Experts in wind energy said Thursday that wind alone could meet 250 times the energy demand of the African continent and create jobs lost due to the abandonment of fossil fuels, but it is clear that the continent has exploited only 0.01% of its potential.
With 724MW of new capacity added in 2020, wind projects are expanding rapidly, bringing the total to 6468MW for all of Africa – equivalent to taking more than 2 million cars off the road, said the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), which represents the sector.
The time has come to urgently develop wind energy in the region … as a driver of local employment and investment to fuel a green economic recovery from the pandemic.Emerson Clarke – coordinator of the GWEC Africa Task Force in Brussels
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa has warned that the continent is facing its first recession in 25 years due to production losses caused by COVID-19 and climate change-related droughts, floods, rising water levels and food insecurity.
According to Oxford University, non-hydro renewables, such as solar and wind power, account for only 3 percent of Africa’s electricity supply, and massive investments are needed to unlock its clean energy potential.
South Africa has the largest wind capacity, followed by Egypt and Morocco, according to GWEC. South Africa is also highly dependent on coal, making it one of the world’s largest emitters of carbon dioxide, a key contributor to climate change.
While the South African government is committed to achieving zero net carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, abandoning coal could cost tens of thousands of jobs.