A new $500 million investment vehicle for the funding of renewable energy projects across the continent of Africa — by the name of Access Infra Africa — was recently revealed by the founding firms Access Power MEA and EREN Développement.
The investment vehicle will be focused primarily on solar energy — with an especial focus on supporting early stage renewable power projects.
According to the founders, Access Infra Africa is intended to be the biggest privately funded investment vehicle for African renewable energy projects out there. As mentioned before, though, “renewable” in this case refers primarily to solar energy.
Given the firms behind the investment vehicle, there’s a fair amount of experience behind it, making it seem likely that the funds will be spent intelligently (on projects with a lot of upside).
“Access Infra Africa perfectly illustrates EREN’s strategy of developing renewable projects in areas of the world where renewable energy represents a competitive answer to growing local energy needs, such as Africa,” commented EREN CEO David Corchia. To date, EREN Développement has funded + installed more than 400 MW of renewable energy projects — the company’s project pipeline is currently home to 1.5 GW of projects.
Access Power MEA chairman El Chaar agreed, noting: “Africa’s energy sector and wider economy could be transformed by the billions of dollars of financing available for Africa. However, this funding cannot have an impact without well resourced and experienced developers willing to take early-stage project risk and turn good concepts into bankable projects.”
Africa certainly possesses a lot of potential as far as renewable energy goes, but potential isn’t enough on its own. Given the climate of corruption and graft that is endemic to many (not all) of the most renewable-rich countries of the continent, the future of renewables there is still an open question. There will certainly be a buildout (at least in the economically strongest countries of the continent), but the scale of this buildout is the question — can companies turn a worthwhile profit there?