a plan to reach universal access by 2025 with the help of off-grid solutions for 35% of the population.

Siemens Gamesa is among the global leaders in the wind power industry, with a strong presence in all facets of the renewable energy business: offshore, onshore, and services. With more than 107 GW installed worldwide; Siemens Gamesa is an ideal partner for Ethiopia at this critical juncture in the East African nation’s accelerating energy journey.

IRENA, AfDBPartner To Scale Up Renewables Investments In Africa

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and the African Development Bank (AfDB), have agreed to work closely together to advance the continent's energy transition through joint initiatives that support investments in low-carbon energy projects.

Under the Declaration of Intent, the two entities confirmed their wish to collaborate on supporting the continent's energy transition under a framework of core activities. These include co-organising renewable energy investment forums as part of IRENA's contribution to the Climate Investment Platform, and collaboration on the Bank's annual Africa Investment Forum. Furthermore, strong emphasis will be placed on concrete support for enhancing the role of renewable energy in Nationally Determined Contributions and sustainable development objectives.

The joint declaration was signed by Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, and Kevin Kanina Kariuki, Vice-President, Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth at the African Development Bank.

Mr. Kariuki said: "Driven by the aspiration to harness Africa's huge renewable energy potential, the African Development Bank is today at the forefront of investing in renewable energy in Africa. The Bank's partnership with IRENA will advance this aspiration and support Africa's energy transition and our goal to achieve universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy in Africa by 2030."

IRENA's Global Renewables Outlook report, released earlier this year, revealed that sub-Saharan Africa could generate 67 per cent of its power from indigenous and clean renewable energy sources by 2030. Further analysis shows that the energy transition would boost GDP, improve welfare and stimulate up to 2 million additional green jobs in sub-Saharan Africa by 2050.

Mr. La Camera said: "The African continent has some of the most abundant renewable energy resources in the world and the potential to transform outcomes for millions of people through the accelerated deployment of a renewables-based energy system. Renewables will increase energy security, create green jobs, advance energy access, including clean cooking, and help build resilient African economies.

"This agreement represents the type of coordinated international cooperation that is the cornerstone of the realisation of sustainable development in Africa and the achievement of Paris Agreement goals," he continued. "We will pursue an action-oriented agenda that puts African countries on a path to realising their full renewable energy potential."

The declaration also provides for collaboration on the African Development Bank's Desert to Power Initiative, which aims to mobilise public and private funding to install 10 GW of solar power by 2025 in 11 countries in the Sahel region of the African continent.

The two institutions will also engage in capacity building and knowledge exchange activities to reinforce joint efforts and cooperate on developing regional and national renewable energy case studies.

Call To Accelerate Deployment Of Renewables & Gas Power To Drive Faster Decarbonization Made

Building on its commitment to carbon neutrality in its operations by 2030 and announced intention to exit the new-build coal power market, GE has shared its position that the accelerated and strategic deployment of both renewable energy and gas power can make substantial progress in combatting climate change in the near-term while securing a path to a lower-carbon emitting world in the future.

In a newly published paper expanding on its decades-long commitment to decarbonization titled "Accelerated Growth of Renewables and Gas Power Can Rapidly Change the Trajectory on Climate Change," GE said neither power source will be sufficient alone; however, deployed in tandem, they can provide decarbonization at the pace and scale needed to help achieve substantial climate goals.

In addition, the paper outlines multiple technical pathways for gas power to achieve a lower-carbon generating footprint through the use of low and zero-carbon fuels—including hydrogen—as well as carbon capture utilization and sequestration (CCUS) technologies. 

"Addressing climate change is an urgent global priority and one that we think we can do a better job of accelerating progress on—starting now—not decades from now," said Scott Strazik, CEO of GE Gas Power. "We believe there are critical and meaningful roles for both gas power and renewable sources of energy to play, advancing global progress faster today with coal-to-gas switching while continuing to develop multiple pathways for low-to-zero carbon gas technologies in the future."

