The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is in the position to harness its renewable energy potential to power its electricity needs this is According to a new study compiled by the International Rivers
In the analysis Renewable Riches, researchers from the University of California’s Energy and Resources Group modelled the DRC’s best wind and solar sites in an analysis called Renewable Riches.
Measured at 85GW, the country’s wind and solar potential could address the country’s chronic power shortages and would far surpass the output of the planned 4.8GW Inga 3 Dam on the Congo River. 60GW of that energy could be installed at less than $0.07 per kWh, which makes it competitive with conventional power option according to the report.
One of the study’s authors, Dr Ranjit Deshmukh, said “The DRC is endowed with significant renewable energy potential,”
Dr Deshmukh added, “More studies are needed to analyze our findings, but this shows the DRC has abundant power at its fingertips, some of which could be brought online before construction even begins on Inga 3.”
The researchers concentrated on the sites that could readily feed into the national power grid, limiting their search to renewable potential located near existing and planned transmission lines.
The sites that could be developed sustainably, excluding forested and important biodiversity areas, populated areas, and farmland were identified by their analysis.
Jean-Marie Muanda of Actions pour les Droits, l’Environnement et la Vie (ADEV) said “The solution to DRC’s energy crisis is right under our nose.
Wind and solar are faster and easier to deploy than large hydropower, and this study shows they can be cheaper too,”
From the Congolese group CORAP, Emmanuel Musuyu, added “Our government for years has put all its eggs in the basket of Inga 3 with nothing to show for it, and has neglected a wealth of wind and solar that can start meeting our needs now. That needs to change.”
The study also analyzed how South Africa could meet its future energy needs. It points out that the country has factored power imports from Inga 3 in its energy planning, but the researchers found that pursuing Inga 3 could be far more expensive for the country than harnessing wind and solar within the country.
The fact that only 13.5% of the DRC citizens have access to electricity is hampering the country’s economic development.
“To power economic development and meet the needs of their citizens South Africa and DRC need reliable energy, and they have it.
International Rivers’ Africa program director, Rudo Sanyanga said “Wind and solar power are treasures that are hidden in plain sight,”