An extra 6GW of wind power will be added in Africa between 2019 and 2023, which will double current capacity.
Africa’s potential for renewables has barely begun to be exploited, but the Global Wind Industry Council is hoping to change that. The body is seeking to speed up the spread of wind power on the continent with help from industry heavyweights like Siemens Gamesa, Vestas and Aurora Wind Power.
According to plans, an additional 6GW of wind power capacity will be added in Africa between 2019 and 2023. That will more than double the current total capacity of 5.3GW. If a projected annual growth rate of 24% holds up between now and 2028, a further 33GW of new wind capacity will be created in Africa, making wind power a significant part of local energy generation.
“Africa has a unique opportunity to leap-frog obsolete fossil fuel generation and create the power generation it needs from wind power and other renewables technologies,” Ben Backwell, the council’s CEO, said. “If we can help create the right regulatory frameworks and knowledge transfer, Africa’s growing economies will soon be powered by cheap, efficient wind power.”
Last year 962MW of new wind capacity was installed in Africa and the Middle East, which was 300MW more than that the year before. Egypt leads in the region with a capacity of 380MW, followed by Kenya with 310MW and Morocco with 120MW.
Yet for all that extra capacity, the continent’s wind energy market is still in its infancy. In 2011 Africa’s total capacity was a mere 1.1GW. It more than tripled to 4.1GW by August 2017. However, even that figure was less than 1% of global capacity.
Hampering the spread of wind energy has been that fact that few African nations have formulated plans to boost their wind capacity, although 34 out of the 55 nations on the continent have set renewable energy targets as per the Paris agreement.
The intermittent nature of renewables and a lack of long-term storage capacity for wind power have both been seen as drawbacks by many local governments. Improved storage technologies, however, may soon make wind energy more appealing to African policymakers.