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A Global Collaboration to Empower Africa's Energy Future

Ingeborg Graabak
Ingeborg Graabak is the Project Coordinator.
OpenMod4Africa, an ambitious EU project aimed at developing sustainable and reliable energy systems in Africa, is set to make a significant impact on the continent's energy landscape.

OpenMod4Africa aims to target the pressing challenge of energy poverty. Even though Africa is home to some of the best renewable resources on the planet, 596 million people still lacked access to modern energy in 2021, representing about 43% of the continent’s population of nearly 1.2 billion.

"Access to reliable and affordable energy is crucial for sustainable development in both rural and urban areas in Africa. It is a fundamental requirement for meeting basic needs and driving economic growth," explained Project Coordinator Ingeborg Graabak from SINTEF Energy Research. SINTEF has decades of experience from modelling the Nordic and the European Energy system.

OpenMod4Africa will develop an open modelling toolbox, leveraging state-of-the-art models adapted to the African context and needs. These models will enable comprehensive analyses of long-term energy pathways, tailored to different regions, cities, industries, and countries. The project will also facilitate transparent data exchange and collaboration, allowing stakeholders to benchmark results.

Harnessing Africa's Renewable Resources

Africa possesses abundant renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and hydro, which have the potential to provide clean and sustainable solutions. Graabak also highlighted the importance of local capacity building:

"By working closely with African universities and experts, we aim to develop the necessary knowledge and tools for analysing and planning African energy systems. This will ensure that Africa can independently drive its energy transition and maximise the benefits of its renewable resources."

Case Studies and Collaboration from East to West

Africa is divided into five power pools. OpenMod4Africa will focus on the countries included in the West Africa Power Pool and in the East Africa Power Pool. These cases will examine and develop energy pathways specific to each region, addressing the unique challenges and opportunities they face.

Two of Africa's five Power Pools are included in the study: the West African and the East African Power Pool.

Dr Atsede Gualu Endegnanew, an Energy Practice Lead in Veritas Consulting in Ethiopia and the leader of the East Africa Power Pool case, is thrilled to be part of OpenMod4Africa:

"Veritas Consulting is pleased to lead the work package focusing on the Eastern African region (red countries in the figure)," says Endegnanew. "By harnessing the power of collaborative modelling and expertise, we aim to contribute to increased access to energy and enhance the capacities of decision-makers and academia in the region.  Importantly, we believe that a contextualized tool for energy modelling and analysis will leverage each country’s complement of renewable resources for an optimal regional pool resulting in solutions that optimize cost, availability, and sustainability. "

Professor Cheikh Mouhamed Fadel Kebe (to the left) and Dr Atsede Gualu Endegnanew.

Professor Cheikh Mouhamed Fadel Kebe, University of Dakar and President of the Centre de test des systémes Solaires (CT2S) is the leader of the Western African case, is equally enthusiastic about the project's potential:

"As the leader of the Western African case study within OpenMod4Africa, I am excited to contribute to the development of sustainable energy systems in our region. Our aim is to develop sustainable, low-cost access to energy for the people of West Africa. The OpenMod4Africa project is a great opportunity to achieve this. It will help train qualified personnel in electrical modelling for the West African Power Pool (WAPP), while developing decarbonization scenarios."

About OpenMod4Africa

  • OpenMod4Africa is a three-year international that aims to develop expertise, analytic models, and knowledge for achieving sustainable and reliable energy systems in Africa.
  • OpenMod4Africa will receive funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101118123.
  • It is coordinated by SINTEF Energy Research.
  • Project partners include 8 African and 7 European partners, and two associated partners from Switzerland. Partners are universities, government bodies and consultancy company.

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