Africa and the Middle East’s wind market to recover from 2019 depression


Countries in Africa and the Middle East will install up to 10.7GW of wind energy capacity between 2020 and 2024, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

The 10.7GW will mark a 167% increase from the current market status. The region experienced a 7% decline in installed wind energy capacity in 2019 compared to 2018.

894MW of wind energy capacity was installed in 2019 compared to 962MW in 2018.

Egypt led other countries in the region with 262MW, followed by Morocco (216MW), Jordan (190MW) and Ethiopia which had 120MW of installed wind energy capacity in 2019.

To date, the region boasts a 6GW of installed wind energy capacity.

Over the next five years, South Africa is expected to dominate the market with 3.3GW, followed by Egypt (1,8GW), Morocco (1,2GW) and Saudi Arabia (1,2GW).

Driving an increase in investments in wind energy is the need to produce cost-competitive and sustainable energy, transform the region’s energy system to ensure access to modern electricity for all and to create skilled jobs as well as to drive local economic growth.

The SADC region has the potential to produce 18GW of wind energy in Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia and Mozambique.

Jon Lezamiz, African Market Development Director at Siemens Gamesa and Chair of GWEC’s Africa Task Force commented: “Africa and the Middle East are endowed with fantastic wind resources, and the industry is committed to supporting policymakers in the region to reap the benefits wind power can provide for their energy systems and economy. In those countries with proper frameworks and stable bankable pipelines, we are already seeing a local supply chain being developed, such as Siemens Gamesa’s blade factory in Morocco, to meet wind energy demand increases while providing local jobs to build a long-term industry and economic opportunity in the region.

“We see many exciting developments in the region including construction starting on hybrid renewable projects, increases in regional cooperation and opening of markets to corporate PPAs, all of which we are convinced will drive growth in the coming years. However, as unlocking the full potential of the wind sector has not yet been encompassed and electricity demand continues to grow, we at GWEC are ready to support governments and key stakeholders to create the appropriate frameworks that would fix the adequate pace and, thus, create a visible long-term, stable bankable project pipeline”.

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Ben Backwell, CEO of GWEC said: “Challenges such as policy and power market frameworks, transmission infrastructure bottlenecks, and off-taker risk must be overcome in order for Africa and the Middle East to take full advantage of their wind potential. GWEC has published the Africa Wind Energy Handbook as a tool to support policymakers in the region to overcome these challenges, bringing together the knowledge and experience of the industry to apply to the unique contexts of each market in the region. This will be crucial as the region’s energy demands, GDP and population are set to grow significantly over the next decade, as wind can provide a decentralised, cheap and reliable energy source to increase electrification rates and support this growth”.

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