Sustainable and “green” energy will play a pivotal and central role in Africa’s future development. Indeed,

Project EMERGE

The EMERGE project seeks to provide African policy makers, academics, investors, and citizens with the tools and knowledge required to increase the production of clean energy and the sustainable use of resources while bridging cultural and socioeconomic divides.

In order to simulate scenarios that optimize the use of current resources while taking into account social, climatic, economic, and technical constraints, EMERGE will co-design and test a Toolbox by integrating and building upon existing tools, methodologies, and approaches.

Additionally, a Knowledge Base with a collection of initiatives, materials, and knowledge-exchange activities will be created. The North Western Africa (Morocco), Niger river region (Mali/Nigeria), and east Africa (Mozambique) are three African ecosystems where EMERGE will develop knowledge communities through a participatory approach.

Objectives and ambition

EMERGE brings together 11 multidisciplinary partners, including 9 different countries among Europe (EU) and Africa (AU) (5 in EU and 4 in AU) ensuring also a well-balanced countries coverture in the two continents, with the intention to connect knowledge, speed up the clean energy transition and capitalize the Project’s outputs.
1Specific Objective 1
Establish a network of African experts in energy system analysis through value-based design methodology that reflects on technical, economical, environmental and social aspects of energy planning (WP1,WP4)
2Specific Objective 2
Connect with other AU-EU cooperation activities through liasation with similar project and initiatives, especially HLPD CCSE Partnership and awarded projects from HORIZON-CL5-2021-D3-03-01 for deployment of sound strategy for exploitation and replication of EMERGE results (WP4, WP5, WP6)
3Specific Objective 3
Demonstrate innovative EMERGE Toolbox based on a cross-sectoral CSA for energy system analysis and planning as a support mechanism for the policy and decision-makers (WP2, WP3, WP4,WP5)
4Specific Objective 4
Identify and evaluate regulatory frameworks, energy markets and potential opportunities for clean energy technologies integration to foster an enabling environment for current and future energy transition of the African countries (WP1, WP4)
5Specific Objective 5
Promote, raise awareness and facilitate the adoption of the solutions in EMERGE Toolbox to support the wide-scale energy transition of African countries through actions that contribute to the R&I strategy development and AU-EU cooperation (WP4, WP6)

EMERGE’s pathways towards impact

EMERGE will develop an extensive Toolbox for the transition of the African energy systems towards a 100% renewable systems. The project is tackling the very relevant perspective of an open knowledge approach by making all of the code and software open source and transparent, and building energy modelling expert capacity. EMERGE will produce 8 Key exploitable results (KERs) to support and deliver 4 expected outcomes boosted by D&C actions and 7 long-term impacts supported by exploitation and roadmap (Figure 9).

Key exploitable results

Table below summarises the project’s KERs, their target groups, and the deliverables associated to them (“D.”). In addition to having the expert know-how about the tools, it is also essential to obtain knowledge and feedback from users, understanding the regional energy contexts and also understanding the viewpoints of the stakeholders to avoid unrealistic scenarios and be able to implement the solutions without hurdles. This type of knowledge will also create an environment that supports R&I development and stimulates discussion among energy system experts about the technical, social, environmental and economic implications of different market and policy frameworks.

