New study: Feed-in Tariffs can unlock Africa's untapped renewable energy potential

World Future Council, Heinrich Böll Foundation and Friends of the Earth UK launch comprehensive policy guide for African decision makers

Doha, Johannesburg, Hamburg, November 30: A new report for policy makers launched today by the World Future Council and the Heinrich Böll Foundation at the UN climate summit COP 18 in Doha, Qatar shows that Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff policies (REFiT) are a promising mechanism to unlock the renewable energy development in Africa. REFiTs encourage investment in renewable energy generation – from individual home owners and communities to big companies – by guaranteeing to buy and pay for all the electricity produced. When tailored to the local context, such a policy can successfully increase overall energy production in both on and off-grid areas. Moreover, the decentralized nature of REFiTs allows for alternative ownership and governance models and provides the opportunity to empower communities as well as revitalising local democracy and self-governance.

The report, which is also supported by Friends of the Earth, provides an in-depth analysis of existing policies in 13 African countries: Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. The case studies examine the socio economic effects of REFiTs and present and analyse both supportive and obstructive factors for successful policy implementation. In addition, the report identifies a variety of national and international measures to shift financial resources towards renewable energy uptake such as levies on fossil fuels or contributions from the United Nation's Green Climate Fund.

Africa is facing an energy crisis since the growing demand for electricity cannot be met by existing production capacity. The electricity needed to power and grow the economy, drive local development and tackle urban and rural poverty is simply not there. In addition, traditional sources have become unreliable, unaffordable or increasingly unacceptable. Energy has been described as the ‘missing millennium development goal' that enables others to be achieved, yet according to the World Bank less than 25% of Sub-Saharan households have access to electricity, falling to 10% in rural areas.

Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariffs have been successful at increasing the use of renewable technologies worldwide. As of 2012, 65 countries have implemented some form of a REFiT, driving 64% of global wind installations and 87% of global photovoltaic installed capacity.

While the majority of these installations have occurred in industrialised countries, particularly Europe, the African continent has significant untapped renewable energy potential.

"In finding a sustainable, affordable and reliable energy solution to meet its needs, Africa has the opportunity to leapfrog the dirty development pathways of industrialised countries," says Ansgar Kiene, Director of the WFC Africa office. "This study is a perfect guide for policy makers on how to achieve this shift. Africa can power its economies and its societies through renewable energy and it does not necessarily have to wait for international agreements."

"REFiTs are most successful as an integral part of a country's wider development strategy" adds Patrick Berg of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. "Thus, high-level political support as well as buy-in from civil society and the private sector are crucial factors for the successful development and implementation of a REFiT."

World Future Council

The World Future Council brings the interests of future generations to the centre of policy-making. Its 50 eminent members from around the globe have already successfully promoted change. The Council addresses challenges to our common future and provides decision makers with effective policy solutions. The World Future Council is registered as a charitable foundation in Hamburg, Germany. | |

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