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Strategic siting and regional grid interconnections key to low-​​carbon futures in African countries

Abstract

This study identifies, characterizes, and values wind and solar electricity resources for 21 countries in the Eastern and Southern Africa Power Pools. We find that many countries possess potential many times their projected demand. However, because the most competitive wind and solar resources are spatially uneven, international transmission could allow the region as a whole to benefit from “no-regrets” or low-cost, low-impact, and highly accessible resources. International energy trade also lowers system costs by reducing the need for conventional power plants and allows lower impact, more accessible renewable energy sites to be cost competitive. Regional interconnections planned around strategic siting opportunities are crucial for realizing no-regrets wind and solar energy development that can be competitive with conventional generation in African countries.

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