West African power pool: planning and prospects for renewable energy
1st June 2013
With the energy systems of many African countries dominated by fossil-fuel sources that are vulnerable to global price volatility, regional and intra-continental power systems with high shares of renewable energy can provide least-cost option to support continued economic growth and address the continent’s acute energy access problem. Unlocking Africa’s huge renewable energy potential could help to take many people out of poverty, while ensuring the uptake of sustainable technologies for the continent’s long-term development.
This report examines various scenarios for accelerated renewable energy uptake, based on a modelling tool developed by IRENA and tested with assistance from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Initial results from the System Planning Test model for West Africa covering all continental ECOWAS countries, show that the share of renewable technologies in the region could increase from the current 22% of electricity generation to as much as 52% in 2030, provided that the cost of these technologies continues to fall and fossil fuel prices continue to rise. In this scenario, nearly half of the envisaged capacity additions between 2010 and 2030 would be with renewable technologies.
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