29 January 2018

Energy Experts Convene for Africa's First Energy Modelling Platform Event

Addis Ababa — The African Climate Policy Centre and its partners are hosting a two-day Energy Modelling Platform for Africa event which aims to contribute to optimized investments for the energy transition in Africa for a low-carbon, inclusive and climate-resilient development pathway for the continent.

The specific objectives of the platform are to:

- Bring together the energy planning and modelling community in Africa to share experiences, models and data

- Support human and institutional capacity in Africa for integrated energy modelling and investment planning

- Support the development of centers of excellence energy planning in Africa

- Promote efficient and widespread use of open source modelling tools in support of implementation of the sustainable development goals, the Paris Agreement and Africa's Agenda 2063

The two-day meeting will be followed by three days of training on open source energy modelling tools, which will be conducted by Sweden's KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

In her opening remarks, Fatima Denton, the Economic Commission for Africa's Special Initiatives Division Director, observed that about 600 million people in Africa still lacked access to electricity, despite the continent being endowed with all forms of fossil and renewable energy resources.

"This paradox of Africa's energy abundance and scarcity calls for urgent action and strategies for energy transformation necessary to unleash and catalyze social and economic transformation to meet the development goals of the continent," she said.

For his part, Mark Howells of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology underscored the scarcity of tools for energy modelling on the continent.

To mitigate the situation, he said, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology is developing open source professional software tools for energy modelling, which will be availed to governments and universities to support sustainable development.

Participants agree that attaining Africa's transformation for sustainable and inclusive development - as framed by the African Union's Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 Agenda - will require secure, adequate and reliable access to huge amounts of modern energy forms and services for livelihoods and industrialization, while being resilient to the shocks posed by climate change.

Against a background of increased energy demand for structural transformation, rising population, the need for sustainable livelihoods, as well as the adverse impacts of climate change on the continent, many African countries are discovering new reserves of fossil fuels on a continent endowed with abundant renewable energy resources - wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, ocean and bioenergy.

This calls for urgent action to support African countries to strengthen their capacities in energy planning to be able to optimize investments in energy production and services, banking on the continent's abundant renewable energy resources, falling technology prices, and increasing availability of free open source and robust energy planning models, data and interfaces for customized applications to the needs of each country.

The Energy Modeling Platform for Africa (EMPA) seeks to do just that. It will be a place for African energy modelers to come together to learn, share and exchange experiences and create a space that will be focused on Africa's issues and concerns.

The idea for an energy modeling platform arose prior to COP21, driven by the deficit of capacity for energy modelling in Africa.

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