Clean Energy Corridors in Africa


Name of initiative Clean Energy Corridors in Africa
LPAA initiative Yes
NAZCA Initiative Yes
Website address
Related initiatives
Starting year 2014
End year
Secretariat IRENA, Nopenyo Dabla– Associate Programme Officer for sub-Saharan Africa, phone: +97124147118 and Gurbuz Gonul, e-mail:

Organisational structure
Geographical coverage Africa
Name of lead organisation IRENA
Type of lead organisation NGO/Civil Society
Location/Nationality of lead organisation United Arab Emirates


Description The “Clean Energy Corridors in Africa” is composed of two initiatives: The Africa Clean Energy Corridor and the West Africa Clean Energy Corridor

Launched in 2014, the Africa Clean Energy Corridor (ACEC) is an initiative that aims to transform the current fuel mix by promoting the development of clean, indigenous and cost-effective renewable power options and to create a regional market for the trade of renewable power. ACEC now includes more than 30 governments, regional organisations, development partners and financial institutions and there is a growing interest from new partners to join. Thanks to the successes achieved in East and Southern Africa, the West Africa Clean Energy Corridor was initiated in 2016 .

Objectives The Clean Energy Corridors in Africa aim to meet the continent’s fast-growing electricity needs through the accelerated development of renewable energy potential and cross-border trade of renewable power within the Eastern and Southern African Power Pools as well as within the West Africa Power Pool.

Work on the initiative spans five main pillars: 1. Zoning and Resource Assessment to site renewable power plants in areas with high resource potential and suitable transmission routes. 2. National and Regional Planning to consider cost-effective renewable power options. 3. Enabling Frameworks for Investment to open markets and reduce financing costs. 4. Capacity Building to plan, operate, maintain and govern power grids and markets with higher shares of renewable electricity generation. 5. Public Information and Awareness to raise awareness on how the corridor can provide secure, sustainable and affordable energy.

Activities The activities undertaken by the initiative all fall under its five pillars. So far, under the Renewable Energy Resource Assessment and Zoning pillars:

Resource Assessment: Africa Clean Energy Corridor: - Development of the zoning methodology for the identification of high resource potential and cost-effective power generation zones, which has been validated by stakeholders from utilities, government, regulatory bodies, power pools and academia within the region. - Collection of extensive data from EAPP and SAPP countries on their renewable energy resource potential, existing and planned grid transmission infrastructure and road networks, protected areas, national electricity load profiles and infrastructure expansion costs, for use in the zoning analysis. - Identification of renewable energy zones in the EAPP and SAPP member countries and presenting these to stakeholders, highlighting developable areas for wind and solar (both utility-scale photovoltaic and concentrated solar power) technologies. - A regional workshop organised in Namibia in April 2017 enabled data gathering on the sites earmarked for development. This output provided a basis for financial viability analyses, which aims to inform power procurement procedures in the relevant countries as well as the regional planning processes. In that regard, the financial viability and suitability of 18 project sites have been assessed within the ACEC zones to guide renewable investments. The results of this assessment are being considered by some of the countries in designing their tendering processes as well as guiding their interactions with potential solar and wind project developers.

West Africa Clean Energy Corridor: - Completion of a suitability analysis work for solar and wind which helped to identify the area of high potential in the region and will be used as basis for the future zoning work under WACEC - Conduct of scoping study for the solar component of the WACEC aiming to install 2 GW of Solar by 2030 in West Africa (funded under the ongoing European Union Energy Initiative’s Technical Assistance Facility). - Initiation of financial viability analyses for sites earmarked for Solar and Wind project development. In that regard, 14 sites have been assessed in Mali and Togo and 10 are under assessment in Nigeria. Other countries such as Senegal have expressed their interest in the service

National and Regional Planning Africa Clean Energy Corridor: -Development of least-cost System Planning Test models to support planning for long-term power generation expansion plans (over the next 20 – 40 years) in continental Eastern and Southern African countries. These models also allow policy makers to assess least-cost investment options in light of a specific policy goal, such as a renewable energy penetration target, import independence, affordability or CO2 targets, in order to assess investments in international transmission lines for renewable energy deployment. The tools have been made available and regional training seminars were held, with the attendance of more than 50 energy planners in total. - Ongoing work has also been initiated to incorporate the zoning results into regional planning in Eastern and Southern Africa power pools. - Support was provided to Swaziland through a 10-month capacity building programme for the development of and Energy Master plan for enhancing energy security, affordability and environmental sustainability based on the results of the zoning exercise. The Energy Master plan will be adopted and followed by energy planning capacity building programme to strengthen the country’s implementation capacity. Development of the ACEC is guided by a communiqué, endorsed during the Fourth Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in ACEC.

