The African Energy Futures project - an interview with Channing Arndt

Channing Arndt, in this interview, provides an introduction and overview into the project on 'African Energy Futures'. Africa is well endowed with sun, wind and hydropower – but these potential resources are unevenly distributed. This could, however, provide an impetus for big grids – in order to develop the resources and match supply and demand. One way is to expand the space over which solar and wind power are collected. A more promising approach is to combine renewables and hydropower.

The cooperation between UNU-WIDER and MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change will address big grids; the linkages between hydropower and renewable; specific power pools, in particular that in Southern Africa; and the economics of power generation from the Nile. The Nile also has potential political benefits if the project can help to improve the tense relations between Egypt and Ethiopia, through recognition of shared interests in power generation. 

The project aims, above all, to provide the evidence base for the potential positive impacts of big grids.