Africa Launches Massive Renewable Energy Initiative - Day 2 at COP21 | WWF-Canada

Africa Launches Massive Renewable Energy Initiative - Day 2 at COP21

Posted on 01 December 2015
solar panels on municipal buildings in Yellowknife, NWT.
© Farid Sharifi

Paris, France, 1 December, 2015 – African heads of state today announced plans for a gigantic renewable energy initiative that would provide as much as 300 gigawatts of renewable energy – twice the continent’s total current electricity supply – by 2030.

The African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), announced at the start of the two-week United Nations climate negotiations in Paris, aims to achieve 10 gigawatts of new renewables by 2020 and mobilize the potential to generate 300 gigawatts by 2030. The initiative is driven by African countries and represents a part of their contribution to the global efforts on climate change and eliminating energy poverty.

The AREI initiative will help African nations embrace low-carbon development strategies while creating jobs, improving energy security and bringing clean, safe and affordable energy to the 640 million Africans who currently lack access to it. This plan was met with an announcement by France that it will provide 2 billion euros for renewable energy in Africa between 2016 and 2020.

Asrat Yirgu, WWF Africa’s Climate Change Coordinator, said: “This initiative can transform Africa’s energy systems, grow African economies and help improve energy access. African countries have abundant renewable energy resources – now these will power our future.”

Samantha Smith, Leader of WWF Global Climate and Energy Initiative, said: “African countries are driving this initiative but other countries are supporting it with finance and technology. This is exactly the kind of collaborative, large-scale action we need if we hope to forge a path to a safer climate future. It is also the latest example that shows we can have both zero carbon and zero poverty.”

David Miller, President and CEO, WWF-Canada, said: “We applaud these ambitious projects that demonstrate it's possible to take care of nature and communities at the same time. Energy poverty is a global issue, and not just in developing countries. Northern communities in Canada are also vulnerable to issues of energy accessibility, affordability and stability and suffer from environmental degradation from fossil fuel use. We hope this announcement will inspire similar projects around the world.”


For further information, contact:

Mandy Jean Woods / @MandyJeanWoods / +27 72 393 0027
Sam Smith / @pandaclimate / +47 450 22 149
Olive Thiong’o / +33 76 2245 403 (during COP21 only)
Chris Chaplin / +1 416 669 9155

About WWF - WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. The Global Climate & Energy Initiative (GCEI) is WWF’s global programme addressing climate change, promoting renewable and sustainable energy, scaling up green finance, engaging the private sector and working nationally and internationally on implementing low carbon, climate resilient development.

solar panels on municipal buildings in Yellowknife, NWT.
© Farid Sharifi Enlarge