Nigeria Siemens
Featured image: Stock

The world has gone digital. Anyone that has the option, has taken their workspace out of the office and into their homes. This has increased traffic on internet-based platforms, which thankfully have held up under pressure.

Originally published in the ESI Africa final newsletter for 2019 on 25/03/2020

The reason for this shift is to practice #socialdistancing to ‘flatten the curve’ as the coronavirus pandemic continues to overwhelm health care systems in many countries.

The ESI Africa team is doing its share and yesterday, along with two industry experts, traversed down the online-events road. We’ve hosted many webinars; however, this was the first where everyone—webmaster, editorial, marketing, moderator and guest speakers—were all dialled in remotely.

It was a smooth transition that gathered a lively webinar audience to address the opportunities in Africa’s power generation market and the reality that we face. Here are a few discussion items that we covered.

In his opening statement, the Danish Energy Agency Advisor, Andrea Isidori, noted that in the next 10-20 years, renewable energy technologies would be the leading energy generation sources that will be powering Africa.

However, our current situation is not ideal as Hendrik Malan, partner & CEO Africa at Frost & Sullivan Africa, pointed out that at 10GJ per person, sub-Saharan Africa continues to fall short of the UN development goal of 100GJ.

Let me add to Malan’s statement. To understand what this means, approximately 100GJ of natural gas is needed to heat an average-sized home in Canada for one year. Heating in Canada’s cold climate is one of the primary household expenses. Imagine then what a home in an African country can achieve with 100GJ of available and affordably generated energy.

However, in terms of natural gas, Isidori notes that one of the main challenges is how to develop generation gas infrastructure. “Only recently did we have additional gas discoveries on the continent, which account for approximately 40%…” he said.

The webinar, which took live questions from the audience, also covered wind, solar, battery storage and the fact that biomass continues to dominate the energy mix.

Ultimately the message is clear; there is much work ahead of us and the opportunities, like any market, are not without risk for project developers and investors in the power generation industry.

You can access the full recording of the webinar here and diarise the upcoming 20th edition of the African Utility Week & POWERGEN Africa conference taking place from 24 to 26 November 2020 in Cape Town, where this discussion will continue.

Until next week.