Great ambitions for Cape Verde and an example for much of the rest of the world. The Cape Verde islands aim to obtain 100% of its electricity from sustainable sources within a decade (2030). Sustainable energy means a minimal impact on the climate change. In addition, the switch to sustainable energy also means that the country is relieved of the greatest financial burden. After all, the country imports expensive petroleum to generate energy. And energy consumption on the Cape Verde islands is high. For example, due to the lack of raw materials, for example, drinking water from the ocean has to be desalinated. A process that requires a lot of energy and goes on continuously. The switch to a fully sustainable energy supply also means more prosperity for the population. They will then have access to electricity 24 hours a day, which is not the case now. And electricity prices will also fall. A win-win situation!
Current use of electricity in Cape Verde
Most of Cape Verde’s electricity is generated by petroleum-powered generators. This petroleum is imported from abroad. Most of the Cape Verde population has limited access to electricity and a third of the population still depends on firewood for cooking. Electricity prices in Cape Verde are also relatively high. On average twice as high as in the United States or Western Europe, for example. This is partly because imported oil products from abroad are relatively expensive. The infrastructure of the national energy supplier is also outdated, causing leaks and electricity being tapped illegally.
Besides the fact that a large part of the electricity is still produces with generators, Cape Verde has already made progress in the field of sustainable energy. You can already find numerous wind turbines and solar panels on various islands. For example, on the island of Santiago near the capital Praia are some wind turbines. And in Monte Trigo on Santo Antao there are several hundred solar panels. On two of the largest islands, about a quarter of the energy generation already consists of wind energy. Good energy storage is still lacking to directly expand capacity.
From import to self-sufficient sustainable energy
Sun and wind are the most important elements for Cape Verde to generate sustainable energy. The geographical location of Cape Verde in relation to the equator is a guarantee for many hours of sunshine. And being an archipelago, there is always wind. But the sustainable raw material mix goes further and most countries do not have these options. For example, as a volcanic country, Cape Verde can also use its geothermal resources to generate energy. Secondly, the ocean at Cape Verde has regular tides, and by the movements of the ocean energy can be generated. Finally, thermal energy can be generated from cold deep sea water and warm surface water.
The energy transition in Cape Verde has now started. For example, the energy network will be expanded and modernized, options for energy storage will be realized and ultimately a sustainable power plant will be built on each island. To realise these change Cape Verde partly receives subsidies from the European Union with partners from the Netherlands, Spain and Germany. All this with the aim of living entirely on green energy very soon.