To help meet urgent climate goals while at the same time increasing power demand across the globe, the report details the merits of gas-fired generation as a complement to support and accelerate renewable energy penetration:

  • Gas is reliable, inexpensive, and doesn't require a lot of land; the ideal complement to renewable energy.
  • While renewable power is variable, gas power is dispatchable, dependable and flexible, available as much as 90% of the time.
  • The near-term impact of coal-to-gas switching represents a fast and effective win for emissions reduction in many regions around the world. For example, since 2007, power sector CO2 emissions in the United States have dropped by about one third while total electricity generation has remained fairly constant. The CO2 emissions reduction attributed to coal-to-gas switching was greater than that from any other fuel source.

The position paper released today provides technology and market overviews of several sources of power generation including renewables, gas, coal and nuclear as well as technology breakthroughs needed to make battery storage more cost-competitive.

"With more than 125 years of experience across the electricity industry, GE is well-positioned alongside our customers to continue to lead the way and drive the future of energy," said Vic Abate, GE Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer and former CEO of both GE's Gas Power and Renewables businesses. "We're prioritizing investment in technologies to cost-effectively scale renewables and to move toward net zero gas power with advances in hydrogen and carbon capture technologies. Together, the combination of renewables and gas can help lead an energy transition that enables us to achieve greater carbon emissions reductions faster compared to renewables alone."

GE Renewable Energy is continuing to invest in technology innovations that are driving down the cost of renewable energy, a key driver of the industry's continued growth as noted in the whitepaper. The company recently announced that its Haliade-X offshore wind turbine, the most powerful turbine in operation today, will be uprated to 13 MW as part of the first two phases of the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm in the UK.

GE's gas turbine portfolio is built on an 80-year gas turbine technology heritage that is unparalleled in the power generation industry and GE's HA gas turbine—the world's most efficient gas turbine and fastest-growing fleet—has established several industry-firsts and secured two world records. GE also offers the industry's most experienced gas turbine fleet in hydrogen and similar low-BTU fuel operations, with more than six million operating hours in decades of use across more than 75 gas turbines. GE continues to invest in research and development into hydrogen and carbon capture technologies in close partnership with GE's Global Research Center—to help further advance a low or near-zero carbon footprint for gas power.

GE's Gas Power business has also signed several major customer strategic decarbonization programs including agreements with Uniper and the Long Ridge Energy Center in 2020. GE is pursuing multiple decarbonization pilot projects with customers throughout 2021 and 2022 for both hydrogen-fueled projects and carbon capture and sequestration technologies. Finally, GE Gas Power today announced it has joined the Carbon Capture Coalition, a nonpartisan collaboration of more than 80 businesses and organizations building federal policy support for economy-wide deployment of carbon capture, transport, use, removal and storage.

AfDB Approves $7m To Transform Mini-Grid Energy Investment In Africa

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank have approved a $7 million grant from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), for technical assistance in setting up a mini-grid acceleration initiative to meet the needs of the continent's fast-evolving renewable mini-grid industry.

The Africa Mini-Grid Market Acceleration Programme (AMAP), which aims to boost energy access in remote regions and enhance climate resilience throughout Africa, will include three core components: the implementation of a new and standardised framework for national-scale Mini-Grid Acceleration Programmes (MAPs) in four countries; the design and enhancement of financial de-risking solutions; and support for knowledge, innovation, and skills development activities, including the continuation of the Bank's Green Mini-Grid Help Desk website.

"Mini-grids are an integral and increasingly important feature of the energy access solution, not just in terms of providing lights to households, but also in ensuring that underserved populations have access to productive uses of energy to power inclusive and green economic growth. AMAP underscores the African Development Bank's commitment to strengthening Africa's mini-grids industry, which we see as a key driver for accelerated energy access, climate resilience, and a green post COVID-19 recovery," said Dr. Kevin Kariuki, the Bank's Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.

By leveraging the Bank's established leadership and years of experience in building the African mini-grid industry, AMAP's overarching aim is to transform the scale of public and private investments in renewable energy mini-grids throughout Africa, including such initiatives as the Green Mini-Grid Market Development Programme, the Nigeria National Electrification Project, and the DRC Green Mini-Grid Programme.

AMAP's initial phase in four countries is expected to lead to 880,000 new electricity access connections providing modern energy access to over 4 million people, over 80 MW of renewable energy-based generation; the creation of 7,200 full-time jobs, of which 1,800 are anticipated to be held by women, reductions of over 6.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2eq) in lifetime greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the facilitation of an estimated $650 million of public and private investments in mini-grids.

