Potential of Renewable Energy in Africa
Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s former Vice President and global advisor of the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), highlighted the significant potential of renewable energy in reducing energy costs and carbon emissions in Africa. He made these remarks during his address at New York University’s Abu Dhabi Campus.
Reducing Energy Costs and Emissions
Osinbajo argued that by focusing on renewable energy resources, Nigeria and the rest of Africa could see a reduction in energy costs by 30% and a decrease in carbon emissions by 90%.
Climate-Positive Growth and Economic Development
He emphasized the opportunity for Africa to become a green industrial region and focus economic growth and development on green opportunities. Osinbajo cited the example of processing bauxite into aluminium using renewable energy, which could save 335 million tonnes of CO2 annually, create 280,000 jobs, and generate $37 billion in additional revenue for Africa.
Renewable Energy as a Reliable Power Source
According to Osinbajo, Africa’s abundant renewable energy resources, with low intermittency, can provide reliable renewable base-load power for industrial production. He compared the costs of solar, wind, and battery storage systems in Nigeria and Germany, highlighting the affordability in African nations.
Africa’s Untapped Renewable Potential
Africa’s renewable energy potential, which includes solar, wind, geothermal, and hydro resources, is vastly untapped and could meet 50 times the anticipated global electricity demand by 2040. Osinbajo stated that Africa could achieve green and economic growth without increasing emissions.
Need for Equitable Market Access and Fair Carbon Credit Pricing
He called for fair market access for green products and services and equitable pricing in the carbon credit market. The current low prices in the voluntary carbon market, he argued, do not cover the costs of generating quality credits.
Challenges in Financing and International Financial Architecture
Osinbajo pointed out the high cost of borrowing for African countries and the need for interventions such as operationalizing the Loss and Damage Fund agreed upon at COP27 and committing to $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries. He also called for reform of the international financial architecture to support climate-aligned investments.