“Often there exists many small generation sites, but the scarce network is also a challenge causing long interconnections and increased losses.”Bertrand

Exclusive interview with Bertrand Rochecouste Collet, Technical Director at Aurecon, a longtime partner of African Utility Week. Bertrand will address the hydro track of the African Utility Week conference on “Fast tracking hydro infrastructure build in developing countries”.

1. What in your view are the main challenges currently to the energy industry in Africa?

The energy industry is separated in three portfolios, namely, generation, transmission and distribution.  Whilst the generation is somewhat being addressed throughout the African continent, the transmission and distribution requires special attention in order to provide quality supply to communities and ensure a stable grid.  On a separate note, often there exists many small generation sites, but the scarce network is also a challenge causing long interconnections and increased losses.

2. Any specific project updates/success stories that you can share?

Our role in the Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam and Hydropower Project in Nigeria, where Aurecon was appointed for the feasibility study of the dam all the way to the detailed design of the dam and hydropower station and contract administration of the various suppliers, was recently extended to also include the design of the interconnection from the hydropower station to the national grid, comprising of over 240 km of 132 kv double circuit line, four new substations along the route as well as some distribution.  Whilst the dam will be impounded in April 2015 and the hydropower plant will be ready for wet testing in May 2015, the actual full testing and commissioning has been slightly delayed to September 2016 which is when the line will be ready to evacuate the power generated.

3. What is your vision for this industry?

My vision of the industry is that of a collative approach where focus and emphasis is not on a particular field but spread amongst all necessary services required to uplift communities and alleviate poverty on the African continent.

4. Tell us more about your organisation and your activities in the utility industry?

Aurecon is one of the world’s leading engineering, management and technical services consultants, focused on adding significant value to our clients’ businesses and ensuring reliable, effective delivery of infrastructure and projects.  With our global presence, and an unrivalled breadth of technical expertise, Aurecon’s client-centric approach means our business is structured to support agile, rapid response to client needs and to deliver consistent, high quality outcomes.  Whilst we aim to set the benchmark in engineering, management and specialist technical services and we understand that success means different things to different clients, our business model focuses on tailoring the best Aurecon team across industries, expertise and geographies to engineer that success. Data and telecommunications, water services, energy and asset management are key area of expertise in which Aurecon provides services to the utility industry.

5. You are part of the conference programme at this year’s African Utility Week in May, what will be your message?

My message will be, in a similar tone to Victor Kgomoeswana’s statement, indicating that not only Africa is open for business, but that Africa is full of success stories, many of which will be portrayed at the conference, which offers a platform for sharing such success stories.

6. What are you most looking forward to at African Utility Week?

Networking, meeting new people and keeping abreast of the new technology.

7. Anything you would like to add?

Africa Utility Week offers benefits to all stakeholders in the industry.  It is impressive to see how much it has grown over the last couple of years which is inevitable with such a professional team behind it.  I advise all to grasp the opportunity being offered on such a platform and wish the best to AUW 2015.