Offshore wind energy: World Bank eyes Africa, developing countries

The World Bank will soon launch a new program aimed at fast-tracking offshore wind energy in Africa and other developing countries, the Washington-based group said.

According to Riccardo Puliti, senior director and head of energy and extractives at the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will join the group in helping emerging markets assess their offshore wind potential, providing technical assistance to develop projects that are ready for investment by renewable energy investors.

The bank presents opportunities for countries with strong offshore wind resources such as South Africa, Brazil, and Vietnam, among others. South Africa’s technical potential for fixed and floating offshore wind is 356 gigawatts.

The $5 million program, led by the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), was initiated after a $26 million grant from the UK government to help low-and middle-income countries implement environmentally sustainable energy solutions.

The financial boost will help public and private sector partners to undertake technical studies and develop national strategies to facilitate the adoption of cost-competitive technologies.

Recent projections by Moody’s Investors Service indicate that, by signing up to the Paris Climate Agreement, Africa potentially became one of the leading emergent markets for manufacturers of wind turbine equipment.

In 2017, Mauritius invited expressions of interest for helping to develop its offshore capabilities.

South Africa, meanwhile, is now positioning itself to become another leading contributor to the continent’s ongoing inland wind power drive.

Northern nations have previously led the way for wind power in Africa, with funding made available to back major expansions for land-based projects like the 300-megawatt Tarfaya farm in southwestern Morocco.

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