Power Africa launches new initiatives at COP21 in Paris

09 Dec 2015, 12:00 am
Financial Nigeria


Scaling up access to cleaner electricity helps mitigate climate change and enhances resilience to climate shocks.

President Obama at the Power Africa Innovation Fair in Kenya, July 25, 2015

During the ongoing United Nations Climate Conference (COP 21) in Paris, Power Africa, the U.S. government partnership with African governments to double access to electricity in sub Saharan Africa, launched new tools to support the development of renewable energy across the region.  

According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), scaling up access to cleaner electricity helps mitigate climate change and enhances resilience to climate shocks. To address sub-Saharan Africa's energy challenge, reducing the energy-related drivers of climate change will require an intensive effort to build and upgrade the continent's energy infrastructure.

The new partnerships announced by Power Africa in Paris include a partnership with the government of Norway to expand off-grid and mini-grid efforts; leverage Norway's expertise in hydropower; support regional power pools to increase renewable energy generation; and supports gender-inclusive growth in the power sector. The Norwegian government is committing to bring 1,500 MW online over a five-year period. This will contribute to Power Africa's overall 30,000 MW electricity generation goal.

Power Africa has also partnered with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to focus on expanding information-sharing to further renewable energy growth in sub-Saharan Africa. The partnership will explore sharing publicly-available information on specific project opportunities and pipelines through IRENA's Sustainable Energy Marketplace and Power Africa's transaction tracking database to accelerate the scale-up of investments to promote the initiation, development and financing of low-carbon renewable energy projects.

A partnership with the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) looks to expand and leverage investments in cleaner energy; support power pools and other interventions to increase cleaner energy power generation and access to power through regional integration. There will also be collaboration on the DFID-led Energy Access campaign to accelerate growth in Africa’s solar industry and advance the full participation of women in the energy sector.

The Power Africa initiative also launched at COP 21 the Efficiency for Access (E4A) Coalition together with Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP) and Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All).  are announcing at COP21 the E4A Coalition. This new tool aims to mobilize global support for the development and deployment of super-efficient, high-quality energy products and services in order to unlock the massive potential of energy efficiency as an energy access resource.

The initiative, Women in African Power, was also launched by Power Africa. It is a network dedicated to advancing the role and representation of women within the energy sector in Africa. The French-language version of the Power Purchase Agreement Handbook, launched a year ago by Power Africa, through the U.S. Department of Commerce's Commercial Law and Development Program.

Power Africa will announce a new commitment of up to $10 million in support for the European Union's Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI), a joint venture that includes many Power Africa partners, to fund rural power projects across Africa. On their part, USAID and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) announced that they will be partnering with a local financial institution to support the renewable energy and agriculture sectors in Zambia.

The U.S. Government's initial commitment of $7 billion to Power Africa has leveraged nearly $43 billion in commitments from over 120 public and private sector partners. Power Africa has helped projects expected to generate over 4,100 MW of new, cleaner electricity reach financial close and is actively supporting an additional 22,000 MW of projects.