Africa’s Power Sector Needs Long-term Planning, Data & Collaboration

“I can see that Africa’s energy poverty is posing great challenges. Every time we think we are making progress, we have a power outage. It’s a painful thing to go through, and why do we? Lack of planning.” – Mahama Kappiah, Director General, ECREEE

The need for, and solution to, comprehensive energy planning in Africa was the main issue discussed at a pre-Assembly event today in Abu Dhabi. African leaders and international organizations attended Planning Renewable Energy Strategies: Africa Power Sector, to discuss how best to improve energy access and security on the continent.

Speakers underscored the lack of adaptable, realistic energy plans for the continent, the need for more substantive data in the power sector and the lack of coordination between government and industry. Lack of planning often results in expensive short term solutions, which can have significant adverse economic impacts.

Accordingly, speakers proposed the use of updated data and tools in long-term planning, collaboration with academia and governments, and a commitment to capacity building. It was also discussed that master plans must be built on consensus across energy sector stakeholders to increase investor confidence and attract finance.

As one possible solution, IRENA presented its energy system analysis tools – the Systems PLAnning Test (SPLAT) models – that apply to all continental African countries and assesses long-term renewable investment. SPLAT models are built on IRENA’s renewable energy databases and linked with other IRENA tools to ensure the best data available. They can be used to prepare national long-term energy plans, the very need expressed during the event today.

In closing, event attendees proposed that IRENA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology to collaborate and share their research and statistics in the future.

For more information on IRENA’s renewable energy data and statistics visit REsource, the new renewable energy “Google”.

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