AMAP is strongly aligned to the ambitions of the Bank's New Deal on Energy for Africa as well as the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Aaron Leopold, CEO of the Africa Minigrid Developers Association, said, "Mini-grids are a fundamental but under-supported element of Africa's energy future. To achieve SDG 7 (target on energy), the sector must be radically scaled up, and to do this, a holistic and broad-spectrum support programme informed by industry needs is required to bring governments, investors, and of course the mini-grid sector the kind of support that can facilitate fast and efficient progress. For these reasons, AMDA is excited to see AfDB working to bring mini-grid investments in Africa to the next level."

Africa Medium Scale Independent Power Producers Get $25m Funding

The African Development Bank's Board of Directors on Monday 14 December 2020 approved $15 million from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa [SEFA] and $10 million from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) to advance African Renewable Energy Fund (AREF) II's projects to boost low-carbon energy generation in sub-Saharan Africa.

SEFA's contribution will comprise a package of $10 million in equity and a $5 million reimbursable grant. CTF, part of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), will provide $10 million in equity. The combined contribution of $20 million from SEFA and CTF will go to capitalize AREF II's catalytic tranche. The reimbursable grant is earmarked for AREF II's project support facility. The CTF contribution was approved by the CTF Trust Fund Committee on July 2020 under its Dedicated Private Sector Program (DPSP III).

The financing will help small and medium-sized producers to add more than 800 MW of hydropower, solar and wind power and battery storage in countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

"We are very excited to support AREF II at a time when, due to competing financing needs, on account of the cost impacts of the pandemic and for post COVID-19 recovery efforts, there is real risk of under-investment in the African power sector, including in renewables," said Dr. Kevin Kariuki, the Bank's Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth. The Bank manages SEFA, a Special Fund, and is also a CTF implementing entity.

Capitalizing the fund's catalytic tranche is expected to attract critical private investment at a time of investment uncertainty and economic disruption owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure capital flows to support the delivery of sustainable power infrastructure to meet the region's growing energy needs. AREF II Project Support Facility will work to bring projects to the required level of readiness and bankability.

AREF II, the second generation of the pan-African Renewable Energy Fund, is targeting a $300 million market capitalization, and will be managed by Berkeley Energy, a well-established fund manager with extensive experience investing in renewable energy projects in Asian and African markets.

"We are proud to be able to continue our company's mission of bringing reliable renewable power to countries and communities in Africa to support economic and social development, whilst also meeting the needs of our investors", said TC Kundi, Berkeley Energy's CEO. "The Berkeley Energy team is looking forward to working again with SEFA which has played an important role in launching AREF II," he concluded.

SEFA provides catalytic finance for renewable energy to contribute to universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy services for all in Africa, in line with the Bank's New Deal on Energy for Africa and Sustainable Development Goal 7. Established in 2011 in partnership with the Government of Denmark (https://bit.ly/34nFdyA), SEFA counts the United States (https://bit.ly/2KArn4S), United Kingdom (https://bit.ly/3nx2aa7), Italy (https://bit.ly/3mwFCVx), Norway (https://bit.ly/2WsI44O), Spain (https://bit.ly/3aqq3fM), Sweden (https://bit.ly/3nBjBq2), Germany, and the Nordic Development Fund (https://bit.ly/2WrSTnB) among its donors.

The CTF is a $5.4 billion global fund that promotes scaled-up financing for demonstration, deployment and transfer of low-carbon technologies with significant potential for long-term greenhouse gas emissions savings. Since 2010, when the Bank became an Implementing Entity of the CTF in 2010, it has approved over $588 million in CTF resources for a total of 10 projects across Africa.

"We welcome the participation of CTF in this project. These concessional resources will be instrumental to maximize the participation of private investors in the Fund while minimizing concessionality, with the aim to support low-carbon and climate-resilient development in Africa," said Prof. Anthony Nyong, Director of Climate Change and Green Growth at the Bank.

Projection: Africa's Power Demand To Keep Rising Between 4-5% Per Year

Total electricity generation in Africa stood at 870 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2019, an increase of 2.9 percent from 846 TWh in 2018. Africa's electricity generation capacity has grown at an average of 4.8 percent per annum since 2008, compared to 2.7 percent globally. Nonetheless, Africa's share of global electricity generation has been around 3 percent since 2000.

