African Countries Adopt Renewable Energy Plans To Meet Demand

November 05, 2016 at 01:00 pm | Tech & Innovation

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Caroline Theuri

November 05, 2016 at 01:00 pm | Tech & Innovation

The Noor solar plant in Morocco is capable of supplying power to over a million people. Photo Credit: NPR

African countries are adopting renewable energy strategies at a national levels to meet growing demand, according to a new report titled, “Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in Developing Countries: Contributions to Reducing Global Emissions.” The report notes that the efforts made by these countries could inspire similar efforts across the globe.

“Last year, there were 67 countries in emerging or developing markets that had adopted energy efficiency (EE) targets. 38 percent of the adopted EE targets are economy-wide, cross-sectoral goals. The rest of the EE targets are for individual sectors such as power generation (23 percent) or building (21 percent).

“By the end of 2015, 117 of these developing or emerging countries had established renewable energy targets by the end of 2015. These were independent of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions,” reads the report.

In particular, African policy makers have set EE targets aimed at the development of the power sector in an attempt to provide energy to the 1.2 billion Africans who lack access to electricity grids.

Mali and Morocco have been recognized for their renewable energy strategy in the report, which was jointly authored by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mali

There is rising demand for energy in Mali, which the UNEP report estimates to be growing at 10 percent annually. The country has implemented an agrarian development initiative dubbed, “Support for the Economic Independence of Women in Rural Mali Facing Food Insecurity and Climate Change,” that provides efficient cookstoves and renewable power equipment to women in rural areas. The initiative was launched in 2013 by the UN Women and Food and Agricultural Organization and receives support from Sweden, the Malian Agency for the Development of Household Energy and Rural Electrification, as well as several women and cooperative groups.

Morocco

Morocco’s institutional, financial, and regulatory frameworks have helped pioneer the country as a global leader in wind and solar energy.  The Tarfaya Wind Farm and Noor Solar Plant are expected to help the country achieve its goal of producing 6,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable power by 2020. The report notes that these renewable energy sources are expected to save the country at least $3 billion annually in costs related to importing electricity and fuel.

The Tarfaya Wind Farm has a capacity of 303.1 megawatts and a 2o year lifespan. During that period, the farm is expected to mitigate 900,000 tons of carbon dioxide, while generating 1.1 million MW of energy. Once construction of the Noor Solar Plant is completed, it will generate 580 MW of energy providing power to 1.1 million people by 2018.

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