East African countries are increasingly looking to smart grids and associated technologies as a cost effective and scalable way to deliver electricity quickly and reliably, an industry official said.
Delegates from Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Uganda recently participated in business meetings and toured facilities during the East Africa Smart Grid Reverse Trade Mission hosted by the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).
The mission found that the energy needs and related solutions for each East African country varied according to levels of maturation and accessible resources, said Webb Meko, Business Development Director for sub-Saharan Africa at Black & Veatch, one of the US companies that attended.
"As such, each country requires different solutions to address country specific electricity requirements and dynamics," Meko said.
"For example, Ethiopia has 4,300 MW of installed capacity that largely consists of hydroelectric power. Becoming an industrialised modern middle-income economy and an East African energy hub by 2025 is driving implementation of geothermal, solar photovoltaic, wind and off-grid projects."
"Rwanda has 217 MW of installed power with a balanced mix of hydro, methane and diesel generation. Growth of the country’s power system will include peat, additional hydro, more diesel and enhanced focus on transmission and substation facilities, as well as expansion of its distribution network.”
A smart grid is an electricity network that can intelligently integrate the actions of all users connected to it in order to efficiently deliver sustainable, economic and secure electricity supplies.
Meko said solving the funding challenge in Africa would unlock many new projects, and that Black & Veatch was positioned to provide tailored solutions to meet the challenges and needs of Africa’s growing energy sector.