Wind power has the potential to boost Africa’s transition to renewable energy- IFC

AFRICA Wind power has the potential of boosting Africa’s transition to renewable energy – a new study conducted by IFC has shown.

According to the study, Africa possess a stunning onshore wind potential of almost 180,000 Terawatt hours (TWh) per annum.

The study shows that developing Africa’s huge onshore wind energy potential can boost its transition to affordable and reliable clean energy.

The study coincides with a new milestone in the renewable energy sector. For the first time ever, wind and solar made up the majority of the world’s new power generation in 2019.

A mix of wind and solar energy is not only good for the climate but will help diversify the continent’s energy mix and improve energy security.

The analysis reveals a total wind potential on the African continent of over 59,000 GW­­—equivalent to 90 times the current global installed wind capacity and enough to satisfy the entire continent’s electricity demands 250 times over.

The analysis, carried out by Everoze, finds that 27 countries in Africa have enough wind potential on their own to satisfy the entire continental electricity demand—estimated at 700 TWh annually.

Algeria has the highest resource with a total potential of 7,700 Gigawatts (GW), equivalent to over 11 times current global installed wind capacity.

Fifteen other countries including Mauritania, Mali, Egypt, Namibia, South Africa, Ethiopia and Kenya have technical wind potentials of over 1,000 GW. 

“This analysis has clearly shown that Africa has world-class wind potential and that wind can play an important role in bringing clean, affordable electricity to millions on the continent.”

Linda Munyengeterwa – FC’s Infrastructure Director for Middle East and Africa.

The analysis also finds that over one-third of Africa’s wind potential is in areas with very strong winds, averaging greater than 8.5 meters per second.

Seventeen of the countries analyzed have particularly strong wind potential, with average productivity (as measured by their “capacity factors”) up to 46 percent, rivalling the most productive onshore wind sites in the world. 

Through the use of high-resolution mesoscale wind models and assuming the use of tall, large rotor, modern turbines, the analysis unravelled  great potential in countries not previously considered to be ‘windy’ places, including Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Botswana, Cameroon and Mozambique.

Wind is one of the fastest-growing, cheapest sources of new power generation around the world with over 650 Gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity.

However, installed wind capacity in Africa represents less than 1 percent of this capacity despite the continent having capacity to produce 90 times the current global installed wind capacity.

There is thus a clear need now for governments to enact policies to take advantage of the vast resource that the report identifies and enable large scale investment in wind as a key building block for green economic recovery post COVID–19.

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