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Africa’s immense energy potential

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Africa’s immense energy potential
Africa’s solar potential is measured at 7,900 GW – more than 1,000 times its current solar generation capacity. Image credit: Scatec

Africa’s immense energy potential

With parts of Africa grappling with access to electricity, the energy sector provides great opportunity.

European countries have been vocal about plans to boost clean, smart, and secure investments in Africa’s energy sector, with the European Union’s Global Gateway Initiative aiming to mobilise more than €150 billion across the continent by 2027.

Motivations for investing in African energy range from securing the bloc’s own energy supplies, to strengthening energy diplomacy on the continent and to generate high returns on critical infrastructure investments.

There are investment opportunities in diverse energy sectors ranging from Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), renewable energy, green hydrogen and carbon capture and storage.

Africa is thus set to play a leading role in the global energy transition.

LNG as investment avenue (Africa’s immense energy potential)

As Africa looks to develop its gas for domestic and export markets, LNG represents a critical investment avenue for European partners and investors.

Representing a relatively clean-burning fossil fuel that can deliver energy reliably and to scale, LNG has been positioned as a fuel source that can meet the rising energy demand in Africa and globally.

European majors and independents are already at the helm of developing world-class LNG facilities across the continent, amongst others bp’s Greater Tortue Ahmeyim LNG in Senegal and Mauritania, Perenco’s Cap Lopez LNG Terminal in Gabon and Eni’s Congo LNG in the Republic of Congo.

The continent features myriad opportunities in the exploration, transport, processing and storage of natural gas and associated Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract value in establishing integrated gas value chains.

Solar and wind potential (Africa’s immense energy potential)

Africa’s solar potential is measured at 7,900 GW – more than 1,000 times its current solar generation capacity – while wind potential is measured at 461 GW, which equates to 100 times the current wind generation capacity.

The continent is home to considerable technical potential for hydropower – which accounts for approximately 17% of its electricity generation on average – and is set to overtake Europe in installed geothermal capacity by the end of the decade.

Given Africa’s prolific energy needs, decentralised power solutions – particularly from renewables – hold the capacity to help electrify rural parts of the continent, while aligning with net-zero targets.

Green hydrogen potential (Africa’s immense energy potential)

Owing to its substantial and often co-located renewable resources, Africa provides optimal conditions for the development of green hydrogen and green ammonia, estimated to be able to produce a surplus of 20-40 million tons of green hydrogen per year by 2050.

The continent is home to several major green hydrogen projects – namely, the 15 GW Aman project in Mauritania, 3 GW Tsau Khaeb project in Namibia and 4 GW SCZONE project in Egypt.

Germany has emerged as an active player in this domain by investing in and lending technical expertise to hydrogen development in Angola, Mauritania, and Namibia, as well as pledging to invest €4- billion in sustainable energy projects in Africa – including renewable power, green hydrogen, and critical raw mineral extraction – through 2030.

The EU is targeting ten million tons of imported renewable hydrogen per year by 2030, offering development finance and production subsidies to help African countries develop their green hydrogen supplies.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCUS) (Africa’s immense energy potential)

Capturing carbon dioxide produced from burning fossil fuels or as a by-product of industrial manufacturing processes, CCUS technology represents a dynamic investment opportunity within Africa’s energy transition.

It holds a wide range of applications – from enhanced oil recovery to fuel production to waste-to-energy plants – and aligns with Africa’s decarbonisation goals, while enabling much-needed energy production.

CCUS projects are already underway in South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province – where it will capture carbon dioxide from coal-fired power stations – and at Egypt’s Meleiha Field, part of a broader USD25-million, multi-phase CCUS project.

CCUS aligns closely with the EU’s broader decarbonisation goals and represents a strategic area of potential collaboration between European and African service providers by way of sharing best practices, technical expertise and technological innovation.

Given Europe’s focus on sustainable energy development, the upcoming Invest in African Energy (IAE) forum (https://Invest-Africa-Energy.com) – taking place in Paris on May 14-15 – will showcase opportunities for the European and global private sector to develop and advance natural gas, renewable energy, green hydrogen and decarbonization technologies across the continent, with a view to supporting Africa’s role in the global energy transition.

Africa’s immense energy potential

Africa’s immense energy potential
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Africa’s immense energy potential



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