The UK invests over £50m into clean energy projects in Africa

Yoana Cholteeva 22 January 2020 (Last Updated January 22nd, 2020 15:10)

The UK Government has announced investments worth over £50m into innovative, clean technology as the UK works with African countries to develop sustainable energy sources.

The UK invests over £50m into clean energy projects in Africa
African energy demand is set to rise by 60% by 2040, according to a IEA report. Source Jeanine Smal

The UK Government has announced investments worth over £50m into innovative, clean technology as the UK works with African countries to develop sustainable energy sources.

The government announced the winners of the investment packages for the continent’s clean energy infrastructure at the African Investment Summit in London on 21 January 2020, which will go towards projects that aim to provide thousands with clean energy.

The approved projects include solar farms in Kenya, geothermal power stations in Ethiopia and clean energy storage in sub-Saharan Africa. The countries will receive funding and support as UK scientists and financial experts will work with their African counterparts to realise the continent’s significant renewable energy potential. The UK will also assist the countries with attracting investment for innovative renewable projects, such as wind and solar farms.

The government underlined that close collaboration with African countries will be key as the UK prepares to host the UN climate talks (COP26) later this year.

Business and energy secretary Andrea Leadsom said “Our world-leading scientists and financial experts will work hand in hand with African nations to support their quest for energy security, powering new industries and jobs across the continent with a diverse mix of energy sources while promoting economic growth.”

Speaking at the summit, Leadsom emphasised the opportunity for many African countries to substitute coal power with cleaner forms of energy, but stressed that more needed to be done to unlock investment.

With African energy demand set to rise by 60% by 2040, according to IEA report, UK experts will help deliver green solutions for the continent’s growing energy needs.

Kenya is also set to benefit from a £30m government investment in affordable energy-efficient housing and the construction of 10,000 low-carbon homes for rent and sale. This will support the creation of new jobs in Kenya’s green construction industry and help address climate change.

Previous UK-funded projects in Africa include the winners of the Energy Catalyst Competition, with solar plants, energy storage batteries and hydro-power built in countries such as Botswana and Kenya; a £10m programme which matches UK based green finance experts with project developers from developing countries to facilitate investment in clean energy projects; and the Nigeria 2050 calculator, a modelling tool designed by UK scientists to support the Nigerian government’s sustainable development planning.

The latest investment in global clean energy comes after the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced a £1bn ‘Ayrton Fund’ for British scientists last autumn to help developing nations reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and reduce their carbon emissions. The fund was named after leading British scientist and suffragette Hertha Ayrton – a pioneering physicist and inventor.

With over 50% of the UK’s energy production being generated from renewable sources in 2018, the UK is now preparing to share its expertise with Africa’s budding renewable industry.