Totalenergies: The lack of guarantees is holding back renewables in Africa, according to Patrick Pouyanné

PARIS (Reuters) – The lack of guarantees against the risk of non-payment is hampering the development of renewable energies in Africa even though their potential is considerable, declared Wednesday the CEO of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanné, who advocates the creation of an organization international to remedy the problem.

During a conference organized on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Patrick Pouyanné declared that TotalEnergies only had the possibility of developing renewable energy projects in Africa with companies of the mining sector, by definition solvent.

“In Africa, the problem is simple. We have a problem of solvency of counterparties. There is no electricity in Africa (…) because, fundamentally, people do not pay for electricity or you risk not to be paid,” he said.

“When a renewable energy developer wants to develop – and it is obvious that there is enormous potential – he will see the government and ask for guarantees. But African governments (…) are not in able to give these guarantees (…)”, he added.

“I am disappointed not to see that there is a possibility on this planet of setting up a real international financial body to provide counter-guarantees to all these African states.”

Patrick Pouyanné also estimated that the development of renewable energies in Europe suffered from authorization procedures that were far too slow.

“It’s really a problem. We use twice as many people in France or Spain to move projects forward and they are twice as slow,” he said.

(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet; editing by Kate Entringer)

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