South Africa, Kenya lead Africa in clean energy investments

A new study shows majority of clean energy investments in 2014 occurred in 55 developing nations, including 19 in Africa. This is good news for Africa at a time parts of the continent are feeling the impact of climate change.

According to Climatescope 2015, developing nations eclipsed the world’s wealthiest countries in 2014, attracting more clean energy investment worth a record $126 billion and building more wind, solar, and other renewable power generation than ever before.

South Africa is the first African nation on the index. Ranked fourth behind China, Brazil and Chile, the country recorded a global score of 1.91. The country’s cash-strapped power utility company Eskom just entered into a $159 million credit agreement with France’s development agency to help improve distribution of electricity from renewable- energy projects. This came as part of efforts to improve power in South Africa. The country’s power-supply system was plagued by rolling blackouts in the first half of this year affecting mining and manufacturing. Eskom supplies about 95 percent of South Africa’s power.

Kenya was ranked second in Africa on Climatescope 2015 with a global score of 1.71 and a global rank of 6. The East African nation has invested billions in renewable energy, especially through its Turkana Wind Power Project and Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen).

“Kenya has ambitious energy objectives, aiming to reach just under 22.7GW of power-generating capacity by 2033, under the Least-Cost Power Development Plan 2013-33. Clean energy sources are to play an important role in this development, with 45% of the capacity to use renewables (including large hydro but excluding solar),” the report said.

Uganda is the other African country to make the top 10, coming in at 9th with a global score of 1.63.

“Uganda has just over 900MW of power-generating capacity, of which 17% comes from renewable sources excluding large hydro,” the report states. “This is primarily small hydro projects and cogeneration capacity attached to sugar manufacturers. The state-owned Uganda Electricity Generating Company Limited (UEGCL) holds just under half – all of it large hydro – of the country’s on-grid generation capacity. That said, Uganda has a target to increase the share of modern renewables in total energy consumption to 61% by 2017 from 4% in 2007 – in 2014 it stood at 25%.”

Other countries in the ranking include Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia. See full list here.

Climatescope was first developed in 2012 by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group and the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). It initially evaluated 26 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2014, this was expanded to include 19 countries in Africa, 10 in Asia, as well as 15 provinces in China and 10 states in India owing to additional support from DFID and USAID.

Explaining the methodology, the report states: “A country’s ranking depends upon various factors: its clean energy investment policy, its market conditions, the structure of its power sector; the number and makeup of local companies operating in clean energy; and efforts toward reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The final output is the most comprehensive, one-stop source for decision makers to learn more about the market conditions for clean energy in these regions.”