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2012-01-25 | Discussion Paper

Integrating Renewable Energy and Climate Change Policies: Exploring Policy Options for Africa

Hailu, Yohannes G., Yacob Mulugetta, Lars J. Nilsson, Haruna Gujba, Mulugeta S. Kahsai, Tsehay Ataklt, and Youba Sokona, 2011,"Integrating Renewable Energy and Climate Change Policies: Exploring Policy Options for Africa", African Climate P
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Lack of access to energy services is one of the main constraints to economic development in Africa. Only about 31% of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa has access to electricity, with 14% access rate in rural areas. Compounding the challenge, traditional biomass supplies up to 85% of primary energy supply, and accounts for 80% of energy consumption. With limited energy efficiency, installed generation capacity and weak institutions and energy sector governance, energy security in Africa has become a critical concern.

Adaptation to climate change is another challenge to sustainable development in Africa. Even
though Africa contributes less than 4% of global GHG emissions, it is disproportionately
affected by climate change effects such as food security, water supply, biodiversity, climate-related diseases and other such effects. Energy and climate change are however related, as much of the GHG emissions are related to the way society produces, distributes and consumes energy.

This connection offers a policy opportunity that can allow the achievement of energy security
goals in a sustainable manner, and in less carbon-intensive ways. The joint exploration of
policies that can spur clean energy development that have inherent climate change mitigation
benefits is the main focus of this paper.

Renewable energy technology adoption can lead to larger mitigation outcomes while enhancing
access to clean energy. While coal- and fossil fuel-based energy production emit significant
carbon per unit of energy generated, hydro, bioenergy, wind and solar thermal and PV
technologies offer carbon-neutral energy generation opportunities. Therefore, reducing barriers
to renewable energy development through innovative public policy should interest energy and
climate policymakers. Such policies as net metering, feed-in tariff, renewable energy portfolios,
voluntary targets, production tax credits and fiscal incentives are shown to encourage clean
energy development.

To advance integrated renewable energy and climate change adaptation/ mitigation policies in
Africa, this paper recommends policies and strategies, including: (1) establishment of clear
energy and climate change adaptation/mitigation policies in Africa; (2) implementation of
renewable energy development-inducing policies; (3) creating conducive environments for
private-public partnerships in clean energy development; (4) enhancement of broader regional
and continental collaboration in energy and climate change policies; (5) accessing existing
international funding sources for promoting less carbon-intensive energy technologies; and (6)
implementation of energy portfolio diversification.

As African countries seek to develop their energy sector, renewable energy offers a great
opportunity. Recognizing the links between energy security and climate change, integrative
policies that advance energy development through less carbon-intensive technologies will remain
to be valuable. Energy and climate change policymakers and stakeholders are encouraged to
promote such innovative policies to meet energy and climate change challenges in the 21st
century.