Africa may be the first region to power its economic growth through renewable energy rather than fossil fuel, the head of the International Energy Agency Fatih Biro said as he launched the World Energy Outlook 2015 (WEO 2015).
He said the governments’ push to get electricity to two out of three people in Africa who do not have access to power will support the drive towards renewable energy. Besides, the costs of producing solar energy continue to fall, with the price of solar panels having dropped by 75 percent over 2009-14.
Although depressed crude prices are affecting Africa’s exporters such as Libya, Algeria, Nigeria and Angola, the continent’s eastern states such as Mozambique and Tanzania are emerging as significant natural gas exporters and users. WEO 2015 predicts that by 2040, nearly 40 percent of power generation capacity in Africa will be from renewables.
The report predicts that renewable will overtake coal as the largest source of power generation by the early 2030s. However, even though electricity consumption will grow by more than 70 percent, some 550 million people will still not have access.
The report predicts that by 2040 the demand for energy in southeast Asia will rise by 80 percent and by 70 percent in the Middle East. It says 90 percent of this energy will still be provided by domestic oil and natural gas.
The WEO 2015 expects Latin America to continue to be a world leader in biofuels. Here, energy demand will increase by 50 percent and it will expand its share of renewable energy to rise to 35 percent.