Addis Abeba, June 19th, 2019
RES4AFRICA Foundation held its 7th Annual Conference 2019 in Addis Abeba in June 19, convening stakeholders from public and private sector to discuss how to scale up renewables in Africa.
At its first major event after becoming a Foundation, RES4AFRICA outlined its commitment to deploying large scale and decentralized renewable solutions in African markets to meet local energy needs for sustainable growth. The event also represented the intention by RES4AFRICA to start holding their annual conference on African soil from now on, after the maiden edition in Ethiopia.
The motto of the day was that renewables are happening, boosted by their economic advantage over fossil fuels, but the pace is not enough. The falling cost of renewable energy actually means renewables are now frequently the cheapest source of new power generation, as pointed out by a new IRENA report. But albeit their economic advantage, or even considering the environmental benefits of clean electricity generation, the speed and scale of renewable developments across Africa is not reassuring.
The energy access gap in a continent with strong demographic growth and fast evolving energy demand is indeed growing and represents a core concern in national and international institutions’ agendas. As highlighted by some of the distinguished guests, including Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, Africa is one of the regions in the world where energy demand is growing and projected to double in less than 50 years.
Scaling up renewable energy solutions deployment across Africa, both large scale solutions as well as decentralized and off-grid solutions, requires a focus on some priority areas. Antonio Cammisecra, RES4AFRICA President, highlighted the four major areas of work for the Foundation: assessments of market readiness for renewables; focus on Water-Energy-Food nexus; the set up of a one-stop-shop program instrument to support effective development of impactful renewable energy projects through RenewAfrica; and the importance of education and vocational training for the development of renewables in Africa.
Enel Foundation involvement
Two of the projects highlighted during the conference on the topic of education include relevant contribution from Enel Foundation. The Advanced Training Course for professionals working across Africa on the energy sector, which is going into its VI Edition starting in November in Milan, and the Microgrid Academy. The academy focuses on vocational training for technicians and held its third session in 2019, previous sessions took place in January and May in Kenya, on the sidelines of the RES4AFRICA conference in Addis Abeba at the local Institute of Technology.
Mr. Milkias Ber, an alumni from Open Africa Power program, was involved as a trainer on the Microgrid Academy session. As part of his give-back commitment after exploring the state of the art and the new frontiers of the clean energy transition in the education venture by Enel Foundation, Mr. Ber was sharing his knowledge with the 50 participants of the Micro-Grid Academy training session.
In addition, Enel Foundation was also involved in the latest contribution to the debate on the Water-Energy-Food nexus by supporting RES4AFRICA flagship publication “Africa’s Future Counts”. The book explores the opportunities around new business models linking renewable electricity generation with water and food projects as a way to help scale up green power generation and decarbonization in different sectors.
In a closing statement of the book, jointly signed by Roberto Vigotti, Secretary General of RES4AFRICA Foundation, and Carlo Papa, Director of Enel Foundation, the authors call for “scalable solutions to accomodate growing water, food and energy needs of Africa in a sustainable and resilient setting”.