By Sophie Mbugua: PARIS, Dec 02: African heads of state announced plans for a gigantic renewable energy initiative that would provide as much as 300gigawatts of renewable energy – twice the continent’s total current electricity supply – by 2030.
African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) driven by African countries announced at the start of the two-week United Nations climate negotiations in Paris, aims to achieve 10gigawatts of new renewable energy by 2020 and mobilize the potential to generate 300gigawatts by 2030.
“African countries have abundant renewable energy resources. This initiative can transform Africa’s energy systems, grow African economies and help improve energy access. Now this will power our future.” says Asrat Yirgu, WWF Africa’s Climate Change Coordinator
This initiative represents Africa’s contribution to the global efforts on climate change and eliminating energy poverty. It will also help African nations embrace low-carbon development strategies while creating jobs, improving energy security and bringing clean, safe and affordable energy to the 640 million Africans who currently lack access to electricity.
Financing the project
The continent is a gold mine for renewable energy due to abundant solar and wind resources although roadblocks to clean energy are amplified by lack of financial resources.
Samantha Smith, Leader of WWF Global Climate and Energy Initiative while speaking at the launch said that African countries are driving this initiative with financial and technology support from other countries.
Akinwumi Adesina, the president of the African Development Bank said that the bank will invest USD12billion (11.3 billion Euros) in the new energy for Africa deal while France announced that his government would not only double their investments in renewable energy generation in Africa, ranging from wind farms to solar power and hydroelectric projects and will provide 2 billion Euros for renewable between 2016 and 2020.
“This is exactly the kind of collaborative, large-scale action we need if we hope to forge a path to a safer climate future. It is also the latest example that shows we can have both zero carbon and zero poverty.” She Said
The African leaders want the largest polluting nations to commit to financing as part of contributions to an internationally administered Green Climate Fund, that hopes to dispense $100bn a yearly after 2020 as a way to finance the developing world’s shift towards renewable energy.