Sunday, February 25th, 2018

West Africa Clean Energy Corridor (WACEC) launched at African Utility Week in Cape Town

Published on May 17, 2017 by   ·   No Comments

The West Africa Clean Energy Corridor (WACEC) aimed at accelerating the deployment of utility scale renewable energy into the region, was launched in Cape Town on Wednesday with a warning for governments and power utilities to play their part to harness benefits of renewable energy.

The launch was part of the African Utility Week Conference currently underway.

Renewable Energy expert at the Ecowas Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (Ecreee) Jansénio Delgado told delegates at least 52% of the population in the region have no access to electricity.

“So we have a big challenge in the region in terms of energy and electricity access,” he said.

According to Delgado the plan is to increase access to at least 88% of the population by 2030, but there are some challenges, he conceded.

Delgado said the region has big potential especially for renewable energy and specifically hydro power.

“The region has big potential in terms of renewable energy from hydro, solar, wind and biomass. These resources are geographically distributed which makes them complimentary.”

He explained there is already a big pipeline of projects underway with Senegal taking the lead.

According to him preliminary conclusions show the development of 10 GW electricity can still be injected into the grid by 2030.

“So the utilities and electrical companies should adapt to renewable energy as a next phase of electricity generation.”

He also foresees the cost of electricity levelling in future as the development of solar electricity generation technology becomes less costly.

“But of course,” Delgado admits, “solar energy also has problems.”

He referred to challenges which include intermittency and non-availability of solar energy at times.

“So we need complimentary with other sources of renewable energy like hydro and that is the reason why we are at the same time also developing a hydro corridor for the region.”

Delgado said another problem is the perception of risk among potential investors and they had to embark on various “derisking activities” in some Ecowas-countries.

This includes strengthening the policy framework by simplifying processes for procurement and pricing.

Delgado insists it is technically possible to inject renewable energy into the grids.

“For me it is not a big problem in terms of connectivity of renewables into the grids. The preliminary results show it is technically possible, he said.

“Of course it is a new concept and utilities are conservative and want to stay in the base concepts that they have that are easiest which is to manage the grid and fossil fuel plans but technically speaking it is possible.”

According to him utilities are usually reluctant to have intermittence of renewables in their system. There are usually also problems with guarantees because in some regions the guarantees investors want, cannot be given.

But it can be economically viable for the region, he maintains.

Delgado said there is the idea that renewables are expensive. “But the time is coming that renewables will really be a competitive source of energy.”

Senior operations advisor at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Ellen Moran, in turn said it can be done and referred to examples in California where there is already a 50/50 energy mix. “But it has to be complimentary.”

According to Moran the challenge outside developed countries however, is problems with financially sound utilities.

“In many countries where utilities are in bad shape it is because the largest customer is the government and it usually does not pay utility bills regularly. So if governments are interested in growing the economy, they will have to do their bit.”

Henning Wuester, director of knowledge policy & finance at the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) welcomed the initiative and said they are very happy to work with Ecreee on this project.

The WACEC project is based on Irena’s similar initiatives in South and Eastern Africa.

“We want to stress that by creating these renewable energy corridors in ways that you can integrate it into the grid, you can so create regional markets.” He said renewable energy can be more effective in bigger settings and lessen dependence on local options.”

Over 7000 decision makers from over 80 countries are attending the three day conference where the latest developments, challenges and opportunities in the power and water sectors will be under the spotlight.

Over 300 experts will over three days discuss innovative solutions to the continent’s energy and water challenges and the exciting opportunities for utilities and industry players.

The conference ends Thursday.

Written by: Alicestine October

Issued by African Utility Week:
Senior communications manager: Annemarie Roodbol
Telephone: +27 21 700 3558
Mobile: +27 82 562 7844
Email: annemarie.roodbol@spintelligent.com
Website: http://www.african-utility-week.com

Readers Comments (0)



RECENT NEWS

Edmonton Oilers survive late video review to finally win in L.A.

February 25, 2018
The Oilers survive a wild finish to win in L.A. Source: Globalnews

Jazz piano legend Oliver Jones, renowned for ‘velvet’ hands, says goodbye

February 25, 2018
Angie Seth chats with Rosey Ugo Edeh, director and producer, of a documentary that looks at the life ...

Patrik Laine reaches 30 goal mark as Winnipeg Jets top Dallas Stars

February 25, 2018
Patrik Laine scored two goals and Dustin Byfuglien had three assists as Winnipeg scored five goals in the ...

Blood Tribe police and RCMP investigate death of man on southern Alberta reserve

February 25, 2018
Members of the Blood Tribe Police Service were called to assist a man reportedly in distress in Stand ...

North Korea imposed a media black-out on Pyeongchang Olympics coverage

February 25, 2018
While hundreds of millions of the world’s people get ready to watch the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang ...

Child, mother speak out about reported luring incident

February 25, 2018
Nine-year-old Braydon De Repentigny said he was walking home from Kelowna's Spring Valley Elementary on Thursday when a ...

Trump, GOP House chairman dismiss Democrat memo defending Russia investigation

February 25, 2018
The Democratic memo seeks to rebut claims that the FBI abused a secret surveillance process to spy on ...

‘I’m here to demand justice’: Regina rally shows support for Tina Fontaine

February 25, 2018
Calls for justice echoed outside the Court of Queen's Bench in Regina today as a rally was held ...

Edmonton shelter raises $70K in national fundraiser

February 25, 2018
An Edmonton shelter was one of dozens across the country that participated in an event Saturday to raise ...

Last-minute pitches for Alberta Party leadership candidates as voting starts Sunday

February 25, 2018
Former Edmonton mayor and PC health minister Stephen Mandel, Calgary lawyer Kara Levis and former UCP MLA Rick ...
%d bloggers like this: