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The African Development Bank just announced that private investors have raised enough funds to add a whopping 1.1GW of wind power to Africa’s grid. Currently wind power only makes up one percent of electricity production on the continent, but 76 new projects are set to multiply that figure ten-fold.
Projects such as the €115million Lake Turkana wind power project in Kenya, which would add 300MW to power generation capacity are set to increase Africa’s wind output.
“When you look at the on-going and planned projects, you see actually over 50 percent of the projects being sponsored by the private sector,” said African Development Bank economist Emelly Mutambatsere, who also noted that the liberalisation of electricity markets had aided investment. “The state still plays a big role in a lot of the countries, but a number of countries have liberalised to some extent.”
To date, wind power has seen success largely in North Africa as Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco adopt the clean technology. But sub-Saharan countries have been slower to adopt renewable energy solutions—countries that include South Africa, the continent’s heaviest carbon emitter thanks to substantial coal usage.
As such, wind power production projects have drawn $5 billion in investments, according to the energy ministry. In a statement, South African Wind Energy Association CEO Johan van den Berg said: “There’s a huge boom going on in South Africa in wind and renewables. South Africa previously had eight operative wind towers or turbines and there’s about 250 under construction at the moment.”
“There’s been a veritable flood of companies out of their home markets in Europe into developing economies generally and Africa is one of those focal areas.”