GWEC launches new initiative to help drive the energy transition in Africa


Africa WindPower has been launched by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) to accelerate the continent’s transition to renewable energy.

Africa WindPower will stand as a regional body representing the wind industry. The initiative will offer a platform for dialogue between wind industry and government stakeholders on how to accelerate the deployment of wind energy.

The initiative will encourage more investments to be directed towards the wind energy industry, as well as encourage innovation and the development of existing innovative and new business cases to help Africa move away from fossil fuels.

Focus will include encouraging the development and enactment of regulation that can pave the way for increased investments from both the public and private sector in the energy transition.

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Despite an early start for wind energy in Africa, wind energy deployment has often been held back as fossil fuel generation sources such as natural gas continue to make inroads in some markets, and coal, heavy fuel oil, and diesel remain a large part of the energy mix.

A recent report commissioned by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) shows that Africa has 59,000GW of technical onshore and offshore wind potential, enough to meet the continent’s energy demand 250 times over.

Building out wind farms that utilize Africa’s vast wind resource will drive investment, create clean energy jobs and critical infrastructure, and help support thriving local economies in line with the region’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Today, Africa has only tapped 0.01% of its wind resource by installing 7GW of capacity by the end of 2020, equivalent to the amount of clean energy required to avoid 10.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions or removing 2.3 million cars from the road, according to the GWEC.

South Africa is leading in the deployment of wind energy.

Ben Backwell, GWEC CEO, said: “Africa has already begun its transition to a clean energy future, but this process is moving far too slowly with incumbent fossil fuels playing too prominent a role.

“Countries across the continent have the crucial ingredients to develop thriving local wind industries, which would bring significant jobs and economic growth to diverse communities.

“Despite what we are hearing on the world stage ahead of COP26, it is not only ‘Climate Finance’ but greater collaboration between the private and public sectors that will drive Africa’s energy transition and increase access to reliable sources of electricity.”

Wangari Muchiri, Africa WindPower Coordinator, added: “Africa has the opportunity to leapfrog traditional fossil-fuel-based energy systems to achieve a robust renewable energy mix. Wind Power is a vital part of this clean energy transition allowing for decentralized, affordable and clean energy.

“In addition, Africa boasts fantastic wind resource which can power the continent 250 times over while creating jobs and enabling the development of local industries. GWEC’s Africa WindPower will bring various stakeholders together to decrease the knowledge gap and increase the development and deployment of wind power throughout the continent.”