A People-oriented Energy Transition

Excerpt from energycapitalpower.com

One of the key themes of the current public debate is, with no doubt, energy and how crucial it is to guarantee the provision of basic services and the hold of the socioeconomic fabric. In the historical period of climate change, however, the discussion is every day more focused on how necessary is that energy becomes safe, sustainable and reliable, laying the foundations for the complex topic of the energy transition.

At this point, though, a question naturally arises: if the energy world is destined to mutate, which socioeconomic impact could derive from a transformation of such magnitude? And what outcome should we expect in regions which, like Africa, deal every day with considerable challenges?

These questions represent the basis for the new Flagship Publication of RES4Africa Foundation, Towards a Prosperous and Sustainable Africa: maximising the socioeconomic gains of Africa’s sustainable energy transition, designed and edited with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the United Nations Commission for Africa (UNECA).

The starting point of the reflection is that, in Africa, there’s still a lot to do. Although considerable progress has been made (115 million people gained access to energy between 2014 and 2019), there are still 24 countries where the electrification rate is below 50%. Unsatisfactory levels of access to energy go hand in hand with disappointing economic performances: if the African continent extended its availability of renewable energy sources, keeping its average temperature increase within 1.5° C, we could witness an increase in GDP up to 6.4%, with 28 million more jobs by 2050, of which 8 from renewables (IEA data). A greater use of green energy would have an extremely positive impact also from a social point of view: about 60% of African healthcare facilities do not have access to electricity, as doesn’t 90% of schools. Such a complex picture is complemented by further dimensions to consider, such as social justice, empowerment, gender equality and safety.