Skip links

Spotlight On Africa’s Two Percent Share Of Global Green Energy

Africa accounts for a paltry 1.9 percent of the global share of developed renewable energy capacity, casting a light on the continent’s vastly untapped market.

Data compiled by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) puts the continent’s total installed green energy capacity at 48,443 megawatts (MW) for a population of 1.3 billion people.

This represents 1.9 percent of the renewable energy stock developed across the world totalling 2,536,853 MW. China alone accounts for 30 percent of the global share, putting its stock of green energy well ahead of all nations, followed distantly by the US while Germany is third.

“Renewable energy is a cost-effective source of new power that insulates power markets and consumers from volatility, supports economic stability and stimulates sustainable growth,” said IRENA director-general Francesco La Camera.

The shift to green energy away from polluting fossil fuels is seen to provide the society with ammunition in the fight against climate change.

In Africa, South Africa leads the way in total stock of green energy with 6,167 MW, followed by Egypt (5,972MW) while Ethiopia is third with a green pool of 4,450 MW.

Fourth is Morocco (3,264 MW) while DR Congo is fifth. Kenya, whose power generation mix is over 90 percent green, is placed ninth with an installed renewable energy capacity of 2,178MW.

The IRENA data shows that South Africa is the continent’s largest solar power producer with an installed capacity of 3,061MW and equally leads in wind energy production with 2,094MW.

On other hand, Ethiopia is the largest hydropower producer in Africa with a total capacity of 3,817MW while Kenya boasts the largest fleet of geothermal power plants with a nameplate capacity of 823MW.

Globally, China is light years ahead of the rest of the world with an installed green energy capacity of 758,626 MW, accounting for 30 percent of the global share. At a distant second is the United States with a cumulative green energy stock of 264,504 MW and accounting for 10.4 percent of the world’s share while Germany (125,386 MW) completes the top three club of green energy superpowers.

In 2019, renewable energy sector added 176,000 MW (176 GW) of generating capacity globally, with solar and wind accounting for 90 percent of the additions, according to the IRENA data.

The data further reveals that new renewable power accounted for 72 percent of all power expansion last year.

“With renewable additions providing the majority of new capacity last year, it is clear that many countries and regions recognise the degree to which the energy transition can deliver positive outcomes,” said IRENA director-general La Camera.

“While the trajectory is positive, more is required to put global energy on a path with sustainable development and climate mitigation – both of which offer significant economic benefits. At this challenging time, we are reminded of the importance of building resilience into our economies. In what must be the decade of action, enabling policies are needed to increase investments and accelerate renewables adoption,” he added.

Read also: Kenya Overtakes Italy, Joins Top Seven Geothermal Producers