Africa Energy Program

We work to provide the best international expertise in energy efficiency and renewable energy development across the African continent.

Our Work

With an average annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of over 5%, African economies are well poised to triple their energy consumption in the next few decades. Our work is aimed at reducing energy poverty, mitigating pollution, and enhancing job creation and sustainable development. ETA researchers have developed comprehensive analytical tools and studies of energy to assist government agencies and implementers choose cost effective energy efficiency and renewable energy as first options to meet growing energy demands. This includes:

  • Performing cost-benefits analysis
  • Organizing and conducting workshops on policy best practices
  • Producing tools to model future energy consumption and alternative scenarios
South Africa

Berkeley Lab provides technical assistance and strategic advice to the Republic of South Africa's Department of Energy with the implementation of that country's appliance energy efficiency standards and labeling (EES&L) and with the design of incentive programs.

Major contributions include:

  • Energy Savings Estimates - Using BUENAS, a Berkeley Lab modeling platform, our researchers provided estimates of energy savings potentials for each appliance type covered by the program.
  • Baseline Study - Working with Unlimited Energy and Enervee in a project commissioned by South Africa DOE, Berkeley Lab performed an analysis of market data collected from online retailers through "web crawling" in order to establish the efficiency baseline of South Africa's appliance market. By comparing current efficiency levels to those required by minimum energy performance standards announced in 2014, Berkeley Lab performed an assessment of energy savings impacts expected from the program, and contributed to the framework for ongoing market tracking.
  • Technical Cost-Benefit Analysis for Water Heaters in South Africa - Working with Stellenbosch University and Unlimited Energy Berkeley Lab conducted a cost-benefit analysis of electric water heater standby loss reduction, and contributed to product testing and tear-down analysis. This study provided key inputs to stakeholder dialog surrounding proposed minimum energy performance standards, leading to a revised standard likely to save the country 3.8 TWh in 2030.
  • Incentive program workshop - Berkeley Lab organized a stakeholder workshop entitled "International Best Practices for Incentives programs" in August 2014, to inform decision-makers in South Africa and other African countries about successful policy approaches and how these may be implemented in, or adapted to, their national programs.

Berkeley Lab’s study, Energy Efficiency Roadmap for Uganda, Making Energy Efficiency Count, is a response to the important role that electrical energy efficiency can play in meeting Uganda’s energy development goals. The report shows that implementing energy efficiency in parallel with expanding both the electricity grid and new clean energy generation helps optimize the power supply so that more customers can be served reliably at minimum cost. Berkeley Lab and ICF International with support from Power Africa worked closely with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) of Uganda to develop this document.

The Uganda Energy Efficiency Roadmap is a project funded by USAID to build on the on-going programs of both Power Africa and SE4All in Uganda to raise the opportunities for electricity savings through energy efficiency programs. The project built on the Energy Efficiency component of the SE4All Action Agenda by providing more in-depth treatment of the electricity efficiency opportunities, outlining a concrete pathway for the implementation of energy efficiency programs.

The project (1) assessed the technical electricity savings potential, (2) identified policies and programs that allow to realize this potential and (3) engaged with stakeholders to implement program and policies identified. One of the objectives of this project was to promote the multiple benefits of energy efficiency in the following areas: reducing costs of power generation, distribution and use, reducing pollution and emissions, and enhancing the benefits on the local economy.

Berkeley Lab and the International consultant group ICF partnered in this project to provide their experience and lead the realization of the project.

Africa Clean Energy Corridor

Berkeley Lab is assessing high-quality wind, solar photovoltaic (PV), and concentrated solar power (CSP) resources in 21 countries* in the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP) and Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) through a project with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). This study will support countries from the Africa Clean Energy Corridor (ACEC) in their ability to identify low-regret renewable energy development options that satisfy multiple stakeholder concerns. This capability is crucial for countries with limited financial and institutional resources for energy planning and development.

Contact: Stephane de la Rue du Can


Berkeley Lab has collaborated with Ghana's Energy Commission on appliance energy efficiency since 1999. This collaboration led to the implementation of the first energy efficiency standards and labeling (EES&L) program in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2001. The legislation covered minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for room air conditioners and product labeling. Supported by technical assistance from our researchers, Ghana's appliance efficiency program demonstrates a successful model and leadership to other countries in the region seeking to improve product efficiency.

Berkeley Lab's collaboration with Ghana's Energy Commission has grown over the years, notably with recent support from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). In this project, we assisted MCC in the preparation of its second compact with Ghana by:

  • Defining energy efficiency and demand side management (EE/DSM) programs in consultation with MCC, MiDA, Ghana Energy Commission and local stakeholders.
  • Evaluating potential impacts and prioritizing EE/DSM programs using a cost-benefit analysis.
  • Preparing procurement plans and other documents to assist implementation of the Compact such as budget plans and draft scopes of work.

This assignment allowed MCC to include an investment of $25.4 million in energy efficiency and demand side management (EE/DSM) as part of the Power Compact II in Ghana. Proposed and selected EE/DSM activities in the Ghana Compact include development and enforcement of standards and labels, energy auditing, public-awareness campaign and pilot project to introduce distributed applications like solar photovoltaic backup power for lighting and electronics, off-grid solar systems, and grid-connected solar systems.

Currently, Berkeley Lab is continuing to work with MCC and the Ghana Energy Commission to assist in the implementation of the EE/DSM project.


In Benin, Berkeley Lab assisted MCC in developing an investment plan for Demand Side Management (DSM), Energy Efficiency (EE), and Distributed Generation (DG) for its new compact on the Power Sector.

  • EE/DSM/DG Portfolio of program activities: Berkeley Lab developed a portfolio of EE/DSM/DG programs, policy, and technology options based on the country's capacity to implement the proposed program(s) and market barriers identified. We worked with government institutions and partners in Benin to determine which measures and programs are the most appropriate and effective for the particular national, institutional, and socio-economic context of Benin. We also identified policy reforms and other institutional arrangements required for a successful implementation.
  • Off-grid products development: In addition to analyzing the opportunities for energy efficiency, We assessed the potential for off-grid products development. The penetration of solar lanterns and solar home systems (SHS) is expected to grow rapidly in Africa. We proposed activities to enable this growth to accelerate and amplify in Benin through market enabling activities and product quality certification. We also assessed the opportunity presented by energy efficient products used in SHS system for increasing energy access.
  • Cost-Benefits analysis: Berkeley Lab developed a rigorous and transparent benefit-cost modeling that MCC used to make effective choices for funding/program priorities, which are consistent with MCC's institutional objectives and investment criteria (i.e., ERR). We also provided recommendations to MCC of the most effective strategies and implementation arrangements in order to achieve the objectives of the compact.

This collaboration contributed to include activities in MCC Compact to advance energy efficiency measures in the public sector and private marketplace, to allow policy reforms that seek to change energy use behavior through consumer education about energy efficiency and to accelerate an enabling environment for off-grid electricity.

Energy-Efficiency Initiative

Under SEAD, Berkeley Lab supported the ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policy initiative by estimating the potential energy savings that would result from regional standards and labeling policies. Initial analysis suggested that the ECOWAS region could save more than 60 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity per year by 2030 by adopting best practice efficiency standards for primary appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners, lighting, and other equipment. To put this into perspective, 60 TWh is nearly as much electricity as was consumed by the entire ECOWAS region in 2011.

Africa Energy Program Researchers
Program Manager 3