<i>By Mayda Bakri, GVEP International</i>

The report analyses the current energy consumption in Africa and assesses potential of renewable energy sources - solar, wind, biomass and hydropower - and their cost efficiency and environmental sustainability.

This report summarizes current knowledge at the Joint Research Centre regarding Renewable Energy in Africa. It assesses current energy consumption and the share of renewables in African states, and attempts to estimate the technical potential of available resources of solar, wind, biomass and hydropower which could be economically used to provide energy for the increasing population.

Existing Statistical data on energy supply and demand have a large uncertainty, both in terms of quantity and costs or price. The available data which were used for this report indicate a wide range both of per capita energy consumption (100 to 2000 kgoe/cap/y) and per capita electricity consumption (50 to 4000 kWh/cap/y). Relative to the average of the European Union, this corresponds to up to 35 times less regarding all energy, and up to 100 times less regarding electricity. Even though electrification made considerable progress in the past 10 years, 600 Mio of rural population has no access to electricity at all.

This report assesses in detail the renewable energy options for electricity production in rural areas, where the de-centralised feature of these technologies allow an economically viable competition with conventional grid extension. It is particularly true in remote areas where the nearest grid infrastructure is already unreliable and overloaded. In areas where household density is low (<50 cap/km2), any investment in larger grid infrastructure would never be cost competitive. This report enhances also insight in the transport costs of conventional fuel, taking a population density to be served and transport infrastructure into account.

The report can be downloaded here: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/111111111/23076