Access to energy is a crucial pre-condition for economic development of the African continent. The great supply of renewable clean energy sources like biomass, solar, wind and geothermal represent an enormous potential for the continent. Unfortunately, this potential remains unlocked due to limited demand, non-existing or incomplete grids and policy frameworks that require substantial advancement.
In 2013, DG Research and Innovation commissioned Ecorys with a study on renewable energy and innovation capacity of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The aim was to assess whether there is a basis for equitable and beneficial partnership EU-SSA region to launch a research and innovation programme related to SSA energy needs and its renewable energy potential. After almost two years of research, the study concluded that EU-SSA research cooperation in this area can contribute substantially to medium- to long-term renewable energy take-up in the region. It can also strengthen the market position of EU players in areas where they are strong and globally competitive.
RET- specific research themes were proposed, including traditional and advanced bioenergy, various solar technologies, small-scale hydro and geothermal energy. Transversal research topics proposed include support to research infrastructure, resource mapping and assessment, impact assessment, innovative SMEs and grid improvements. The final recommendation was to focus on dedicated SSA capacity building (including enhanced mobility of researchers), accompanied by selected participation in mainstream research cooperation, and targeted EU development and bilateral cooperation in complementary areas.
The final study report is now available in the online bookshop of the European Union.