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SA seen as green energy model for Africa

About 30 African countries experience regular outages but there is much to learn from SA, experts say.

FILE: The continent’s electricity needs grew by 80 percent since 2005, a report released by the International Renewable Agency (IRENA) at SAIREC said. Picture: Free Images

CAPE TOWN - Africa should learn from South Africa's renewable energy drive, which has led to a sharp drop in green power prices thanks to benign regulation and infrastructure investment, industry players said on Tuesday.

Four years since President Jacob Zuma's government launched its renewable energy plan, it has fed over 1,000 MW of power into its strained system, which regularly plunges millions of homes into darkness and shaves about one percent of growth in Africa's most industrialised economy.

"Africa is blessed with huge amounts of sun, wind and biomass and South Africa's example of putting in stable regulation should inspire other countries to scale up its renewable energy production," Christine Lins, the executive secretary at REN21, a green energy policy network told the South African International Renewable Energy Conference (SAIREC).

About 30 African countries experience regular outages, costing their economies as much as two percent of GDP. The continent's electricity needs grew by 80 percent since 2005, a report released by the International Renewable Agency (IRENA) at SAIREC said.

But energy generation companies say without a reliable policy, investment is risky.

"We need a regulatory framework that provides certainty that there will be a stable market," Corne van de Wethuizen of Germany's juwi Renewable Energies said.

"There needs to be certainty that the Power Purchase Agreements are backed for the entire duration to limit financial risks," he said.

Juwi has worked on several South African wind and solar projects which have to date attracted R192 billion in investment for 92 plants.

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