HomeRegional NewsEast AfricaExclusive interview with Sliman Abu Amara, Business Development Director Africa, DNV GL...

Exclusive interview with Sliman Abu Amara, Business Development Director Africa, DNV GL – Energy

SlimanInterview with Sliman Abu Amara, Business Development Director Africa, DNV GL – Energy, bronze sponsors at the 2015 EAPIC in Nairobi.

What energy projects in East Africa that your company is currently involved in are you particularly excited about?

We are at the forefront of the energy transition in East Africa.  We are involved in the most innovative projects that tackle the electricity deficit in Kenya and provide confidence in the future electrification of Africa, including the incorporation of renewables.

We are demonstrating our commitment to modernising and developing power in Africa by advising KETRACO. This government-owned organisation was established to develop new high voltage electricity transmission infrastructure, in line with the country’s development programme: Kenya Vision 2030.

Wind power generated at the Lake Turkana Wind Power plant will be fed into the national grid at Suswa. DNV GL demonstrated its commitment to modernising and developing power in Africa by advising on the construction of a 420 kV overhead transmission line and substations. The 426 km AC line runs from the national grid at Suswa (80km NW of Nairobi) to Loiyangalani (SE of Lake Turkana).

The line is designed to strengthen the Kenyan grid and build a connection between Nairobi and one of the largest wind farms in Africa. It supports the government initiative to harness the country’s rich renewable resources to boost the economy and respond to consumption needs in the capital.

Without transmission lines such as this, the future development of reliable wind and geothermal resources would be limited and Kenya could be forced to rely on more expensive fossil fuels serving power plants in the coastal region.

DNV GL has been involved in the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project since 2007 with services on project management and third party review. It is the single largest private investment project in Kenya and one of the largest wind projects in Africa.

Another exciting project we are currently involved in is wind mapping for Tanzania and Zambia for the World Bank ESMAP programme. These wind maps can be used by the government to assess the resource potential for strategic planning, and the grid owner is able to identify where these projects are likely to be built and to plan for future grid reinforcements to facilitate future connection in windy areas.

Providing Tanzania and Zambia with these wind maps further boosts their renewable energy developments, stimulates economic growth and ultimately helps reduce poverty.

What are the main challenges of this region?

Africa’s economy is booming: seven of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa. However this enormous economic growth has created a severe electricity shortage, which is hindering further commercial developments.

According to World Bank statistics, African manufacturing companies experience power outages on an average of 56 days per year. Reliable 365-days-a-year electricity supplies could help business in sub-Saharan Africa avoid losses of up to 20% in sales revenue.

There is an urgent need to develop energy infrastructure across Africa, in order to provide the continent with wider reaching and more reliable power as well as support future economic growth and prosperity for the African society.

Another challenge in the East African energy sector is related to the political and regulatory environment. Governments are implementing programs with ambitious targets to provide more people with durable electricity solutions.

These dynamic trends create the backdrop for power generation and transmission projects in Africa. Authorities are paving the way for private entrants to the power generation sector.

Renewable energies (wind and solar) are encouraged like gas fired generation, as the gap between electricity demand and supply is growing faster than what renewables can respond to alone. We need to work together as an industry to overcome and tackle those challenges.

What is your vision for the energy sector?

Electricity has already revolutionised the way we power our operations, fuel our vehicles and light and heat our buildings – it will have an even bigger role to play in the decades to come. Many emerging technologies can provide cleaner, smarter, more affordable and more reliable energy solutions.

Floating offshore wind will provide large-scale emissions-free power by 2050. A suite of smart grid technologies will provide households and communities with leaner, more local power. For example, smart meters could be a first step towards a smarter power system.

These meters can show users how much energy costs at different times, encouraging energy to be used at cheaper off-peak times. This goes toward addressing the immediate problem of reliability in grid networks, while also thinking ahead to a more sustainable and renewable energy future.

DNV GL can help the African continent in its transition towards a more reliable, sustainable and cost effective energy supply.

What will be your message at the event?

East Africa should continue to invest in its energy sector, while prioritising further market liberalisation, boosting grid stability and grid connection while also accelerating renewables integration as it facilitates regional trade through expanded grid-interconnection.

DNV GL is the leading expert in Africa – from risk management to grid studies and renewable integration and is the partner of choice for affordable, reliable and clean power in Africa.

Anything you would like to add?

If you have a project, a concept or a technical issue you think could be resolved by renewable energy and related grid challenges, come and speak to our team at the DNV GL stand.




Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.