Africa is Only Tapping Into 0.01% of its Wind Power Potential

Africa and the Middle East region installed 821 MW of new wind power capacity in 2020, with potential in the region barely scratching the surface

According to the latest data released by GWEC Market Intelligence, Africa and the Middle East region installed 821 MW of new wind power capacity in 2020, bringing total capacity in the region to over 7 GW. While this growth is stable for the region and nearly the same levels of the previous year despite COVID-19 impacting supply chains and project installation in key markets, wind power’s potential in the region is barely scratching the surface.

According to a report published by the IFC, the African continent alone has over 59,000 GW of technical wind resource potential – enough to power the continent’s energy demand 250 times over. Yet, the current installed wind power capacity in Africa only accounts for 0.01 percent of this potential.

Africa Wind Potential

The primary market driving growth in the region is South Africa, which installed 515 MW of new wind power capacity in 2020. Senegal came in second place for new capacity last year installing 103 MW, followed by Morocco (92 MW), Jordan (52 MW), Iran (45 MW), and Egypt (13 MW).

Overall, the total wind power capacity in the region is now over 7 GW, which helps to avoid 10.7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually – equivalent to taking 2.3 million passenger cars off the road.

Feng Zhao, Head of Market Intelligence and Strategy at GWEC said “Although we saw steady wind power growth in Africa and the Middle East in 2020, we are nowhere close to installing wind power capacity at the levels we could be, considering the massive resource potential in the region. South Africa continues to be the wind power leader in the region, with North African markets such as Morocco and Egypt increasingly driving growth. However, there are many more countries in the region that have yet to tap into their incredible wind power potential.”

“Although Iran and Jordan were the only markets in the Middle East to install new wind power capacity in 2020, this region will also be an increasingly important growth driver for wind power. Countries in the region such as Saudi Arabia that have been historically some of the world’s largest oil & gas producers and highest emitters of CO2 per capita are now committing to ambitious renewable energy and net-zero targets. However, while it is great to see this level of ambition, it must be backed up by the necessary regulatory frameworks that can provide long-term market visibility to scale-up growth at the right pace,” he added.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.

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