African Utility Week conference smart grid session
African solar potential DNV GL survey at AUW 2015
DNV GL, which has worked on large-scale solar plants in Africa, says utilities have to overcome grid integration problems to continue to attract investment

Global testing, certification and advisory services company DNV GL Energy will release results of a survey regarding three dynamics reshaping renewable and grid connection at Africa Utility Week, taking place in Cape Town in May 2015.

DNV GL, which has worked on large-scale wind and solar energy projects in South Africa, Egypt, Kenya and Morocco, will unveil results of the study in order "to develop tailored solutions for African grid challenges, to enable African utilities to connect and integrate more renewables into the grid", said Sliman Abu Amara, area manager Africa at DNV GL.

Renewable energy projects in Africa

In South Africa, DNV GL has been involved in nine wind projects (including Dorper and Gouda Wind Farms), and one solar project. In Kenya, DNV GL is the engineering partner in the 300MW Lake Turkana project, which will be the single largest wind park in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mr Abu Amara commented: “We have noticed a lot of things happening in the African market, in South Africa, in sub-Saharan Africa and in Northern Africa. The African market is ready for the penetration of larger scale renewable energy on the continent.”

“Everybody always smiles when you talk about solar in Africa - the continent has abundant sunshine so solar is its most logical choice. There are several projects starting, with South Africa again leading the market.

"Morocco has developed a few projects and so has Egypt, Other countries are following suit but unfortunately it is still going too slow. And that is despite the fact that during the last decade, solar has become much cheaper.”

DNV GL also sees Egypt as a renewable energy market to watch: “They are very ambitious in terms of renewable energy with a target of 20% renewable energy in the country. The political instability has caused delays, but the current government is dedicated to enable financing of renewable projects. We see Egypt as a very important market for the renewable energy sector – it is going to be growing very fast.”

Integrating renewable energy to grid

Commenting on the need for better grid integration, Abu Amara commented: “For African utilities to continue attracting investments in solar, they have to solve issues related to grid integration. In 2020, we will see very strong deployment of solar technologies in Africa, like never before.”

“We know that renewables and the grid is a complex issue worldwide,” says Sliman Abu Amara. “It is the same in countries such as Germany and the US, but we are also aware of this from our work in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Egypt and Morocco."

African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa takes place between 12-14 May 2015 at the CTICC in Cape Town, South Africa.