Schwerhoff, G.; Sy, M.

Developing Africa’s energy mix

in Climate Policy, 05.04.2018

Peer Review , Task Force Public Economics , Task Force Public Finance

Africa is growing rapidly both in terms of population size and economically. It is also becoming increasingly clear that fossil fuels impose a high price on society through local environmental pollution and Africa’s particular vulnerability to climate change. At the same time, Africa has an excellent renewable energy potential and prices for renewable energy are reaching the price range of fossil fuels. Comparing results from state-of-the-art Integrated Assessment Models we find different options for achieving a sustainable energy supply in Africa. They have in common, however, that strong economic development is considered compatible with the 2°C climate target. Taking both challenges and appropriate solutions into account, some models find that a complete switch to renewable energy in electricity production is possible in the medium term. The continental analysis identifies important synergy effects, in particular the exchange of electricity between neighbouring countries. The optimal energy mix varies considerably between African countries, but there is sufficient renewable energy for each country. The intermittency and higher capital intensity of renewable energy are important challenges, but proven solutions are available for them. In addition, we analyse the political economy of a sustainable energy transition in Africa.

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