Renewable Energy: Growth of Energy Storage in Africa | Infrastructure Conference 2018

The moderator, Jacob Flewelling, started the session discussion by sharing what the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) does and how the agency is uniquely positioned to support energy, transport and ICT projects in emerging markets by connecting them to leading U.S. solutions. Mr. Flewelling set the scene for the discussion by talking about how energy storage in South Africa – and by extension, the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, is on the cusp of “arriving.” There is a recognition in the energy industry that there is a larger role for energy storage in Africa in the coming years. His questions to the technology experts on the panel touched mostly on how their solutions were the right fit for Africa; how energy storage advanced electricity access on the continent; and the monetization of service delivery.

 

John DeBoever shared how energy storage has the potential to accelerate Africa’s socioeconomic transformation and that it could possibly be the most effective response to the continent’s increasing demand for electricity. Mr. DeBoever shared how UniEnergy Technologies’ provided green solutions. Rakesh Maharaj talked about Primus Power’s lasting solutions and its resilience to ambient conditions making their products appropriate for the market. Julian Oteng shared Xago Africa’s experience on the continent, the company has a number of solar and hydro projects in Kenya and Zambia. Offering a government’s perspective, Bertie Strydom echoed the panel’s sentiment about the sector having the potential to spur economic growth and talked about how IDC is supporting and nurturing energy storage by working with developers and service providers to establish capacity and lower costs.

 

It is clear that energy storage technology is a game-changer for widespread adoption of renewable energy throughout Africa because countries will need to double their electrical power output to meet rising demand. The growing interest on the continent in this type of technologies is allowing countries to review and affect policy to allow for market penetration and adoption. While this is positive, policy and regulation discussions are not happening fast enough to allow industry to create revenue streams and price services and utilities.