How Cape Verde plans to run on 100% renewable energy by 2020

Cape Verde has pledged to power the entire country with nothing but renewable energy by the year 2020 and hopes other African countries will follow along (more on

In 2010, the Cape Verde government set short term targets of 25 percent renewable energy by the end of 2011 and 50 percent by 2020. Wind power currently accounts for 25 percent of all electricity consumed in the country. As a result, the country has now revised its renewable goals for the decade – 30/35 percent by the end of 2016, 50 percent by 2018 and 100 percent by 2020. But how do they plan to do it?

1. Institutional Reforms:  I have written about this in my previous post about the importance of building the right financial model that takes into account affordability and energy entrepreneurship ( Cape Verde did that exactly; they established the Cabeólica project as the first Public Private Partnership (PPP) to deliver commercial scale wind power. Cabeólica engages in the development, financing, construction, ownership, and operation of wind farms in Cape Verde. Cabeólica is the first successfully closed commercial-scale PPP wind-farm development in Sub-Saharan Africa. They have reduced power generation costs by about 20%, CO2 emissions have fallen by almost 55,000 tons per annum.

2. Energy Innovation: According to country’s energy minister, Anildo Costa

Cape Verde wants to serve as a laboratory,” he told CNN. “We’ll invest in technological innovations so we can learn over time, and fully adopt those technologies once they become profitable for the country. “Given the share of renewable energy in our network,  and our intensive experience of these technologies, we should be able to share this experience beyond our borders.”

They have already created, the government founded the Centre for Renewable Energy and Industrial Maintenance (CERMI) to further this goal, which it hopes can become a resource for the whole of west Africa.

Finally Jobs: The country hopes with investment in Solar and Wind will not only cut expensive import, but it will creation more jobs for the West African country of 550,000 inhabitants. According to Green Peace, there could be about 7.6 million jobs in Africa by 2020 in the renewable energy sector and about 10 million by 2030.

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Franklyn Kanyako

Ph.D. Student Industrial Engineering, UMass Amherst, working on environmental decision-making, uncertainty in climate policies. Former International Renewable Energy Agency(IRENA) Scholar and United Nations Secretary General's Climate Change Support Team Intern.

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