Africa’s Energy Transition: Though not in a uniform way, still Africa’s energy landscape is gradually changing and this is broadly noticeable in the current century.
Discoveries of natural gas and oil in new places increase the expansion of renewable energy generation.
And since the world is changing towards renewable and clean energy technologies, this is provoking a significant reduction in the demand for natural gas, oil, coal, and fossil fuels.
Keeping the fact in mind that almost 50% export value of sub-Saharan Africa is composed of fossil fuels, this global transition of energy might have a significant impact on its economy.
Also, the tendency of Africa’s shifting exports to mineral energies like copper, nickel, and cobalt, might be an obstacle to the continent’s oil-dependent countries.
On the other hand, due to the vulnerability of climate change, Africa is facing the double challenge of coping with an economical sector like growth, employment, and production and at the same time tackling climate change.
Adaptation to this energy transition by preventing the adverse effects of climate change is very critical and if not achieved properly then the 2030 agenda for SDG may have to be compromised.
A large number of governments across Africa are now focusing their key attention on sustainable energy transition as the centre of climate strategies.
However, there are still several questions that need to be answered to get the full concept. Achieving sustainable energy transition in such a way that delivers inclusive growth and employment rate, reducing the gap in skills for exploring the potential of enterprises, and developing a public policy framework that will conduct the perfect transition for the workers and communities are some of the burning questions in this regard.
Overview of Africa’s Energy Transition
The energy transition in Africa reveals a distinct feature if we compare it to the industrial countries that are mostly dependent on fossil fuels.
Mostly the challenges are modernization with expansion. Modernization refers to Africa’s vast potential for renewable energy resources like solar, wind, and hydropower also shifting away from the use of inefficient forms of energy and moving towards modern sources for lighting, cooking, and heating.
Expansion is needed to meet the energy requirement of about 1.3 billion population where only 30% of them get access to reliable energy.
Global change is gradually shifting from fossil fuel towards less polluting sources whereas, in Africa, the scenario is a bit different.
On one side we can see the expansion of energy from renewables like Senegal’s Taiba Ndiaye Wind Project which will generate 158-megawatt power, Ghana’s Nzema Solar Power Station which is expected to increase the country’s electricity generating capacity by 6 percent and allow nearly 100,000 homes to benefit from clean energy.
Morocco and South Africa’s renewable energy power production plans. On the other hand, since 2005, several countries have started to become energy exporters who were previously energy importers and this is happening due to more discoveries of oil and gas in sub-Saharan countries. And this scenario altogether makes the landscape of Africa’s energy transition more complex.
Climate change has a vast impact on the employment, labour market, and economies of the continent. Expansion of green infrastructure will lead to higher labour demand across several industries and result in the creation of more job opportunities.
Besides, many existing jobs will be substituted from less to more efficient and productive ways, from high carbon to low carbon and towards less polluting technologies which can eliminate carbon jobs.
And since it is found in several studies that renewable energy technologies create way more job opportunities than existing fossil fuel technologies, we can see a significant change in the economy in the upcoming days.
Africa’s energy transition is mostly characterized by regional and national contexts and priorities with the global policies, frameworks, and commitments that individual countries have agreed to implement.
However, finding a combination of fossil fuel energies with the expected expansion of renewables is the major challenge that the continent is going to face in the days to come.
The successful transition is in the collaboration of the countries and the undertaking of effective policies as per the region’s energy demand.