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Low-carbon energy projects for development in Sub-Saharan Africa Unveiling the potential, addressing the barriers

Sub-Saharan Africa has an opportunity of choosing a cleaner development pathway via low-carbon energy alternatives that can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. African countries stand to benefit from financial instruments like the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Carbon Finance (CF) and Climate Investment Funds (CIFs).This document presents the results of a study in which the potential of 12 Sub-Saharan Africa for the development of low carbon energy projects was assessed. It utilises ‘CDM lens’ to evaluate and identify 22 technologies in four sub-sectors that could use approved CDM methodologies to reduce GHG emissions and support a more adequate energy development.

The study makes the following preliminary recommendations for energy-sector authorities and the international donors for mitigating barriers:

  • it is essential to fill the regulatory and logistics gaps that bar clean energy projects from access to energy markets
  • market access requires appropriate infrastructure planning and policies to overcome logistics bottlenecks
  • technical information on mature, clean energy technologies must be appropriately disseminated
  • the local skills required to run mature, clean technologies must be developed
  • technical assistance and research and development (R&D) are required to enable clean energy technologies to achieve full efficiency and sustainability
  • support is still required to develop local expertise and institutional procedures to facilitate project developers’ access to the benefits provided by an increasing range of financial resources earmarked for climate change
  • post-Kyoto carbon funds are required to internalise the global benefit of investment decisions and level the playing field for clean energy technologies
  • however, Carbon Finance alone will not solve the investment financing gap. Earmarked Climate Investment Funds are essential.