As we prepare to publish approximately 30 interviews on Africa's energy sector developments conducted at African Utility Week 2015 (and more to come from the recent Africa Energy Forum), the high level of activity that is taking place across the continent is clear, writes Jonathan Spencer Jones, contributing editor to Engerati, the sister portal to Metering.com.
Africa faces major challenges, particularly around electrification and infrastructure. [Engerati-Sustainable Energy For All Requires $1trn Annually]
However, it also offers many opportunities for companies of all sizes.
With its considerable renewable potential across all technologies – solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, hydro, ocean/wave – Africa offers huge potential to leapfrog with developments of all sizes from residential to microgrid to grid-scale. [Off-grid Solutions Will Electrify Africa and Clean Energy Microgrids - The Future for Africa’s Mines] By way of example rooftop PV is currently the fastest growing PV segment in Africa, as it is globally, and over the next 5 years is expected to account for over one-third of market installations.
However, such developments need not only regulatory support, but also integrated planning – as has been brought to the fore in South Africa where there appears to have been a disconnect between the renewables development plans and Eskom’s infrastructure planning. [Resolving South Africa’s Renewables Integration Challenge]
Though Africa has been a leader in power pooling, more also needs to be done to share power across borders and regions. [Power Transmission Interconnections –The Answer to Africa’s Energy Access Crisis] And finally for companies which are looking for opportunities in Africa, given the varying regulatory regimes and trading rules, a local partner may go a long way to participating in the market.
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