Strong demand is set to give a huge boost to renewable energy growth in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years. Picture: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
INTERNATIONAL - Strong demand is set to give a huge boost to renewable energy growth in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years, driving up capacity more than 70percent, a senior international energy official said yesterday. 

From Ethiopia to South Africa, millions of people are receiving access to electricity for the first time as the continent turns to solar, wind and hydropower projects to boost generation capacity. 

“A big chunk of this (growth) is hydro because of Ethiopia, but then you have solar... in South Africa, Nigeria and Namibia, and wind in South Africa and Ethiopia as well,” said Paolo Frankl, the head of the renewable division at the International Energy Agency. 

He forecast that installed capacity of renewable energy in the sub-Saharan region would almost double from about 35gigawatts to more than 60GW, given the right conditions.

“Africa has one of the best potential resources of renewables in the world, but it depends on the enabling framework, on governance and the right rules,” Frankl said on the sidelines of a wind-energy conference. 

- REUTERS