Renewable energy auctions: cases from sub-Saharan Africa

Renewable energy auctions have emerged as an important mechanism to drive the adoption of renewable sources for power generation. Like in other regions, auctions can help countries across sub-Saharan Africa achieve record-low prices for solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power. Ghana, Mauritius, Uganda, South Africa and Zambia have all run renewable energy auctions, while at least 15 more sub-Saharan African countries are developing such programmes for competitive procurement. South Africa’s auction scheme stands out due to its size and comprehensiveness. In addition, it takes a longer-term view and appears particularly well integrated with overall economic and electricity strategies. Socio-economic and environmental considerations have increased the country’s motivation to adopt renewable energy auctions. At the same time, however, South Africa’s latest auction results have made PV and wind power cheaper than the average cost of power supply from the national utility and far below the cost of new coal-fired power stations.