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Low-carbon energy projects for development in sub-Saharan Africa. Unveiling the potential, addressing the barriers

Publication date:
C. de Gouvello
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This study aims to evaluate sub-Saharan Africa’s potential for clean energy projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol. It also looks at the technical opportunities available and discusses how sub-Saharan Africa’s clean energy project potential can be unlocked.It is argued that countries across the region stand to benefit from an increasing array of financial instruments - from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Carbon Finance (CF) products to the newly created Climate Investment Funds (CIF) - with which to develop clean and efficient energy. These and other innovative instruments can help to channel the additional funds needed for investing in new and existing generation assets to increase energy services via efficiency improvements or by turning net energy consumers into net producers in return for avoidance of future GHG emissions. Using such instruments, global efforts to combat climate change can provide the region’s countries energy solutions for sustainable socio-economic development.The study concludes that:

it is essential to fill the regulatory and logistics gaps that prevent clean energy projects from access to energy markets - without appropriate market access, the energy development and global environmental benefits of clean energy projects cannot be achieved
market access requires appropriate infrastructure planning and policies to overcome logistics bottlenecks - meeting this challenge requires appropriate clean-energy and infrastructure development planning and supporting policy and financing mechanisms
technical information on mature, clean-energy technologies must be appropriately disseminated - in sub-Saharan Africa, sustainable clean-energy development is hindered by a lack of technical knowledge and information sharing, capacity, and effective communication, including necessary background data and inventory of potential energy sources
local skills development is required to operate specific mature, clean technologies - in sub-Saharan Africa, a significant share of GHG emissions results from improper maintenance schemes, caused by a labour force lacking appropriate skills.