African Energy Chamber Projects Africa’s Power Demand To Keep Rising Between 4-5% Per Year

The silhouette of the evening electricity transmission pylon

By Precious John

Africa’s electricity generation capacity has grown at an average of 4.8 per cent per annum since 2008; The Chamber remains determined in its commitment to seek a fair and just resolution that puts forth the interests of African people, businesses, investors and economic growth; This is an excerpt taken from the Africa Energy Outlook 2021.

Total electricity generation in Africa stood at 870 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2019, an increase of 2.9 per cent from 846 TWh in 2018. Africa’s electricity generation capacity has grown at an average of 4.8 per cent per annum since 2008, compared to 2.7 per cent globally. Nonetheless, Africa’s share of global electricity generation has been around 3 per cent since 2000.

The African Energy Chamber forecasts that 2021 generation is likely to range between 870-900 TWh if demand picks up aggressively throughout the year following the gradual removal of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and economies opening more fully to international trade. Our base case forecast using a conservative 4.5 per cent yearly growth (current stated policies) shows that electricity generation on the continent will increase by 25 per cent, 55 per cent and 141 per cent of 2020 baseline levels to reach 1,057, 1,138 and 2,047 TWh by 2025, 2035 and 2040 respectively. This increases to 1,520 in 2030 and 2,700 TWh in 2040 in a more aggressive push to expand capacity at 6 percent per annum.

The latter assessment is premised on Africa aggressively pushing to expand electricity supply and modern energy services within the framework of the Africa Agenda 2063 on energy and infrastructure development. This will ensure that generation expansion will outpace population growth on the continent (Africa will have 1.8 and 2.45 billion people by 2040 and 2050).

Regarding the supply mix, natural gas (39 per cent) constitutes the largest element in Africa’s electricity generation mix, followed by coal (29 per cent), hydro (15 per cent) and oil (10 per cent).

While nuclear energy accounted for another 2 per cent, the share of renewables (RE) in Africa’s generation mix is growing, albeit at a lower pace than in other regions (5 percent). Most of the RE growth comes from solar, wind and geothermal power plants, and this expected to continue into 2030. Africa generated 830 megawatts (MW), 5,748 MW and 7,236 MW of geothermal, wind and solar installed capacity in 2019, signifying growth rates of 17.4 per cent, 26.1 per cent and 60.2 per cent respectively since 2010.

Nonetheless, most of these RE developments on the continent are limited primarily to Northern (Morocco, Egypt) and South-Eastern Africa (South Africa, Kenya). Given the declining costs of key RE technologies along with rising concerns over CO2 emissions, the level of renewables deployment, particularly solar and wind energy is expected to increase by 1.5 per cent annually over the next decade to 2030.

Regarding sectoral electricity consumption, the industrial sector remains the continent’s largest user (41 per cent) followed by residential (33 per cent), commercial and public services (18 per cent) and agriculture (4 per cent). Transport consumes a small proportion (approximately 1 per cent) while the remaining 3 percent was accounted for by other sectors.

At a sub-regional level, North Africa and South Africa account for more than 70 per cent of Africa’s electricity demand.

  • Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt taken from the Africa Energy Outlook 2021.

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