The African Development Bank (AfDB) has supported its member countries in their energy development initiatives for more than four decades. With growing concerns about climate change, AfDB has identified a host of clean energy projects and programs in its pipeline for 2010-2014 to set Africa on a low carbon growth path and develop clean energy systems in the African continent. The AfDB’s Clean Energy Investment Framework aims at promoting sustainable development and contributing to global emissions reduction efforts by using a three-pronged approach: maximize clean energy options, emphasize energy efficiency and enable African countries to participate effectively in CDM sector.
The FINESSE Africa Program, financed by the Dutch Government, has been the mainstay of AfDB’s support of renewable energy and energy efficiency since 2004. FINESSE programme has been instrumental in developing a portfolio of sustainable energy projects for the Bank. In addition, the Bank’s Private Sector Department, with support from the Danish Renewable Energy Technical Assistance, has compiled a project pipeline comprised of small- to large-scale wind-power projects, mini, small and large hydro-power projects, cogeneration power projects, geothermal power projects and biodiesel projects across Africa. The AfDB’s interventions to support climate change mitigation in Africa are driven by sound policies and strategies and through its financing initiatives the Bank endeavors to become a major force in clean energy development in Africa.
South Africa, the most industrialized country in Africa, is highly dependent on conventional fuels which make it one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world. Coal provides around 75% of the fossil fuel demand and accounts for 90% of power generation in the country. A smooth transition to a low-carbon society requires diversification of energy resources to other energy forms, especially renewable energy. The country is endowed with abundant sunshine, good wind regimes and attractive biomass feedstocks which could provide sufficient means to replenish energy supplies and counter environmental degradation.
According to the Government’s White Paper on Renewable Energy Policy (2003), renewable energy projects are aimed to deliver the equivalent of 10,000 GWh by 2013, from wind, solar, biomass and hydro resources. Some of the larger projects that are under development include the Darling wind farm and the Bethlehem hydro scheme. Other projects such as landfill to gas and existing hydro-electric power stations are already making a contribution. South Africa, like other developing countries, faces the dual challenge of pursuing economic growth and environmental protection, and sustainable energy systems offer the possibility of resolving this problem.
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