The objective of this study was to generate the information needed to enable the formulation of a clear answer to the question whether and how to launch a research and innovation programme related to Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) energy needs and Renewable Energy potential, that would be equitable and beneficial for both the EU and the Sub-Saharan region, in the area of renewable energy.
EU-SSA research cooperation in this area can contribute substantially to medium- to long-term renewable energy take-up in the region. It can also strengthen the market position of EU players in areas where they are strong and globally competitive. RET-specific research themes have thereto been proposed, including traditional and advanced bioenergy (biofuels, biogas, bioenergy value chains), various solar technologies (PV, solar heating and cooling, CSP), small-scale hydro and geothermal energy. Transversal research topics proposed include support to research infrastructures, resource mapping and assessment, impact assessment, innovative SMEs and grid improvements (including energy supply modelling and smart hybrid mini-grids).
Evidently, the right sequencing of these research themes is crucial. It was recommended that the initial focus is on dedicated SSA capacity building (including enhanced mobility of researchers), accompanied by selected participation in mainstream research cooperation (e.g. in CSP) and targeted EU development and bilateral cooperation in complementary areas. In the medium-term, dedicated EU-SSA research cooperation (e.g. a H2020 Africa call) could focus on bioenergy. Such an initiative would need to build on e.g. a Technical network on Bioenergy. In the longer term, this would strengthen the potential of the SSA-region to participate in mainstream research cooperation as well.
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