Bold declaration for renewables in Africa

Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town - By 2030, half of all electricity in eastern and southern Africa could come from clean, indigenous, cost-effective renewable energy, allowing for a substantial reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

That is according to the draft declaration from the SA International Renewable Energy Conference, due to be signed on Tuesday afternoon.

A key message contained in the declaration will be for the renewable energy sector to focus on upskilling African communities and ensuring they have a bigger slice of the economic pie.

“While growing African energy economies, we need to ensure localisation of supply chains, not only for the supply of equipment and plant, but also the maintenance and operation of facilities,” it says.

“This will create jobs and grow skills, … reduce costs and will substantially increase social acceptance.”

It states that it is imperative to develop a skills base to facilitate technology transfer and to ensure technologies are needs driven and appropriate for local conditions.

The conference declaration will say that to make universal access a reality by 2030, 1.3 billion people, out of which 621 million in the sub-Saharan region, should be provided access to electricity.

“Rural and urban demands can best be met with a diverse technology mix that takes full advantage of sub-Saharan Africa’s exceptional and sustainable solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydropower resources,” it states.

“Together with energy efficiency, (renewable energy) enables sustainable energy access especially for the poor, it creates economic and job opportunities, it improves air quality and moderates climate change and it enhances energy security, human health and sustainable development.”

The sixth renewable energy conference, which is hosted by the SA Department of Energy, is taking place for the first time in Africa this week with 3 600 delegates from 82 countries participating.