Designing Low Carbon Electricity Futures for African and Other Developing Countries

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wind and solar resources are abundant throughout the world, but their dependence on uncontrollable factors such as weather has been one of the biggest impediments to their development.

However in recent years, countries such as Denmark and Germany have pioneered and adopted strategies, planning tools, and technologies to cost-effectively and reliably manage these integration challenges. 

By leveraging these strategies, practices, and technologies early in the evolution of their electricity grid systems, African and other developing economies could leapfrog to clean, reliable, low-impact, and cost-efficient energy systems and avoid increasingly riskier investments in coal and large hydroelectric dam projects.

In this paper, we examine several recent studies to assess the prospects for renewable energy development in developing countries, with a particular emphasis on African countries.

We first demonstrate that the changing economics of wind and solar technologies are making them increasingly cost-effective, while coal and large hydroelectric projects are becoming riskier investments due to significant cost overruns, uncertainty in future fuel costs, and climate change.

We then present the evidence of large potential for wind and solar resources and discuss opportunities for their development with low social and environmental impacts.

Finally, we highlight different emerging strategies that are being deployed around the world to efficiently manage the variability and uncertainty of large-scale grid-connected wind and solar energy generation.

Download the full report Designing Low Carbon Electricity Futures for African and Other Developing Countries.