African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI)
The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) is a transformative, Africa-owned and Africa-led inclusive effort to accelerate and scale up the harnessing of the continent’s huge renewable energy potential. Under the mandate of the African Union, and endorsed by African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC), the Initiative is set to achieve at least 10 GW of new and additional renewable energy generation capacity by 2020, and mobilize the African potential to generate at least 300 GW by 2030.
The AREI is firmly anchored in the context of sustainable development and climate change. It shows how low to zero carbon development strategies can be achieved in African countries through climate finance and means of implementation according to the principles of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It recognizes the critical importance of rapid expansion of energy access for enhanced well-being, economic development and the fulfilment of all Sustainable Development Goals.
The overall goals of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative are to:
Help achieve sustainable development, enhanced well-being, and sound economic development by ensuring universal access to sufficient amounts of clean, appropriate and affordable energy.
Help African countries leapfrog to renewable energy systems that support their low-carbon development strategies while enhancing economic and energy security.
The immediate establishment phase (2015 to mid-2016): Formal initiation of the AREI activities, including resource mobilisation, establishment of the governance and management structure and identification of Phase I projects that will be in the pipeline by mid-2016.
Phase I (2016-2020): In cooperation with bilateral and global partners, assessments, preparations and critical enabling activities at the continental African level as well as in a number of pioneering countries. Achievement of at least 10 GW new and additional generation capacity.
Phase II (2020-2030): Ambitious, full-scale roll-out of nationally determined policies, programmes and incentives as initiated under Phase I. Continuous project identifications, assessments and revisions for further scaling up to at least 300 GW new and additional generation capacity of renewable energy.
According to its guiding principles, the AREI will:
Contribute to achieving sustainable development in Africa by scaling up and accelerating the deployment and funding of renewable energy in Africa.
Address the entire African continent and benefit all African countries.
Boost intra-regional and international cooperation and promote and support only those activities and projects that are agreed by the countries concerned and impacted.
Promote all kinds of renewable energy technologies – in particular solar; wind; pico-, micro-, small- and medium-scale hydro; modern biomass; geothermal; and marine – provided they are socially and environmentally appropriate, gender-sensitive and in line with these guiding principles.
Promote the full range of renewable electricity applications, from grid-connected to mini-grids to small stand-alone systems, as well as other forms of energy, with particular consideration being paid to applications that meet the needs of poor people.
STRATEGIC FOCUS AND WORK AREAS
The AREI Action plan identifies specific activities under five Core Work Areas and four Cross-cutting Work Areas, all of which complement and build on work by other relevant stakeholders. These range from helping interested governments strengthen policy, regulatory, support and incentives frameworks to providing project development and support that ends with the financing of RE projects. A detailed Action Plan describes these nine elements in detail.
The AREI recognizes that the scale of African energy challenges is enormous, but so are the opportunities. Transformational change is both needed and possible, and must be stimulated by truly collaborative international efforts and goodwill. By fostering partnerships, bringing together existing initiatives, and mobilizing new international support for secure, distributed and people-oriented energy systems of the future, the Initiative will help African countries gain access to cleaner energy to drive their development and prosperity.
CORE WORK AREAS
Mapping of renewable energy policies, regulations, experiences and programmes
Strengthening of policy, regulatory and support frameworks
Capacity mobilization and building
Mobilization of finance for incentives and investment
Project development and support
CROSS-CUTTING WORK AREAS
Socio-economic and environmental assessments of renewable energy technologies
Wider context monitoring and assessment
Communications and outreach
LEAPFROGGING TO THE ENERGY SYSTEMS OF THE FUTURE
The AREI envisions smart, distributed energy systems that can handle a mix of renewable energy generation. With a highly diversified ownership base compared to that of conventional, centralized energy systems, a vast number of households, communities, cooperatives, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as larger companies, become both producers and consumers of electricity. This will enable Africa to leapfrog to the energy systems of the future.
ENERGY FOR DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTIVE SECTORS
The Initiative highlights the fact that as well as ensuring appropriate electricity access for households and families, access needs to be sufficient to also drive the productive sectors in both local and national contexts for job creation, economic development and increased resilience. This includes addressing the needs of small-scale farming and micro, small- and medium-scale enterprises in terms of both quantity and quality of access, and entails a vision of electricity access beyond the bare minimum requirements for households.
For poor people, increased access to energy means a potential for improved livelihoods. The Initiative will therefore promote unprecedented efforts to reach populations currently off national grids. It will plan for expanded access to electricity for social services as African societies develop social security provisions and other means of improving welfare for their populations over the coming decades.See more