Public Financing as a Critical Path Forward to a Just Energy Transition in Africa

(Creamer Media's Engineering News, Pretoria?, 13 February 2023) With the world population recently crossing the 8 billion mark and Africa expected to contribute more than half of the projected increase in the global population up to 2050, now more than ever, access to reliable, sustainable, and affordable energy is critical for the continent. Given the historical strain between developed economies (which modernized with fossil fuels) and developing economies (now being asked to forgo this route) [while developed country ECAs urge them to expand fossil fuel production!], it is evident that sustainable, long-term global cooperation and energy security will be required to address the need for Africans to have access to sustainable, reliable, and affordable energy... Electricity generation in South Africa and Nigeria accounts for more than 80% of GHG emissions on the continent. In South Africa, coal-fired generation currently accounts for more than 70% of installed capacity and is expected to remain the primary power generation source through 2030... South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan aims to install 3GW and 9.6GW of solar and wind capacity respectively between 2023 and 2028 as well as  3GW of gas by 2030. In contrast, Nigeria, on the hand has about 13 GW of installed generation capacity, largely dependent on hydropower (12.5%) and thermal power (87.5%). Of this, only 3.5 GW to 5 GW are typically available for onward transmission to the final consumer. Self-generation installed capacity via diesel generator units is estimated to be about 25 GW... Public capital plays an essential role in accelerating energy infrastructure projects in both developed and developing markets. Developing markets especially need continued government-supported financing for renewables and gas power generation to enable an equitable energy transition... To meet global decarbonization goals while continuing to drive electrification and raise the standard of living in developing markets, ECAs and DFIs should strive to become even more engaged to support a broad range of decarbonization technologies. [We ask, what balance is necessary, support of new natural gas power generation projects to replace existing or planned coal assets, or African renewable sources which do not put the onus on Africans to save the planet while sustaining northern consumption excess?]