In order for Africa to meet its electrification objectives, driving long-term and sustainable economic growth while reducing emissions in line with climate change policies, a just energy transition needs to be prioritized. Speaking during a conference in Luanda organized by Economia a Mercado – a partner of the upcoming Angola Oil & Gas (AOG) 2022 conference – Angola’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Petroleum and Gas, H.E. Diamantino Azevedo, emphasized this very fact, making a strong case for the implementation of an inclusive energy transition in Africa.
Addressing conference delegates, H.E. Minister Azevedo stated that, “The energy transition must be an inclusive process and not a process that generates more poverty and inequality. In our continent, more than 600 million people live without access to electricity. The energy transition in Africa must be adapted to the local reality, its fuels are important for its social and economic development. Fuels, especially natural gas, will ultimately be responsible for the energy transition, guaranteeing a sustainable transition for the production of electricity and the fostering of petrochemical industries, fertilizer plants and more.”
As such, in order for Africa to develop and transition correspondingly, the transition needs to encompass a mixed-resource approach, whereby fossil fuels will continue to play a significant role.
“The oil industry, despite its intensity on carbon, will continue to be a pillar for producing countries, however it becomes increasingly necessary for its decarbonization in order to maintain its access to international financing. In Angola, the oil industry is oriented towards the adoption of mitigation and compensation measures for greenhouse emissions. This way, the government of Angola, through the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, has supported study initiatives in the oil sector to develop projects that will contribute towards the national energy transition,” he said.
However, in addition to ensuring the decarbonization of the oil and gas industry, it is clear that Africa needs to invest in and develop its vast renewable energy resources. For Angola, a country rich with abundant solar and wind potential, expanding the renewable energy sector with the support of global energy majors has emerged as a top priority.
According to H.E. Minister Azevedo, several projects are currently underway in the country, including “photovoltaic projects in the provinces of Namibe and Huila and partnerships between Sonangol and Eni as well as between Sonangol and TotalEnergies. Progressively, the first project will have a capacity of 50MW and the second one a capacity of 150MW. The green hydrogen project is under study, to develop a plant to produce green hydrogen with a partnership between Sonangol and German companies. The biofuels project, a partnership among the National Agency of Oil and Gas, Sonangol and Eni, which has recently seen the signature of an agreement for the construction of a biorefinery in Luanda.”
With these projects, as well as the country’s decarbonization efforts, Angola is ensuring the energy sector is adapting to its new realities, transitioning in a way that is beneficial to the environment and to the economy. However, the country is going one step further, prioritizing the development of its mineral sectors to kickstart a new era of sustainable energy development on the back of strategic mineral production.
According to H.E. Minister Azevedo, “Going beyond oil and gas, there is the prospective and potential of several critical mineral sources, also known as future minerals, which are highly important for the energy transition. Among them, we have lithium and rare minerals, which can be explored and utilized for the manufacturing of electric vehicle batteries.”
Rich with a suite of rare earth minerals, all of which are vital for the energy transition, Angola is well positioned to supply global renewable companies and developers with the resources needed to develop projects.