Experts Brainstorm Ways To Bridge Energy Gaps In Africa

By Sunday Etuka, Abuja

Energy experts from across Africa will converge on Abuja this week to brainstorm on ways to bridge the existing energy gaps in the content.

Scheduled to hold between Thursday and Friday, the 8th Edition of the Africa Energy Marketplace (AEMP), and Policy Dialogue for the National Integrated Electricity Policy and Strategic Implementation Plan (NIEP-SIP) will also focus on African Hydropower development in recent years.

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The World Hydropower Outlook, due to be released in full on June 12, 2024, shows that hydropower capacity in Africa grew last year by 2GW, indicating that only 10% of the continent’s potential is being realised.

The report further revealed that 60% of installed hydropower capacity in Africa is more than 20 years old.
This is even as it said that access to finance and infrastructural inadequacies are inhibiting further progress across the continent that lacks access to clean, secure and affordable energy and water.

Key countries that heavily contributed to the development of the 2GW, according to the report, were Nigeria (740MW), Uganda (408.2MW), Democratic Republic of Congo (381.7MW) and Tanzania (261.7MW).

Africa is poised to harness the power of its water resources to drive sustainable development and economic growth through a transformative clean energy transition.

With only 10% of the continent’s hydropower potential harnessed, accelerating hydropower development has never been more urgent.

Recent studies commissioned by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the IHA show there is an urgent need for rehabilitating numerous hydropower plants across Africa and the AfDB is leading efforts to upgrade twelve hydropower plants with a US$1 billion investment.

The latest World Hydropower Outlook, a report by the IHA (a non-profit member association that includes global hydropower leaders including Lunsemfwa, Mainsteam Energy Solutions Limited, Serengeti Energy, and ZESCO, amongst its African members) shows that Africa has a significant opportunity for growth but urgently needs more global collaboration and investment.

“With significant solar power coming onto the African grids, it is imperative that Africa’s hydropower
potential is realised to ensure that reliable electricity supply is balanced and readily available. The development of hydropower in Africa is not just about generating electricity; it’s about empowering communities, driving economic growth, and charting a sustainable path towards a clean energy future,” said Eddie Rich, CEO of IHA.

Despite encouraging signals that governments, industry and financiers are developing renewable energies, there is still a considerable deficit in global capacity.

“By fostering strategic partnerships and pioneering investment frameworks, we can unlock the necessary capital to realise Africa’s hydropower potential. We need to turn aspirations into action, propelling Africa towards a future powered by clean, sustainable energy,” said Eng. Lamu Audu, Managing Director/CEO Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited and Vice-Chair of IHA.

The launch of the Africa section of the 2024 World Hydropower Outlook is a precursor to the release of the full report on 12 June 2024.

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