Jay Doorga, Jim Hall and Nick Eyre
Africa has the potential to provide for its growing energy needs with renewable electricity sources. We implement a multi-criterial geospatial optimization to locate the most favorable sites for utility-scale, grid-connected onshore wind and solar PV. Legal, technical, political, environmental, socio-economic and investment risk factors were incorporated in the model. Analysis of the whole African continent revealed South Africa and Egypt to be amongst the most favorable countries for renewable investment, so these were subject to more in-depth analysis. The analysis revealed the favorable conditions offered by Egypt for solar energy installations are attributable to high yearly average insolation (278.3 W/m2), grid reliability, terrain appropriateness and political stability. Current heavy dependence on fossil fuels (165.7 billion kWh) means that there is great potential for emissions reduction from the power sector. South Africa, on the other hand, offers favorable conditions for wind installations due to high wind speeds (12 m/s at 100 m height), high fossil fuel electricity reliance (213 billion kWh), good political stability, and adequate techno-economic factors. The levelized cost of constructing wind farms in propitious sites in South Africa is 16.7% lower than building coal-fired power stations, while the levelized cost of constructing solar farms in optimum zones in Egypt is 29.7% lower than investing in combined-gas turbines and 37% lower than investing in diesel generators.
Doorga, J.R.S., Hall, J.W., Eyre, N. 2022. Geospatial multi-criteria analysis for identifying optimum wind and solar sites in Africa: Towards effective power sector decarbonization. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 158: 112107. 10.1016/j.rser.2022.112107Opens in a new tab
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