Only partly. It is true that the use of competitive auctions has accelerated cost reductions for some renewable technologies, notably solar PV, onshore wind and offshore wind, establishing price benchmarks that are recognised worldwide. However, these prices cannot be consistently followed, as each country and technology has different resource potentials, financing conditions and auction designs.
That said, overall trends show that recent bid prices for onshore wind and solar PV technologies for projects to be commissioned by 2023 range from USD 20 per megawatt hour (MWh) to USD 50/MWh. This corresponds to a 45-50% reduction in contract price for both technologies from 2017 to 2022/23; for offshore wind, the decline is almost two-thirds.
In a damp office at Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa University, doctoral student Hailu Geremew fantasizes about working on the nuclear reactor his country is now pondering building. “Oh that is my dream, my dream, my dream,” said the nuclear physicist, 32, wearing rectangular glasses and a cardigan.
Geremew is part of a new generation of African scientists whose prospects are expanding as their governments team up with foreign powers on a potential fast-track to electrification. For now, South Africa is the only country on the continent operating a nuclear power plant.But in recent years, at least seven other sub-Saharan African states have signed agreements to deploy nuclear power with backing from Russia, according to public announcements and the World Nuclear Association (WNA), an industry body.