Namibia leads in sub-Saharan Africa in the race to achieving net-zero emissions in energy generation and consumption, followed by Ghana and Kenya, according to the World Economic Forum.
In its Energy Transition Index 2020 assessing most prepared countries to transition to sustainable clean energy, the Geneva-based agency ranks Namibia at position 64 globally, the best score in sub-Saharan Africa. It is followed by Ghana at position 66 worldwide while Kenya completes the top-three category on the continent at position 79.
Africa’s two largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, fare worse off in the rankings, coming in at position 113 and 106 respectively.
The index analyses each country’s readiness to adopt clean energy based on three criteria – energy access and security; environmental sustainability; and economic development and growth.
“Colombia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kenya, Morocco, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates have achieved substantial gains on their transition readiness, by targeting improvements along multiple enablers,” the agency says in its report.
Kenya’s generation mix stood at 94.7 percent green last month, comprising geothermal, hydropower, wind and solar sources.
Geothermal is serving as Kenya’s baseload while hydropower stations, which are very flexible to adjust power output, are acting as spinning reserve for balancing out fluctuations in wind and solar sources. This synchronised ecosystem is working just fine, indicating renewables can be self-sustaining. Less than five percent generation comes from thermal plants, mostly during peak demand in the evenings.
The past decade has seen rapid transformations as countries move towards clean energy generation, supply and consumption amid rallying global calls for shifts away from fossil-fuel energy sources to help tame greenhouse gas emissions.
The World Economic Forum now says that robust long-term policies are needed to guard against shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.
It says that while lockdowns have caused a temporary drop in carbon emissions, the pandemic risks derailing recent progress in addressing the world’s energy challenges.
“With pressure to get idle economies back to “normal”, the short-term shift to a more sustainable energy sector could be in doubt. But the current crisis also presents an opportunity to rethink how our energy needs are met, and consider the long-term impact on the planet,” it says.
Globally, Sweden tops the overall rankings for the third consecutive year as the country most ready to transition to clean energy, followed by Switzerland and Finland.
“Top-ranked countries share a reduced reliance on imported energy, lower energy subsidies and a strong political commitment to transforming their energy sector to meet climate targets,” the report says.