Wind power in Africa to increase ten times over

» By | Published 30 May 2013

Wind power in Africa is likely to experience a huge boost in installed capacity over the next few years, according to an African Development Bank (AfDB) study.

While wind power on the continent currently makes up only 1% of total electricity, or 1 GW, there is an additional 10.5 GW in the pipeline, the study, Development of Wind Energy in Africa, shows.

Africa is faced with the challenge of generating more power to meet existing and future demand as more than 500 million people on the continent lack access to electricity, the study says, adding at least eight African nations are among the developing world’s most endowed in terms of wind energy potential.

Noting that wind power is one of the world’s fastest-growing energy resources, the study said Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Mauritania, Egypt, Madagascar, Kenya and Chad have large onshore wind energy potential.

Exploring 76 African wind energy projects, the study found that only 24 are completed. Of the completed projects, the study said 74% are located in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia – which collectively accounted for 99% of total installed capacity at the end of 2010.

According to a media release, Emelly Mutambatsere, Senior Research Economist at the AfDB and co-author of the study, said public authorities needed to take a leading role in encouraging economic operators in the private sector to invest in wind power projects.

“The public sector is definitely still the leading actor in projects of this type in their current phase, and not only as providers of funding,” Mutambatsere said. “However, governments should also be involved as principal partners in order to ensure that projects are implemented successfully.”

An AFP story published Sunday said private investors are becoming very interested in the potential for developing Africa’s wind power sector.

The story noted that a 52 MW project recently came on line in Ethiopia and the €633 million, 300 MW Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in Kenya hopes to get underway in November.

A different AFP article also said that Morocco is going ahead with a programme to boost wind energy production, particularly in the southern Tarfaya region, where Africa’s largest wind farm is set to open in 2014.

The article said Morocco wants to meet 42% of its energy needs with renewable sources by 2020, and has launched a plan to produce 4,000 MW, with wind power supplying 2,000 MW of the total.

Global Wind Day 2013 – an annual day on 15 June to discover wind power – is hosting a call to support a much smaller scale wind energy project bringing power to a remote community in Kenya. Read more about it here, learn how you can support the project here, and see what’s coming up for this year’s edition of Global Wind Day here.