Advancing Sustainable Energy Solutions: Key Highlights from the Fourth Ordinary Session of STC
The Fourth Ordinary Session of the African Union Specialised Technical Committee on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, and Energy (STC-TTIIE) was held in Zanzibar, Tanzania, from the 12th to 15th of September 2023. As the African continent looks towards the future, the development of an energy grid to provide electricity to every corner of the continent was at the forefront of this meeting.
The emerging decisions
Many key decisions were made regarding the African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM) and the Continental Power Systems Master Plan (CMP). These include calls to make the AfSEM-CMP an Agenda 2063 flagship project, adoption of AfSEM Strategic Plan, Action Plan and 5-year business plan, CMP synthesis report and establishment of a Strategic Planning and Coordination Unit (SPCU) at the IED.
Additionally, the STC adopted a report on Green Hydrogen development in Africa and directed the AUC to develop a strategy at the continental level. Green hydrogen is one of the most promising sources of renewable energy that will continue to decrease reliance on fossil fuels. It is of great interest to the African continent to begin integrating green hydrogen into the existing energy mixes to leapfrog the rest of the world in the just energy transition.
Furthermore, the Updated Planning Scenario and Sensitivity Analysis Results Report, the Updated Transmission Network Studies Report, the Synthesis of Results Report, the Continental Masterplan Models Documentation Report, and the CMP Digital Visualisation Report were some of the final major deliverables of the CMP presented for validation by the STC.
Importance of the CMP
The STC made a defining step in combatting energy poverty in Africa by reconfirming the commitment to ensure the development of the Continental Power Systems Master Plan (CMP).
The CMP provides a strategic roadmap to maximise the potential of Africa’s five power pools, promising to bring electricity access to every corner of the continent. It will provide a sustainable and resilient electricity grid across Africa and identify and prioritise projects that will guide investment and policy design for the benefit of two billion Africans.
The demand for electricity in Africa, where an estimated 600 million people still lack access, is projected to rise significantly by 2040 due to rapid population growth, industrialisation, urban migration, higher household incomes, and the impacts of climate change. The decisions and commitments made at the STC meeting will curb the impact and bring reliable energy to those that need it most.
About the STC
The Specialized Technical Committee (STC) meeting is a critical step in the decision-making process for implementing initiatives regarding energy in Africa, acting as an important technical organ of the African Union. It collaborates with various departments in the African Union Commission (AUC) to monitor development programmes to provide well-informed inputs and decisions based on the expertise of the Regional Economic Communities. This includes accelerating projects like the African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM) and the Continental Power Systems Masterplan (CMP).