FITs can unlock Africa's untapped renewable energy potential

30. November 2012 | Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger

A new policy guide has been launched by the World Future Council, Heinrich Böll Foundation and Friends of the Earth UK for African decision makers at the UN climate summit COP 18 in Doha.

The study reveals that REFiT is a promising mechanism for renewable energy development in Africa.

The study reveals that Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariffs or REFiT is a promising mechanism for renewable energy development in Africa. The report provides an in-depth analysis of existing policies in 13 African countries: Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

As of 2012, 65 countries globally have implemented some form of REFiT according to the report. This implementation drives 64% of wind and 87% of PV installations worldwide.

"REFiTs are most successful as an integral part of a country's wider development strategy," adds Patrick Berg of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. "Thus, high-level political support as well as buy-in from civil society and the private sector are crucial factors for the successful development and implementation of a REFiT."

The socio-economic effects of REFiTs, as well as supportive and obstructive factors for successful policy implementation are also analysed. The report identifies a variety of national and international measures to shift financial resources towards renewable energy uptake, such as levies on fossil fuels or contributions from the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund.

With the guarantee for purchase and sale of electricity produced via renewable sources, more individuals and companies included will be encouraged to invest in renewable power. This, as the study says, when tailored to local context can increase renewable electricity generation on- and off-grid.

Since REFiTs have a decentralized nature, alternative ownership and governance models can be established and this enables the empowerment of communities and a revitalisation of local democracy and self-governance, says the report.

A 16-page executive summary of the study can be downloaded here.

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