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A decade of patchy progress for the African power sector

The latest figures from African Energy Live Data show that across the continent generation capacity additions have improved dramatically over the past decade. However, many long-term goals remain unattained. While the share of renewables is steadily increasing, private companies still struggle to make inroads in an industry dominated by often all but insolvent state utilities

Three key takeaways from the 2019 update:

  • at 9.6GW, 2019 saw the lowest net increase in installed capacity since 2014, with the continent at the crux of several transitions, most notably towards greater use of renewable energy and private sector-led development;
  • gas-fired power plants added most capacity (2.2GW) during the year, but also saw the biggest drop in new additions year-on-year. This is explained by Egypt’s huge gas procurement programmes being mostly realised in 2018; and
  • there was a step change in solar power, as more than twice as much capacity was brought online in 2019 (1,879MW) than any previous year. The project pipeline as recorded in African Energy Live Data suggests that this will be sustained, with 2.2GW scheduled for commissioning in 2020 pre-coronavirus and 1.9GW in 2021.

The African Energy Live Data 2019 update shows that 9.6GW of net new capacity was added on the continent during the 2019 calendar year. The figure includes off-grid and embedded plants in the public domain, as well as on-grid facilities. This is just over half of the capacity added in 2018 and significantly less than the five-year 2014-18 average of 13.2GW. The slowdown was widespread. Only 2.8GW was added in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) excluding South Africa – this is the lowest amount since 2014 and is also significantly lower than the 2014-18 average of 3.8GW.

Read the full analysis (with supporting graphics) on CbI's African Energy website

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