Planning and Prospects of Renewable Power in Africa

IRENA has developed detailed power system capacity expansion models for 47 African countries. Built using the MESSAGE software, these System Planning Test (SPLAT) capacity expansion models are a key component and product of IRENA’s support to African countries. These models are built on IRENA’s state of the art knowledge on renewable technologies featured in various databases and analyses, including cost data, resource potentials and renewable zones. These were recently augmented with the newly developed African Renewable Electricity Profiles (AfREP) for Energy Modelling Databases on Hydropower, Solar PV & Wind (forthcoming). SPLAT models have been systematically calibrated to reflect realistic local power market conditions, benefiting especially from the outcomes of several of IRENA’s capacity building activities conducted with national energy planning practitioners. Further building on these outcomes, the agency has performed extensive expansion analyses for five African regional power pools in its report series titled ‘Planning and Prospects for Renewable Power in Africa’.

The expansion analysis results presented in these reports are developed by adopting a common set of assumptions on demand forecasts and non-renewable technology features, when available, with African regional power pool master plans. These results can be accessed through an interactive dashboard at the link below which allows the users to download the key results for scenarios discussed in the respective reports for a user-defined list of countries. The results available include generation capacity, production, CO2 emission, and cross-border trade across the modelling time horizon.

Please note that SPLAT models are regularly updated to maintain consistency with evolving power sector conditions in Africa and to reflect state of the art modelling improvements. For further data queries, please contact iitc@irena.org.

Access the dashboard

The users of the MESSAGE modelling software may also request the model files by filling this request form.

Note: Different methodologies, assumptions and scenario definitions have been employed for different SPLAT models. The user should refer to the definitions in the related reports to ensure correct usage of the data featured in SPLAT dashboard. To the extent possible, SPLAT models include IRENA’s insights into renewable resource availability, technology costs and performance characteristics. The retirement schedule of current generation capacity fleets, as well as committed project pipelines at the time of the analyses, are also taken into consideration. The power systems modelled are optimised over the modelling horizon according to cost minimisation principles, subject to physical energy flow and operation constraints. Optimisation is performed at the regional level, i.e. for a power pool with its member countries treated as a homogeneous entity. The optimisation results may or may not be substantially different from the optimal power mix for a single country when trade is not considered.


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