Growth in renewable energy investment in developing countries has overtaken that of developed countries, which is testament to the role renewable energy plays in the energy sector, says Energy Security Services Africa head for strategic energy and client delivery Gareth Gregory.
This, he told Engineering News Online on the sidelines of the Power & Electricity World Africa conference, is supported by a Bloomberg study, which showed that investment in renewable energy in developing countries overtook that of developed countries by about 16% by the end of 2015.
He added, however, that this vibrancy in the industry was not only the result of technology changes within the energy mix, but also as a result of what’s happening in terms of regulation and policy within the industry.
“From about October 2016, we started seeing a few things happening and started seeing a few economies of scale kicking in, which is, ultimately, making an impact and is a clear indicator as to what is happening in the global sector,” he added.
A shift in momentum and willingness to participate – not just from a government point of view – but as a sector, is what is important in potentially resolving the plight of 650-million people across the African continent that are currently living in energy poverty, Gregory averred.
“We’ve got 50 years of case study that has failed and we’re in a new era now. I’m so enthusiastic that the sentiments are changing within the sector and that the willingness to participate as a complete sector – and not as divided sector – is gaining momentum,” he enthused.
This, he added, is seen in many African countries.
Meanwhile, Gregory believes that renewable energy is not the future by itself but says it plays a role in decentralising energy generation.
“Ultimately, your technology groupings can give you an output in terms of an energy mix that’s going to give you a very clear perspective in terms of how much of a percentage of renewable energy is relevant, justifiable and bankable inside the environment, and possibly how many other types of technologies that may be very relevant.”
He suggested that the industry become technology-agnostic as it does its energy modelling and undertakes the planning process, going forward.
“It’s all about decentralising any energy generation, while also including a new way of thinking by introducing the Internet of Things, blockchain, as well as digitisation of the utility space,” he noted.