Assessing the Needs, Gaps and Capacity Development Requirements for Open Source Tools for Energy Planning and Investment for Climate Action in Africa
Nguedia Nguedoung, Axel
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Africa is highly endowed with all forms of energy resources – both fossil and renewables. Yet, the continent is the only region in the world with the lowest access rate to electricity and clean energy for cooking. Accelerated efforts are needed if the huge energy deficit in the continent is to be closed towards meeting the development goals set in Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. Although, not a highly emitting region, The Paris Agreement on climate change provides the framework and opportunity for Africa to meet its increasing energy needs in a low carbon and climate resilient way. As such, all African countries have included renewable energy in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to climate action under the framework of the Paris Agreement. To better optimize Africa’s energy supply and meet the ambitious set in the INDCs for increased shares of renewable energies, there is a need to strengthen the institutional and individual capacity on the continent for optimum energy and investment planning of the available resources; taking into account all the different opportunities available in the continent. This study analyses the requirements of energy and investment planning. It assesses the gaps in energy planning of selected countries across the continent with focus on the enabling environment for renewable energies deployment and energy efficiency promotion. It also assesses the capacity development needs in energy planning across the continent with specific attention given on the use of energy planning tools - especially open source tools. The study has been done adopting reviewing method regarding the different energy planning tools available and their characteristics, and conducting a survey with different organizations across the continent using a questionnaire. The study reveals that the enabling environment in northern part of the continent is the one with less gaps regarding renewable deployment and energy efficiency promotion. The study reveals that as far as the enabling environment for renewable energy deployment is concerned, there is a wide gap regarding access of renewable energy based generation to the grid across the continent, however, the Northern African region is the region which records less gap. The institutional and legal framework is the area with less gap recorded in all regions excepted in Central Africa. Regarding energy efficiency, there is no general trend regarding the gaps that varies from one region to another. However, the Northern region is the one with less gaps. Across the continent, more than 35% of institutions surveyed require capacity building in the areas of resource assessment, institutional design, policy design, investment and project finance and in energy planning. More than 65% are requiring capacity building in the three last areas (policy design, investment and project finance and in energy planning). More specifically, regarding energy planning, 64% of surveyed institutions do not use energy planning tools to support the sector’s development policies and in the case these tools are used, 62% of institutions required skilled human resource. The study also shows that, open source energy planning tools, while having more or less same characteristics as traditional licensed tools, offer more flexibility in term of capability of integrating non-priced and price induced policies or addition of new technologies. It also demonstrates the application of open source tool in optimizing the electricity mix of the Central African region by 2030 in different scenarios. This showed that increasing power trade in electricity development plan of the region can generate up to 5% total cost savings and can enable countries with small electricity demand such as Equatorial Guinea to become net exporter with more than 50% of its electricity generated being exported.