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Brussels, September 2010

Commissioner Piebalgs and Oettinger attend the High Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership

EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs and EU Commissioner for Energy, Gunther Oettinger, will attend the High Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) in Vienna on 14-15 September. 15 African energy ministers together with some EU Foreign Affairs, Environment, and Development ministers will also participate to this meeting. The AEEP is one of eight thematic partnerships under the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. During this Event, Commissioner Piebalgs will launch the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme and confirm the intended start-up financing from the fast start climate action financing.

What is the aim of the first High Level Meeting?

The first meeting High Level Meeting of the AEEP will focus on Africa-EU cooperation on energy access and energy security in Africa, and on the way forward for renewable energies. The Partnership will agree on common targets up to 2020 and on a road map for the Partnership’s next steps. The meeting will also create input for the Africa-EU Summit in November 2010. In addition, the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) will be launched and presented to all participants and the public.

What is the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP)?

The Programme aims at bringing relevant renewable energy technologies to the market in Africa; this is expected to trigger new industrial, trade and business cooperation between Africa and Europe. The Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme will mobilise the European resource base, experience and innovation capacity in order to build expertise and capacity in Africa. Thus, it will contribute to the exploration of Africa’s vast, untapped renewable energy potential and support the development of a new industrial sector in Africa. Both continents stand to benefit from this through increased employment opportunities, energy security and improved energy access.

The RECP will focus on technologies that are market ready and near market ready, proven and commercially available, and that are relevant to African priorities, needs and market conditions, which might include:

Electricity generation from renewable energy, including hybrid generation and embedded generation, from solar (including photovoltaics and concentrated solar power), hydropower at all scales, wind (including wind farms), biomass (including co-generation of electricity and heat from bagasse or other agro- or forest waste) and geothermal. The electricity produced can supply regional, national or local mini-grids as well as off-grid stand alone systems,

Renewable energy for cooking, water heating, process heat, space heating and cooling through the sustainable and more efficient use of wood-fuels, as well as solar energy.

Renewable fuel production and use: solid, liquid and gaseous (including briquettes, ethanol, plant oil and biogas) from renewable resources, including from biomass wastes and landfills, meeting stringent sustainability criteria. Apart from electricity generation, the fuels can be used for transportation and process heat.

Energy efficient architecture and building design adapted to climates in the regions of Africa.

Integrated systems, smart grids, intelligent metering, grid codes, controllers etc. that enable greater flexibility and increased use of intermittent renewable energy on the power grids.

What are the priority areas of joint actions of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership?

Energy access: Africa and the EU will take joint action to bring access to modern and sustainable energy services to at least an additional 100 million Africans by 2020. This will be a contribution to the African objective of giving access to modern and sustainable energy to an additional 250 million people.

Energy security: Africa and the EU will take joint action to improve energy security by doubling the capacity of cross-border electricity interconnections and by doubling the use of natural gas in Africa, as well as doubling African gas exports to Europe.

Renewable energy/energy efficiency: Africa and the EU will take joint action such as:

  • building 10,000 MW of new hydropower facilities;

  • building at least 5,000 MW of wind power;

  • building 500 MW of solar energy and tripling the capacity of other renewables;

  • raising energy efficiency in Africa in all sectors.

Who will participate in the first High Level Meeting?

The First High Level Meeting will bring together

African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr Elham M.A. Ibrahim;

EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs;

EU Commissioner for Energy, Guenther H. Oettinger;

At least 15 ministers responsible for energy and Africa-EU relations from African and European countries;

Representatives of the Regional Economic Communities and Power Pools as well as delegates of other specialised institutions and international organisations;

Representatives from business and research as well as from civil society.

What is the Africa-EU Joint Strategy?

80 Heads of State and Government from Africa and Europe adopted the Africa-EU Joint Strategy in Lisbon in December 2007. The Joint Strategy outlines a long term shared vision of the future of Africa-EU relations in a globalized world. It goes

beyond development cooperation by opening up the EU-Africa dialogue to issues of joint political concern and interest;

beyond Africa by moving away from a focus on African matters only and openly addressing global and European issues;

beyond fragmentation in supporting Africa’s aspirations to find regional and continental responses to some of the most important challenges;

beyond institutions in ensuring a better participation of African and European citizens, as part of an overall strengthening of civil society in the two continents.

Based on this shared vision and common principles, the Africa-EU Joint Strategy defines eight specific partnerships. A key event in the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership will be the 3rd Africa-EU Summit in Tripoli (Libya) on 29/30 November. Its aim will be to assess progress made in the eight thematic partnerships, translate ambitions into more tangible results and agree on priorities for cooperation in the years to come.

What is the Africa-EU Energy Partnership?

The Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) is a long-term framework for political dialogue and cooperation on energy issues of strategic importance. Africa and Europe are working together to develop a shared vision and common policy answers. Specific actions will aim at:

expanding access to energy

achieving greater energy security

promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The AEEP focuses on mobilising more resources (financial, technical and human) in support of Africa's energy development. It further promotes increased European and African investments in energy infrastructure and energy interconnections within Africa and between Africa and the EU.

What are the main challenges?

Energy will be a major challenge in the 21st century. In sub-Saharan Africa three-quarters of the population live without access to modern energy services. In many African countries less than 10% of the rural population has access to electricity. How can we make sure that people everywhere can light their homes, power machinery, refrigerate and transport food and vaccines? Where will the energy come from to power economic development and a rising standard of living? Africa and the EU have committed to rise to this challenge and bring modern and sustainable energy services to at least 100 million additional Africans by 2020.

Why Africa and Europe?

Africa and Europe created the Energy Partnership because of their geographical proximity and their historical ties. They have embarked on a common journey to meet the energy challenge hand in hand since their respective energy futures are increasingly tied together. Numerous African and European countries depend on energy imports – and even those that export (petroleum, gas, biomass, electricity) rely on importing at least one element of their energy mix. Furthermore, a lack of energy infrastructure in Africa, coupled with a lack of access to electricity, transport fuels and cooking fuels is a major obstacle to the continent’s sustainable development.

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