2014 renewable energy investments in sub-Saharan Africa to reach $5.9 billion

Bloomberg reports that renewable energy investments in sub-Saharan Africa (predominantly South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia) will in 2014 reach the $5.9 billion mark, and grow to $7.7 billion in 2016. These investments far-outweigh any efforts to increase renewable capacity in the region between 2000 and 2013. Approximately 1.8 gigawatts of wind and solar power capacity, excluding sizable hydroelectric power plants are still to be commissioned this year.

“What is different now is the breadth of activity, with wind, solar and geothermal exciting interest in many different countries and the potential for further growth,” Victoria Cuming, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst, said in a company statement.

Renewable wind, geothermal, as well as  small and large scale utility solar projects are set to lead the way as “renewables can represent a cost-effective alternative, particularly compared to diesel generation but also to power stations burning coal or gas,” said the Bloomberg statement.

South Africa is estimated to have 3.9 gigawatts of wind and solar power installed between 2014 and 2016. During the same time, Kenya is expected to add 1.4 gigawatts and Ethiopia will install 570 megawatts stemming mostly from geothermal and wind capacity.

Climate Progress states that Africa has in the past come under the global spotlight for its potential to increase its share of renewable energy, and goes on to say that : In 2008, a World Bank report noted Sub-Saharan Africa’s “huge technical potential for clean energy projects,” and this year, the International Renewable Energy Agency said that, if “substantial flows” of investments are directed toward Africa, the continent’s renewable energy capacity could quadruple to about 120 gigawatts by 2030. Also this year, information company IHS ranked South Africa as the “world’s most attractive emerging country for solar energy,” due to South Africa’s goal of installing 8.4 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity by 2030 and its success so far in securing funds toward that goal.’