Kenya, Morocco lead in Africa’s renewable energy market

Kenya, Morocco lead in Africa’s renewable energy market

Morocco and Kenya are leading in Africa’s renewable energy market and already ahead of the global average. This according to analysis done by Ember’s Global Electricity Review.

The analysis indicates that almost a tenth of worldwide electricity was generated by wind and solar in 2020.  From 2014 to 2019, for when Africa data is available, only a third of the rise in Africa’s electricity demand was met with renewables, and two-thirds of the rise was met with fossil gas. However, the Corona virus brought the world to a halt in 2020 and paused the world’s rising demand for electricity. The slight drop in demand (-0.1%) was the first fall since 2009, although it was smaller than the impact of the financial crisis.

Wind and solar power showed resilient global growth in 2020 despite the pandemic, up by 15% (+314 TWh) versus 2019. The growth in wind and solar helped push coal power to a record fall of 4% (-346 TWh). Globally wind and solar doubled in the last five years to supply almost a tenth of global electricity in 2020. Among Africa’s leading economies, Morocco and Kenya had the highest levels of wind and solar, respectively generating 16% and 15% of their electricity from wind and solar in 2019.

Global average

Morocco has achieved a rapid increase in solar power, increasing from near-zero in 2015 to 4% of its electricity in 2019. It also increased its wind power from 9% of its electricity in 2015 to 12% in 2019. Kenya on the other hand has seen a rapid acceleration in wind power, increasing from less than 1% in 2015 to 14% in 2019. Solar power remains at less than 1% of Kenya’s electricity.

Across the G20, many countries mirrored the global average wind and solar share (9.4%) in 2020, including India (9%), China (9.5%), Japan (10%), Brazil (11%), the US (12%) and Turkey (12%). Europe is leading the way, with Germany at 33% and the UK at 29%, giving confidence in how wind and solar can be quickly built and integrated into the electricity system.

Emerging economies such as India and Turkey have accelerated their deployment of wind and solar to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. India’s wind and solar generation tripled in five years to provide 8.9% of total electricity production in 2020, now just below the global average. Lower electricity demand and wind and solar growth led to coal’s market share falling by 5% since 2015.

Fossil fuels

Fossil fuels generated 61% of the world’s electricity in 2020, down from 66% in 2015 when the Paris Agreement was signed. Coal was the single largest source, responsible for 34% of global electricity in 2020. The dataset of global electricity generation revealed that major African economies were significantly more reliant on fossil fuels for electricity than the world average of 61%.

Above-average levels of fossil fuels were observed in Nigeria (81%) and South Africa (89%) in 2020, also in Egypt (90%), Algeria (99%) and Morocco (79%) in 2019. South Africa stands out with by far the largest share of coal (86%) in Africa, over double the world average.

However, fossil fuel’s share of electricity is hugely varied across Africa, as many countries have far higher shares of clean electricity than the world average in 2020 (39%). Ethiopia, Kenya, Angola and Zambia all generated over 80% of their electricity from clean sources in 2019. Kenya recently pledged 100% renewable electricity by 2030, showing its commitment to a clean energy future.

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