Project ambition

1EMERGE Stakeholder Group for building the knowledge community
Numerous efforts are presently working to address sustainability challenges and the implementation of energy transition mechanisms in the African continent as well as in Europe. The main obstacles to current projects are connected to the difficulties in bringing together a large number of stakeholders and in building communities that can cooperate to achieve a common objective. EMERGE intends to combine professionals and potential platform users from the EU and AU to create knowledge communities around the renewable energy transition. The project will build on the African partners networks, notably the network of members in the Niger River region, Mozambique, and Morocco, rather than creating a network in the AU from start. The university networks of ECREEE, UMP, ESE, and UNIZAG will all be strengthened through EMERGE. The knowledge communities will also expand on the networks of EU and AU partners that already exist, particularly those that are linked to the UNESCO institutions and partnerships, in particular UEM . Our progress: By building on experiences from the energy system modelling and enhancing the role of stakeholders for the model design phase EMERGE will work to promote a bottom-up approach and remove the obstacles that prevent the adoption of solutions. The Toolbox (which includes CSA and associated tools) will be developed. The project's structure will encourage professional experts (from the AU and EU) to participate in this process and expand the EMERGE initiative together. In Section 2.2.2, a preliminary list of the targeted stakeholders that already supported EMERGE, or a partner is part of a supporting network (a Stakeholder Group) is presented.
2Engagement of users and engagement methodology for the design of EMERGE Toolbox
Users are requiring technologies that are user-friendly and simple to use and that facilitate cross-sectoral decision- making. These tools are no longer used or of interest to the actual users because they are not usually created to satisfy their unique needs and requirements. Building the EMERGE Toolbox with input from Local Communities would enable the user experience of the entire Toolbox to be tailored to the actual issues and challenges faced by investors, academics, and citizens. The development of the Toolbox includes: 1) User research will be conducted in each region and its surrounding area to map current issues so that stakeholders may make well-informed decisions about energy-related initiatives. In order to gather as much information as possible, stakeholder engagement activities including online and offline techniques, such as surveys, world cafes, and interviews, will be used; 2) User engagement through user experience co-creation events and capacity building material. To provide the Toolbox's most customized user experience, the primary problems and difficulties faced by investors, utilities, and policymakers will be taken into consideration. 3) The creation of the model, user interface, training materials, and testing process. In order to make sure that it is still addressing the requirements and issues indicated, EMERGE will collaborate with users to create the Toolbox and the various supporting materials. 4) Final verification. The four target audiences for the Toolbox—policymakers, academics and researchers, investors, and citizens—will provide feedback. Thanks to actual user experience, this will make issue fixes possible during iterative processes. Our progress: The use of new decision-making models by decision-makers and ultimate users is one of the primary problems that must be overcome, which is particularly challenging in the case of government organizations and public authorities5. These technologies frequently adopt a techno-push development model that fails to address the actual issues facing end users. As a result, the tools themselves have a poor adoption rate. To ensure that it addresses actual demands, difficulties, and concerns, EMERGE suggests that the model and accompanying interfaces be co-designed with actual users throughout the three regional African energy systems. The project will begin by organizing recurring local communication actions, workshops, and events to engage users in the three EMERGE Local Communities. Relevant stakeholders who were contacted during the proposal stage and expressed interest in becoming involved with the project's implementation (Stakeholder Group).
3Capacity building approach for building knowledge and skills in energy system modelling
Organizations and energy system actors more broadly can improve competences and abilities through capacity building, which will help them become more resource-efficient and resource-sustainable. In order for actors and communities to have more control over their own future development, it aids in fostering a sense of ownership and empowerment. This is very significant for Africa. The EMERGE approach to creating capacity begins with improving the Consortium's high-level training experience while also valuing the UNESCO/UNITWIN Chair where UEM is a member. The primary objective of this special network is to provide educational materials for exchanging open-source training resources between associated members and outside organizations. The EMERGE project will make use of this UNESCO strategy as it moves forward. All activities of the EMERGE project will address four target groups (TG) initially formed in Stakeholder Group to be further expanded during the project: TG1 – Research and academia, TG2 – Policy makers, TG3 – Investors and business, TG4 – Civil society and general public. Our progress: Since there is a lack of knowledge exchange and educative materials in AU, EMERGE will enable AU-AU study visits in order to have stakeholders learn from other regions, AU-EU exchanges in order to stimulate knowledge transfer and provide gamification tool GREENADVISE suitable for citizens as friendly investment advisor with educational material for raising awareness about benefits of clean energy transition of AU.
4 EMERGE Toolbox for supporting policy makers and considering wide range of energy system aspects
EMERGE will provide a set of tools for evaluating various energy policies and providing support to the decision makers. Currently existing tools usually focus on specific sectors or characteristics and consider the energy system through limited dimensions (e.g. not considering the energy infrastructure, or not considering the synergy of different sectors achieved through cross-sector integration). EMERGE will go beyond current state-of-the-art by offering tools integrated through CSA that will: (i) provide insight in economic, technical, social and environmental parameters of various scenarios; (ii) consider the energy infrastructure (namely electricity grid) and evaluate scenarios by considering infrastructure constraints; (iii) provide an investment advisor suitable for citizens (first version) and upgraded version for experts with integrated uncertainty analysis.