The new AFRICAN Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina was recently quoted saying he intends to eliminate Africa’s energy deficit by the year 2025. Adesina plans to achieve this by investing about $55 billion in the energy sector across Africa.
The proposed investment in Energy by AfDB, dubbed ‘New Deal for Energy in Africa,’ is said will significantly scale up energy supply in the continent. The proposal also calls upon the African governments to increase financing to the energy sector development.
Perhaps by reading this you might not the gravity of energy supply shortage in Africa. Well, Mail & Guardian Africa has compiled 20 stats benchmarking the state of energy supply and consumption in Africa with other countries.
TWO in every three people in Africa, around 621 million in total, have no access to electricity. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Malawi and Sierra Leone, fewer that one in 10 people have access to electricity.
Ethiopia, with a population of 94 million, consumes one-third of the electricity supplied to the 600,000 residents of Washington D.C. Greater London consumes more electricity than any country in Africa other than South Africa.
It takes the average Tanzanian around eight years to consume as much power as America uses in one month. When American households switch on their TVs to watch the Super Bowl, the annual finale of their football season, they consume 10 times the electricity used over the course of a year by the more than 1 million people living in Juba, South Sudan.
Installed grid-based capacity in sub-Sahara Africa is around 90 gigawatts (GW), which is less than the capacity in South Korea where the population is only 5% that of sub-Sahara Africa.
The poor spend the most on energy. Africa’s poorest households spend $10/kWh on lighting or around 20 times the amount spent by high-income households with a connection to the grid.
A rural woman in northern Nigeria spends around 60 to 80 times more per unit of energy consumed than a resident of Manhattan or London. The same woman also spends some 30 times more than the residents of high-income households with grid connections in gated communities in Lagos.
On current trends, it will take Africa until 2080 to achieve universal access to electricity. Universal access to clean cooking facilities would occur in around 150 years, sometime after the middle of the 22nd century.
But there will be demand for more power in Africa in the next few decades, driven by economic growth, population growth and urbanization. Each percentage point in GDP growth in developing countries tends to be accompanied by growth in energy demand of 1.2 to 2.3%.
Between 2015 and 2040, the population of sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase by 755 million, or 81%. Electricity generation will have almost to double by 2040 to maintain per capita provision.
By 2050 around one-half of Africans will live in cities, compared with just over one-third today ; and increase in the urban population of 800 million people. Today, urban consumers in Africa use on average three times more electricity that their rural counterparts.
But in a few African countries, the gap in electrification is quite small. One such country is South Africa, where more than 80% of rural homes have power. But in another group of countries – South Sudan, Liberia, and the Central African Republic – the gap is small for an entirely different reason, it’s because even towns have no electricity. Both urban and rural electrification rates are under 10%.
To raise the entire region of sub-Saharan Africa to the average current per capita electricity access of South Africa would require a 33-fold increase in installed capacity.
It seems to be a tall order, but it is possible. Brazil, China, and Indonesia have achieved rapid electrification over short time periods. Vietnam went from levels of access below those now prevailing in Africa to a universal provision in around 15 years. The country expanded consumption fivefold between 2000 and 2013.
Liberalization in the power sector has been a magnet for equity investors in Africa. Between 2010 and 2013, there were around 27 private equity investments in energy and natural resources, with an aggregate value of $1.2 billion.
Nigeria is rapidly scaling up solar capacity. Agreements signed in 2014, and the first half of 2015 will take the country across the 5GW threshold. SkyPower FAS Energy has signed agreements with the federal government and the Delta State government to develop 3GW of utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects over the next five years at an estimated cost of $5 billion.
Kenya is now the world’s ninth largest producer of geothermal energy. Current plans envisage the doubling of capacity by the end of 2016 through expansion of the existing Olkaria plant. The Turkana Wind Power Project will also add 20% to currently installed
Ethiopia is taking a big lead in green energy, setting ambitious targets for zero carbon emissions. One of the region’s largest wind-farm projects, the 120MW, 84-turbine Adama project, was recently completed through a $290 million French investment. The government also signed a $4 billion deal with US-Icelandic company Reykjavik Geothermal to build a 1GW geothermal plant by the beginning of the next decade.
Since 2010, South Africa has registered one of the fastest rates of growth in the world for renewable energy investment. The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) program contracted for $14 billion of private-sector investment across 64 projects, ranging from wind farms and solar PV to biogas.
The world’s fourth largest solar facility is under construction in Western Ghana. The $400 million Nzema solar project will include 630,000 solar PV modules generating 155MW and adding 6% to Ghana’s overall power generation.
In Mauritania, solar energy now powers around one-third of energy use in the capital city, Nouakchott and 10% of the national grid. Plans are under way to commission a 30MW wind farm, increasing the share of renewable energy in the national energy mix to 45%.
This article was first featured on Mail&Guardian Africa.