This working paper outlines the state of knowledge that will serve as a basis for the Scenarios & Strategies for Africa project. The goal of the project is to prepare in-depth analysis and use models and scenarios to support and feed into national renewables readiness assessments. It will focus on innovation and technology issues for 2035, with an outlook to 2050. The longer-term perspective is needed as emerging issues and constraints should be considered in decisions. The focus of this analysis is limited to renewable energy and renewable energy technologies as a means to overcome energy challenges. Renewables are attractive for a number of reasons, but their use must be seen in the light of competing fossil energy use options.