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Walking the talk: Eswatini, Ghana, and Mauritius lead in renewables commitments

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

The International Renewable Energy Agency lists Eswatini, Ghana and Mauritius as the only African countries in the Paris Agreement that have committed to having a specified percentage of renewables in their overall energy mix by 2030.

Bonface Orucho, bird story agency.

The report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was released at a side event during the ongoing COP 27.

Having commitments that reflect a specific percentage of renewables in the overall energy mix in a country is vital because it "provides more clarity on the ambition with regard to climate goals, as they take account of phasing out or choosing to opt-out of fossil-based power."

The commitments are particularly significant for Africa, estimated to have "733 million people without access to electricity and some 2.4 billion people relying on traditional biomass for cooking."

"Aligning renewable energy targets in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and national energy plans would increase the effectiveness and credibility of both, and reinforce clear signals to investors, developers and other players across the supply chain, thus enabling further development of the renewable energy sector," the report noted.

Five years after Eswatini submitted its first NDCs, it revised these targets and submitted a revised copy in October 2021, targeting renewables as core areas of transition. The southern Africa Kingdom plans to double its share of renewables in its energy mix by 2030 relative to 2010 levels as the baseline.

According to the updated NDC, Eswatini seeks a "Greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 5% by 2030 compared to the baseline scenario and an economy-wide emission reduction. This can increase to 14% with external financing translating to 1.04 million tonnes fewer GHG emissions in 2030 compared to a baseline scenario."

Eswatini's National Adaptation Plans, National Climate Change Strategy and Action Plans are all developed consistent with the country's NDC.

Walking the talk- Eswatini, Ghana, and Mauritius lead in renewables commitments[Graphics: Hope Mukami]

Ghana also submitted its updated NDC in November 2021, revealing its plan to upscale renewable energy penetration to 10% of the energy total in the country by 2030. It also seeks to increase solar lantern replacement in two million rural non-electrified households.

According to the Integrated Power System Master Plan (IPSMP), the nation will add 520 MW of solar, 325 MW of wind, and 60 MW of hydroelectric capacity between 2022 and 2030.

Like Eswatini, Ghana has national action plans and strategies consistent with the NDC, including the Shared Growth Development Agenda II, the National Climate Change Policy and Low-Carbon Development Strategy.

President Akufo-Addo, while offering Ghana's national statement at the COP 27 conference, said, "Ghana is ready to launch projects which will tackle climate change at domestic and global levels." He also announced the country's launch of the Energy Transition Framework.

With an installed capacity of 83GW, the Energy Transition Framework intends to meet the anticipated demand of 380,000 GWh of electricity. Twenty-one gigawatts of renewable energy will be a part of Ghana's diverse energy mix, allowing Ghana to commercialise surplus renewable energy.

In Mauritius, the government released a Renewable Energy Roadmap 2030 for the Electricity Sector, charting the way to achieve 40% of renewables in the electricity mix by 2030.

This is an ambitious plan for Mauritius, considering that by 2018, 79.3% of energy was generated from non-renewable sources, principally petroleum products and coal and 20.7% from renewable sources, mainly bagasse, hydro, wind, landfill gas and solar.

Overall, the IRENA report acknowledges Africa's centrality in attaining 2030 renewable energy targets, noting that "sub-Saharan Africa accounts for just 2.6% of global targets for 2030, aiming for a capacity of 140 GW by 2030 (up from around 43 GW in 2021)."

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