Institute of Sustainable Energy: Bringing Power and Progress to Africa in a Financially and Environmentally Sustainable Manner

11:00 am on Thursday, April 16, 2020
12:00 pm on Thursday, April 16, 2020
Zoom Webinar
The future of electricity supply and delivery on the continent of Africa is a thorny challenge that calls for new approaches to infrastructure planning, development, finance and operation. Roughly 600 million people in Africa lack any access to electricity, and those who do have it suffer from very low levels of reliability and availability. Dramatic improvements in electricity access are therefore essential for Africa's advancement. The overarching questions: Will 20th-century approaches for electricity sector development based on centralized fossil fuel power plants be reinforced – with the potential to greatly exacerbate climate change emissions? Or can investments in 21st-century technologies (such as solar and wind energy, in smaller-scale and paired with storage) allow Africa to leapfrog to an electricity industry that is both more financeable and environmentally sustainable? Drawing on a growing body of published research, the Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) will present major findings and observations from its new paper Bringing Power and Progress to Africa in a Financially and Environmentally Sustainable Manner. The comprehensive survey describes the current state and possible futures for the African electricity sector, including recommendations to guide decision-making and action. The report finds that there is roughly a $1-trillion capital need for new infrastructure investment in generation and grid assets to bring universal access across Africa – and clarifies how participants seeking to advance the African electricity sector must navigate carefully the various risks and obstacles that impede successful infrastructure development and operation. All registered attendees will receive an advance copy of the paper. Key questions and considerations: What is the potential for renewable energy expansion across Africa? Is a Pan-African electricity transmission grid viable? What is the role of distributed energy infrastructure? How can risks associated with new infrastructure investments be mitigated? How will COVID-19 and the global economic downturn affect the report's conclusions and recommendations? Introductory remarks: Peter Fox-Penner, Director, ISE Moderator: Lawrence Jones, Senior Fellow, ISE and VP, Edison Electric Institute Researchers: Richard Stuebi, Senior Fellow, ISE, Primary Author Edem Adukonu, Research Assistant, ISE Live audience Q&A to follow.