The MSGBC region is making significant progress to advance the energy transition, ushering in a wave of renewable energy developments and spurring electrification on a regional basis. With the 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (AR6 Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change) having been released early April, the MSGBC region has been brought to the spotlight.
According to the latest report, net GHG emissions for 2019 were at 59 +/- 6.6 gigaton of carbon dioxide (GtCO2) equivalent, 12% higher than 2010 and 54% higher than 1990. However, there lies a critical opportunity for emissions reductions in the energy sector driven by unit costs for solar and wind dropping by 85% and 55%, respectively; advances in green hydrogen for the aviation industry; and new battery technologies with lowered prices in just the last decade. Accordingly, with west Africa taking the spotlight once more for the MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power Conference on 1 to 2 September this year, an assessment of the state of the energy transition in the region emphasizes achievements made as well as room for improvement.
In the north-western part of Africa, Mauritania has 4.88 million inhabitants, a 44% access to electricity rate and 27.535 W of renewable energy capacity per capita. Currently, its GHG emissions stand at 0.91 tons per capita, with a 25.1% share of renewables in its total fiscal energy consumption (TFEC). The majority of the country’s renewable power is drawn from bioenergy sources, granting it 28% national energy self-sufficiency, but its greatest resources lie untapped in solar and wind domains, offering lucrative opportunities for investors.
With a population of 17.57 million, per capita GHG emissions of 0.58 tonnes and renewables share of TFEC at 36.6%, Senegal is the largest MSGBC nation by populace but no leader in decarbonization. The west African country has a high electrification rate of 66% but only 36% energy self-sufficiency. Senegal’s primary renewable power sources are from bioenergy and solar. The latter of these clearly stands as the country’s greatest potential for growth, with 90% of its land area boasting a PV capacity of 1600-1800 kWh/ yr.
A strong all-rounder, the Gambia, with 2.56 million inhabitants, a 48% energy self-sufficiency ratio, and 52.4% renewables share in its TFEC. The west African country’s per capita GHG emissions are a mere 0.25 tons which is impressive, but its total power generation could still bear further investment and development at just 1.488W per capita- a fraction of that achieved by its neighbours. The country is certainly on the right path, announcing a large-scale project last year to electrify 1,100 rural schools and hospitals with new solar facilities.
With the highest renewables share in TFEC at 86.8% and leading energy self-sufficiency at 83%, Guinea-Bissau is a stellar performer in the energy transition. The west African country’s access to electricity, however, is its Achilles’ heel at 29%, which is the lowest in the region. Guinea-Bissau’s per capita GHG emissions are at approximately 0.14 tons, with 0.624 watts per capita coming from renewable energy generation. Similar to Senegal, solar power is Guinea-Bissau’s greatest asset moving forward with tremendous untapped potential. The smallest of the MSGBC nations- with only 2.05 million residents- Guinea-Bissau truly embraces decarbonization.
The second largest MSGBC country by population (13.77 million) is Guinea-Conakry. The west African nation has a modest footprint of 0.2 tonnes in GHG emissions per capita and a formidable representation of renewables in its power supply, measuring 69.9%. The country produces the greatest volume of renewable energy per capita out of any MSGBC nation at 30.737 W per capita, feeding off a hydroelectric and bioenergy mix. With a 69% energy self-sufficient rate and a 44% electrification rate, Guinea-Conakry serves as a good practice model for the entire region.