The African Energy Chamber forecasts that 2021 generation is likely to range between 870-900 TWh if demand picks up aggressively throughout the year following the gradual removal of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and economies opening more fully to international trade.

Our base case forecast using a conservative 4.5 percent yearly growth (current stated policies) shows that electricity generation on the continent will increase by 25 percent, 55 percent and 141 percent of 2020 baseline levels to reach 1,057, 1,138 and 2,047 TWh by 2025, 2035 and 2040 respectively. This increases to 1,520 in 2030 and 2,700 TWh in 2040 in a more aggressive push to expand capacity at 6 percent per annum.

The latter assessment is premised on Africa aggressively pushing to expand electricity supply and modern energy services within the framework of the Africa Agenda 2063 on energy and infrastructure development. This will ensure that generation expansion will outpace population growth on the continent (Africa will have 1.8 and 2.45 billion people by 2040 and 2050).

Regarding the supply mix, natural gas (39 percent) constitutes the largest element in Africa's electricity generation mix, followed by coal (29 percent), hydro (15 percent) and oil (10 percent).

While nuclear energy accounted for another 2 percent, the share of renewables (RE) in Africa's generation mix is growing, albeit at a lower pace than in other regions (5 percent). Most of the RE growth comes from solar, wind and geothermal power plants, and this expected to continue into 2030. Africa generated 830 megawatts (MW), 5,748 MW and 7,236 MW of geothermal, wind and solar installed capacity in 2019, signifying growth rates of 17.4 percent, 26.1 percent and 60.2 percent respectively since 2010.

Nonetheless, most of these RE developments on the continent are limited primarily to Northern (Morocco, Egypt) and South-Eastern Africa (South Africa, Kenya). Given the declining costs of key RE technologies along with rising concerns over CO2 emissions, the level of renewables deployment, particularly solar and wind energy is expected to increase by 1.5 percent annually over the next decade to 2030.

Regarding sectoral electricity consumption, the industrial sector remains the continent's largest user (41 percent) followed by residential (33 percent), commercial and public services (18 percent) and agriculture (4 percent). Transport consumes a small proportion (approximately 1 percent) while the remaining 3 percent was accounted for by other sectors.

At a sub-regional level, North Africa and South Africa account for more than 70 percent of Africa's electricity demand.

This is an excerpt taken from the Africa Energy Outlook 2021. Get your free copy today on www.EnergyChamber.org. Engage with us on our social media using #ChamberNews #ChamberEnergy Outlook.

Uganda Tops African Countries With Well-Developed Electricity Regulatory Frameworks

Uganda has for the third time in a row emerged as the top performer in this year's Electricity Regulatory Index Report published by the African Development Bank.

The East African country, along with Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Kenya, the other top performers, have regulators with the authority to exert the necessary oversight on the sector. However, the overall electricity regulatory frameworks of African countries is poorly developed, and most countries experience major regulatory weaknesses.

The ERI, a flagship report of the African Development Bank, is a composite index which measures the level of development of electricity sector regulatory frameworks in African countries against international standards and best practice.

"The African Development Bank has been at the forefront of efforts to mainstream electricity sector regulation issues in Africa within the broader sector discourse, recognizing the importance of establishing robust legal and regulatory frameworks to support the financial sustainability of the sector and attract private sector investment," said Dr. Kevin Kariuki, Vice President, Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, at the African Development Bank.

The third edition of the ERI report was launched during the Digital Energy Festival of the Africa Energy Forum, on 5 November 2020. The event brought together more than 70 stakeholders in the energy sector, regulators, international organizations, and development finance institutions like Africa50 and the World Bank.

Wale Shonibare, Director for Energy Financial Solutions, Policy and Regulations, at the African Development Bank, said COVID-19 related restrictions had increased residential electricity demand and decreased industrial/commercial demand. This had resulted in shortfalls in the projected revenues of utilities.

"To address these challenges, regulators will be required to play an even more critical and central role post-Covid, to ensure that the sector recovers with minimal and controlled impact on consumers and utilities," Shonibare said.

Koffi Klousseh, Director of Project Development at Africa50, praised the ERI as a great tool for assessing the readiness of the electricity sector for private sector investments.

