Today we see many African countries incorporate small-scale solar, wind, and geothermal devices in operation providing energy to urban and rural populations.

Energy production is useful in remote locations because of the excessive cost of transporting electricity from large-scale power plants. The application of renewable energy technology has the potential to alleviate many of the problems that face Africans every day, especially if done so in a sustainable manner that prioritizes human rights.

Access to energy is essential for the reduction of poverty and promotion of economic growth. Communication technologies, education, industrialization, agricultural improvement and expansion of municipal water systems all require abundant, reliable, and cost-effective energy access.

Solar resources

On average most African countries receive a very high amount of days per year with bright sunlight, especially the dry areas, which include the deserts. This gives solar power the potential to bring energy to virtually any location in Africa without the need for expensive large scale grid level infrastructural developments.

The distribution of solar resources across Africa is fairly uniform, with more than 85% of the continent’s landscape receiving at least 2,000 kWh/(m² year).

Wave and wind resources

Africa has a large coastline, where wind power and wave power resources are abundant and underutilized in the north and south. Geothermal power has potential to provide considerable amounts of energy in many eastern African nations.

Wind is far less uniformly distributed than solar resources, with optimal locations positioned near special topographical funnelling features close to coastal locations, mountain ranges, and other natural channels in the north and south. The availability of wind on the western coast of Africa is substantial, exceeding 3,750 kW·h, and will accommodate the future prospect for energy demands.

Geothermal resources

Geothermal power is mostly concentrated in eastern Africa, but there are many fragmented spots of high intensity geothermal potential spread across the continent. There is enormous potential for geothermal energy in the East African Rift which is roughly 3,700 miles in length and spans several countries in East Africa including Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia.