East and Southern Africa’s vast renewable energy potential is hindered by a lack of transmission infrastructure in the region, finds the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in a new report.

There is no time to lose. Countries in the region plan to build 100GW of coal-fired power between now and 2040, which would triple CO2 emissions to 1,200 megatonnes annually, says the agency.

wind-turbines-viewed-from-trees
Wind turbines owned and run by Kenya’s main power generating company KENGEN in the Ngong hills, south-west of the capital Nairobi. (Photo by Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images)

An expanded transmission infrastructure would enable increased power trading across borders and balance supply fluctuations between solar and wind-rich countries. Building a renewables-based power system across the region would require investments of $562bn through 2040, estimates IRENA.

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