By Shu’eib Hassen
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AA) - Africa should explore the renewable energy sector to meet its needs, which is expected to increase manifold as the continent’s population doubles to 2.4 billion by 2050, experts said Tuesday.
In his keynote address on the first day of the three-day African Utility Week conference in the South African city of Cape Town, Michael Liebreich, chairman advisory board and founder of Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance, claimed the goal to meet universal electricity access by 2030 was not impossible for Africa if the renewable energy sector was aggressively explored.
Liebreich said the cost of renewable energy was now 150 times less than what it was in 1970s and it makes sense to invest in such projects. For example, he said, Morocco’s wind energy plant will cost its citizens only three U.S. cents per kilowatt.
Experts also called for encouraging independent investors in the energy sector.
Prof. Anton Eberhard, director of infrastructure reform and regulation at the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business, said: "Independent investors add value to de-risking and provide government's confidence in these energy projects. Usually investors have governments asserting the confidence for investors to come in."
Former special representative to UN chief, Kandeh K. Yumkella, also called for Africa to take charge of the "fourth industrial revolution".
"The energy for the first industrial revolution came from African slaves. The second and third industrial revolution got its energy from this continent’s natural resources. If Africa is to be part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, then utilities must lead the way," he said.