The energy appetite of African countries increases rapidly with the economic growth of the countries. The demand for cheap and reliable energy is enormous. As a result, the governments of countries such as Congo, Mozambique, and Angola rely on coal-fired power plants and the corresponding investment offers from China and India. A coal-fired power plant takes about 35 years to recover from the high investment costs. This would mean decades of huge carbon dioxide emissions.
Around 950 new coal-fired power plants are being planned or under construction.
The power plants are planned all over the continent, except for the emerging country of South Africa. This would result in annual carbon dioxide emissions of about 100 million tonnes. Along with other fossil fuel projects, the energy production of the continent will be doubled by 2030. It is frightening that if nothing changes, less than 10% of the new power generated will come from wind or solar. The commissioning of as many carbon dioxide-emitting coal-fired power plants as possible must be prevented. This is where climate change is decided!
The role of investors.
China’s state-owned enterprises have played a major role in the development of Africa’s energy infrastructure since the Communist Party unveiled its foreign-oriented strategy in the early 2000s. Increasingly, Chinese lenders are urging African governments to use cheap coal to support Chinese contractors and equipment manufacturers, as the coal energy sector in China is no longer booming as it used to be.
Is there a solution for greener energy?
Since about 50 percent of the projects are in the temporary planning phase, they could simply be stopped if government priorities shift or funding problems arise. An energy partnership with the European Union or aid from other developed countries can slow down this development. If an African bond and private investors are strengthened, this could also help promote greener methods of energy production. Currently, it looks like projects are being canceled, but the situation is still uncertain.
Global climate policy must focus on economic expansion in poorer countries and help promote zero-emission energy-supply alternatives! Clean energy from the deserts is a necessity for the future as the unused land is ideal for solar and wind energy.
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