West Africa Clean Energy Corridor: - Development of the “Planning and Prospects for Renewable Energy in West Africa” report taking into account the new model input data and national renewable deployment scenarios using SPLAT-W country models coming out of a six-month capacity-development programme in 2015/16 organised by IRENA and the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). - Initiation of a capacity building programme to establish a national energy planning unit for energy statistics and long-term energy planning taking into account cost effective renewable energy options in Sierra Leone. - Contribution to the update of the West Africa Power master plan, by providing input to support the collection of reliable data on renewable energy resource potential, costing as well as capacity building on planning and project facilitation

Enabling Frameworks: to attract Investments - Guidance provided, through Renewables Readiness Assessments, to Djibouti, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe on the development of enabling policy, legislative and institutional frameworks. - Launch of the Sustainable Energy Marketplace (SEM) for project initiation, development and financing. SEM brings together renewable energy project owners, governments, financiers, and service/technology providers to enhance the understanding of the market and the capabilities of project owners in a transparent and structured way. - Support provided to the Regional Electricity Regulators Association for Southern Africa (RERA) to develop a knowledge base on regulatory actions supporting renewable energy development in the region. - Cooperation with national regulators and RERA, ministries, utilities and academia to enhance investment frameworks for wind and solar PV. This engagement has developed an assessment, in two pilot ACEC countries (Namibia and Zimbabwe) as well as the entire SAPP region, on how existing planning processes can be amended, including the empowerment of the regulatory roles to provide greater investment certainty and ensure timely project delivery; deepened the understanding of auction practices and impacts in sub-Saharan Africa (South Africa, Uganda, Zambia); principles for designing bankable power purchase agreements for renewable energy in Southern Africa and further details related to efficient project development and approval.

Capacity Building Africa Clean Energy Corridor: - Holding capacity-building workshops related to the renewable power zoning process in the EAPP and SAPP regions. The workshops, attended by ministries, utilities, regulatory bodies, and academics, presented preliminary study results and provided a platform for explaining the zoning process and methodology. - Organization of training seminars on energy planning and the use of planning tools for the ACEC countries, which were attended by energy planning officers, utility planners and academics. - Holding the first IRENA Renewable Energy Training Week on regulation. The continuing training week series inform decision makers in governance bodies and industry about the possible paths for the development and integration of renewable resources into today’s power systems. - Organization of the Southern Africa Renewable Energy Statistics Workshop for building capacities in the collection, processing and dissemination of renewable energy data as well as the construction of national renewable energy balances. Other topics covered at this training workshop included: renewable energy costs; resource assessment; energy production from bagasse (field trip); and estimation of renewable energy production from international trade statistics about imports of equipment (solar panels and solar water heaters). - Series of trainings on strategic long-term energy planning through the use of IRENA’s System Planning Model (SPLAT-SW) for Swaziland.

West Africa Clean Energy Corridor: - Initiation in partnership with the relevant regional institutions, of a capacity building programme with the end-goal of facilitating regional market integration. This capacity building programme put the focus on the development of renewable energy PPAs as well as the planning and operation of grids with higher shares of variable renewable power. - The component on the planning and operation of grids with higher shares of variable renewable power was kicked-off in Dakar in December 2017 and will be completed by end of June 2018 - The component on the development of RE PPA was kicked-off in January 2018 and will be completed by end of August 2018. These two activities will be followed by a three-year capacity building programme aiming to address all the issues identified by the gap analysis. WACEC: ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE),.

One or two success stories achieved 1. Renewable Energy Zoning has been completed and the sites identified are being used by some countries on order to open tenders for renewable energy projects.

2. The initiative is assisting countries and regional power pools in updating the power Master Plans, to consider Least-Cost Renewable Energy options based on the results of the renewable energy zoning.

Monitoring and Impacts

Sustainable Development Impact:
E SDG goals icons-individual-rgb-07.png  
Function of initiative Capacity building, Political dialogue
Activity of initiative Training and education, Advocacy, Policy planning and recommendations
Training and education — Individual participating in the workshops or trainings
Value (#)50
Goals The Africa Clean Energy Corridor (ACEC) is a regional initiative to promote accelerated development of renewable energy potential and cross-border trade of renewable power within eastern and southern Africa. The initiative builds upon the strong political commitment of African leaders to strengthen regional institutions and transmission infrastructure and forming large competitive markets. By creating a larger regional electricity market, the ACEC could attract investments to meet 40-50% of power needs in the EAPP and SAPP regions by 2030. ACEC investment needs up to 2030 are estimated at USD 20 billion – USD 25 billion per year in generation, with an additional USD 15 billion for grid infrastructure. Combined efforts will diversify resource availability, improve energy security and foster investment opportunities and job growth. Scaling up renewable energy through the ACEC also offers a comprehensive opportunity to avoid lock-ins with carbon-intensive infrastructure and leapfrog towards a low-carbon future with a 2,500 Mt savings of cumulative CO2 between 2015 and 2030. The initiative also facilitates the coordination between environment and energy ministries.

