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In order to effectively address the ‘Energy Trilemma’ – security, equity, and access – flexible and robust policies, that provide clear guidelines, are necessary to facilitate a sustainable energy market across the continent, says Joseph Mahendran, Operations Manager for Black & Veatch, South Africa.

In Africa, new technology is expanding access to reliable electricity, but the broad range of forces impacting the continent’s energy sector is creating significant upheaval in every element of the traditional electric utility business model.

This article originally appeared in Issue 2 2018 of our print magazine. The digital version of the full magazine can be read online or downloaded free of charge.

New market entrants are altering decades-old structures governing the control of generation assets, fuel source technology, and T&D networks. Data created by digitisation throughout the value chain is evolving from an operational asset to a commercial resource. Furthermore, high-profile events such as the drought in Cape Town have raised concern that climate change is impacting the continent, while millions lack services.

This leads to questions of what energy resources the continent will adopt to provide accessible, reliable power to all, as growing demand for generation capacity and access to electricity is compounded by shifting sentiment towards fossil-based technologies that leverage abundant local fuel resources. Therefore, the energy choices African leaders make need to balance meeting the energy demand needs of a growing population with the need to reduce carbon emissions.

The Energy Trilemma conversation must encourage the adoption of technologies such as microgrids, energy storage and blockchain that have the potential to revolutionise the sector – enhancing access, transparency and commercial security.

Similarly, opening markets while facilitating returns for new and existing service providers can encourage investment in necessary generation assets, as well as pipelines, and regional transmission and distribution networks.

Black & Veatch’s commitment to Africa spans more than 50 years. As the continent moves to broaden access to reliable power, our true value lies in partnering with Africa’s energy leaders to cater for their unique challenges and opportunities. ESI

This article originally appeared in Issue 2 2018 of our print magazine. The digital version of the full magazine can be read online or downloaded free of charge.