An indicative assessment of investment opportunities in the African electricity supply sector

Published Apr 14, 2014

An analytical model has been constructed, calibrated and used to quantify future power investment and operation scenarios for Africa.

In the coming decades demand for electricity will increase considerably on the African continent. Investment in power generation, transmission and distribution is necessary to meet this demand. In this paper a cost-optimization tool is used to assess investment opportunities under varying scenarios of GDP growth, electricity trade and CO2 taxation. Business as usual fuel price outlooks are assumed, and related assumptions are relatively conservative. The goal is to find if there are economic indications that renewable energy might play a significant role in the expansion of the African electricity system. The results show that there is potential of renewable energy (RE) resources to have a significant share in the generation mix. By 2030, 42% and 55% of the total generation is powered by renewables in the high and low GDP scenarios respectively. Promotion of interregional trade can assist in unlocking RE potential across the continent, such as hydro in Central Africa and wind in East Africa; these regions are projected to be net exporters of electricity. Additionally, generation by off-grid technologies increases over time, reaching 12% of the total generation by 2030 in Sub-Saharan Africa.

First Author: Constantinos Taliotis