Main findings of the ERI 2020 report

  • 69% of countries surveyed have regulatory mechanisms in place to facilitate electricity access.
  • In 21 of the 36 countries surveyed, the utility is not involved in funding rural electrification. The government, NGOs and consumers do this.
  • In 90% of the countries surveyed, the Executive holds the power to appoint board members and heads of regulatory institutions who report to them. This removes the core of decision-making independence from regulators, who are subjected to subtle and direct political pressure to skew key regulatory decisions towards the political inclination of the government in power.
  • Most countries have legislation to deal with conflict of interest among commissioners and heads of regulatory institutions while in office. However, few have adequate mechanisms to regulate conflict of interest and other ethical issues, affecting the integrity of regulatory decisions.
  • Political authorities have significant influence on the finances of regulatory authorities. In many instances, laws establishing regulatory institutions do not clearly indicate sources of funds for the institution.

Other participants also shared views on the sector:

Ziria Tibalwa Waako, CEO of Uganda's Electricity Regulatory Authority: "Regulation is a catch-up game. If there are gaps, be happy to review your process and methodology."

Foibe Namene, CEO of Namibia's Electricity Control Board: "Regulatory independence is a balancing act between multiple stakeholders while maintaining high level of integrity in the regulatory processes and actions."

Peter Twesigye, Head of Electricity Regulation Programme, Power Futures Lab, at the University of Cape Town: "Regulators should support utilities through tariffs to finance investments in the backbone feeders with outage management systems that will enable them to monitor reliability and the quality of power on these feeders."

IRENA, GWEC Enhance Cooperation To Scale Up Renewables Globally

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) signed a cooperation agreement in order to join efforts aimed at increasing the adoption and deployment of wind and renewable energy worldwide.

This agreement was signed by IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera and GWEC CEO Ben Backwell on the occasion of the Race to Zero Dialogues, a programme to accelerate progress by governments, industry and other key stakeholders to meet the Paris Agreement, convened by the High-Level Champions for Global Climate Action.

As shown in IRENA's Global Renewables Outlook report, a Paris-compliant future by 2050 requires transformative changes to policy, behaviour and international cooperation. Renewable technologies such as onshore and offshore wind, as well as energy efficiency measures, can deliver more than 90 per cent of the emission reductions needed, while providing net employment and economic gains in the process.

Both IRENA and GWEC recognise that rapid decarbonisation will require a variety of policy shifts and investments, including intensifying renewable energy commitments, resolving market and regulatory barriers, improving access to finance and expanding the pipeline of bankable projects. Around a third of all new renewable power capacity added in 2019 was from wind power and IRENA data suggests wind – together with solar – will dominate future capacity growth.

"Wind energy is a cornerstone of the global energy transformation and with evolving technologies and a strengthening economic case, it will continue to support the world's low-carbon growth agenda through to mid-century," said Francesco La Camera, Director-General at IRENA. "By blending the knowledge, capabilities and convening power of our two organisations, we can jointly work to address policy and investment barriers and create an enabling environment for wind energy."

Ben Backwell, CEO at GWEC added: "On behalf of the global wind industry, we look forward to strengthening our partnership and work with IRENA through the Climate Investment Platform and other important initiatives. It is more important than ever that intergovernmental institutions work collaboratively with industry in pursuit of shared sustainable development goals.

"There is no question that we must urgently take action to reduce carbon emissions and act collectively to slow the impacts of climate change; accelerating the development of renewable energy is one of the most effective ways to achieve these objectives. Wind energy, as a scalable, clean and affordable technology, will be critical to supporting countries, companies and other parties on the road to net-zero and a green recovery," he concluded.

Among other areas, the enhanced cooperation between IRENA and GWEC will focus on: strengthening wind energy project facilitation in the Climate Investment Platform; engaging the wind industry in Industry-Government Dialogues, Investment Forums and other arenas for knowledge exchange; and exploring open-source agreements and project templates for wind projects in emerging markets in order to mitigate legal risks and barriers. The parties agree to work collaboratively to minimise regulatory, legal and administrative barriers to investment in wind and renewable energy, and enhance international dialogues and actions on increasing the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

Subscribe to this RSS feed

Kampala