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Africa teems with clean energy prospects ahead of Invest in African Energy Forum

Africa teems with clean energy prospects ahead of Invest in African Energy Forum

European partners have been vocal about plans to boost clean, smart and secure investments in Africa’s energy sector.

In this regard, the EU’s Global Gateway Initiative aims to mobilize €150 billion across the continent through 2027.

Motivations for this range from securing the bloc’s own energy supplies, to strengthening energy diplomacy on the continent, to generating high returns on critical infrastructure investments.

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Given Europe’s focus on sustainable energy development, the upcoming Invest in African Energy (IAE) forum – taking place in Paris on May 14-15 – will showcase opportunities for the European and global private sector to develop and advance natural gas, renewable energy, green hydrogen and decarbonization technologies across the continent, with a view to supporting Africa’s role in the global energy transition.

LNG as fuel of the future

As Africa looks to develop its gas for domestic and export markets, LNG represents a critical investment avenue for European partners and investors. Representing a relatively clean-burning fossil fuel that can deliver energy reliably and to scale, LNG has been positioned as the fuel of the future and the key to meeting rising energy demand in Africa and globally.

European majors and independents are already at the helm of developing world-class LNG facilities across the continent, from bp’s Greater Tortue Ahmeyim LNG in Senegal and Mauritania, to Perenco’s Cap Lopez LNG Terminal in Gabon, to Eni’s Congo LNG in the Republic of Congo. The continent features myriad opportunities in the exploration, transport, processing and storage of natural gas and associated EPC contract value in establishing integrated gas value chains.

Renewables

Africa’s solar potential is measured at 7,900 GW – more than 1,000 times its current solar generation capacity – while wind potential is measured at 461 GW, which equates to 100 times the current wind generation capacity. The continent is home to considerable technical potential for hydropower – which accounts for approximately 17% of its electricity generation on average – and is set to overtake Europe in installed geothermal capacity by the end of the decade.

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Given Africa’s prolific energy needs, decentralized power solutions – particularly from renewables – hold the capacity to help electrify rural parts of the continent, while aligning with net-zero targets.

Green Hydrogen

Owing to its substantial and often co-located renewable resources, Africa provides optimal conditions for the development of green hydrogen and green ammonia, estimated to be able to produce a surplus of 20-40 million tons of green hydrogen per year by 2050. The continent is home to several major green hydrogen projects – namely, the 15 GW Aman project in Mauritania, 3 GW Tsau Khaeb project in Namibia and 4 GW SCZONE project in Egypt.

Germany has emerged as an active player in this domain by investing in and lending technical expertise to hydrogen development in Angola, Mauritania and Namibia, as well as pledging to invest €4 billion in sustainable energy projects in Africa – including renewable power, green hydrogen and critical raw mineral extraction – through 2030. The EU is targeting ten million tons of imported renewable hydrogen per year by 2030, offering development finance and production subsidies to help African countries develop their green hydrogen supplies.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCUS)

Capturing carbon dioxide produced from burning fossil fuels or as a by-product of industrial manufacturing processes, CCUS technology represents a dynamic investment opportunity within Africa’s energy transition. It holds a wide range of applications – from enhanced oil recovery to fuel production to waste-to-energy plants – and aligns with Africa’s decarbonization goals, while enabling much-needed energy production. CCUS projects are already underway in South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province – where it will capture carbon dioxide from coal-fired power stations – and at Egypt’s Meleiha Field, part of a broader $25-million, multi-phase CCUS project. CCUS aligns closely with the EU’s broader decarbonization goals and represents a strategic area of potential collaboration between European and African service providers by way of sharing best practices, technical expertise and technological innovation.

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