The West Africa Clean Energy Corridor (WACEC), through the Solar component, is aiming to achieve 2 GW of solar capacity over the 2014-2020 period. The objectives of the initiatives is facilitated through the pillars mentioned below: - Zoning and Resource Assessment – to site renewable power plants in areas with high resource potential and suitable transmission routes; - National and Regional Planning – to fully consider cost-effective renewable power options; - Enabling Frameworks for Investment – to open markets and reduce financing costs; - Capacity Building – to plan, operate, maintain and oversee power grids and markets with higher shares of renewable electricity generation; - Public Information and Awareness – to raise awareness on how large-scale renewables can provide secure, sustainable and affordable energy

The Africa Clean Energy Corridor plan of action is guided by a Ministerial Communique signed by Ministers of Energy and Heads of Delegation of 19 African countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. The West Africa Clean Energy Corridor’s action plan has been endorsed by the Heads of States of the Region and is built around the 5 pillars of the Clean Energy Corridor concept. This is supplement by the ECOWAS-led action plan for the development of its solar component.

Comments on indicators and goals Least-cost System Planning Test Models have been made available and regional training held for more than 50 energy planners.
How will goals be achieved
Have you changed or strenghtened your goals
Progress towards the goals
How are you tracking progress of your initiative
Available reporting The regularly-updated ACEC brochures on the website, as well as the IRENA quarterly bulletin.


Participants Number Names
Members 82  
Companies 0
Business organisations 10 Enel Green Power (Italy), (Denmark),  Ener-Q (Thailand),  Sun Business Development (Portugal),  Windlab Africa (South Africa),  Zenith Energy (Canada),  Productivity SA (Zambia),  Copperbelt Energy Corporation (Zambia),  Eye Gate Renewable Energy (Zambia),  Intertak Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe)
Research and educational organisations 16 Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory (USA),  South African National Energy Development Institute (South Africa),  Jomo Kenyatta University (Kenya),  National University of Lesotho (Lesotho),  Eduardo Motlane University of Mozambique (Mozambique),  Namibia Energy Institute (Namibia),  Polytechnic of Namibia (Namibia),  University of Rwanda (Rwanda),  University of Johannesburg (South Africa),  University of Khartoum (Sudan),  University of Dar-Es-Salam (Tanzania),  Centre of Research in Energy and Energy Conservation (Uganda),  University of Zambia (Zambia),  University of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe),  Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre (Zimbabwe),  Chinhoyi University of Technology (Zimbabwe)
Non-governmental organisations 1 Agence Française de Développement (France).
National states 0
Governmental actors 33 Angola,  Botswana,  Burundi,  Democratic Republic Congo,  Djibouti,  Egypt,  Ethiopia,  Kenya,  Lesotho,  Malawi,  Mozambique,  Namibia,  South Africa,  Sudan,  Swaziland,  Tanzania,  Uganda,  Zambia,  Zimbabwe,  WACEC: Benin,  Burkina Faso,  Cote d’Ivoire,  Gambia,  Ghana,  Guinea,  Guinea-Bissau,  Liberia,  Mali,  Niger,  Nigeria,  Senegal,  Sierra Leone,  Togo
Regional / state / county actors 0
City / municipal actors 0
Intergovernmental organisations 3 European Union Commission (Belgium),  UNDP (USA),  African Union (Ethiopia).
Financial Institutions 2 World Bank (USA),  African Development Bank (AfDB).
Faith based organisations 0
Other members 17 African Power Pool - SAPP (South Africa),  Eastern Africa Power Pool - EAPP (Ethiopia),  Regional Electricity Regulators Association of Southern Africa - RERA (Namibia),  Southern Independent Regulatory Board - IRB (South Africa),  SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency - SACREEE (Namibia),  West Africa Power Pool - WAPP (Benin),  ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority - ERERA (Ghana),  African Union Commission (Ethiopia),  NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (South Africa),  Africa Renewable Energy Initiative - AREI (Ivory Coast),  USAID Power Africa (USA),  Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (Germany).
Supporting partners 0
Number of members in the years
Have only national states as participators No


Transport Agriculture Forestry Business Financial institutions Buildings Industry Waste Cities and subnational governments Short Term Pollutants International maritime transport Energy Supply Fluorinated gases Energy efficiency Renewable energy Supply chain emission reductions Adaptation Other Resilience Innovation Energy Access and Efficiency Private Finance
No No No No No No No No No No No No No No Yes No No No No No No No
Last update: 16 June 2020 12:44:04

Not only have national states as participators