Molefe optimistic at continent’s energy potential
from MTHULISI SIBANDA in Cape Town, South Africa
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) – BRIAN Molefe, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Eskom, is upbeat at the energy opportunities that exist in the continent, saying these could be realised through collaborations.
In a speech read on his behalf by board member, Zethembe Khoza, at the ongoing African Utility Week in Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday, Molefe mentioned a number of ongoing projects that had put the continent in good stead to benefit from its vast resources.
He added the continent was ripe for investment in the energy sector.
His presentation follows International Energy Agency’s Africa Energy Outlook estimating that Africa needs an additional $450 billion investment into the sector to reduce power outages by half and achieve universal electricity access in urban areas.
“Africa is open for business. We are open for business because we understand that the business of electricity is the business of creating equality for our people.
“We are open for business because we know that as we continue to electrify at the current rate, we are creating future markets for investors,” Molefe said.
Moelefe mentioned a number of potentially-lucrative projects in South Africa and the region.
He said South Africa had succeeded in developing one of the largest independent power producer programmes in the world. The programme contributed R150 billion in Foreign Direct Investment.
This programme builds on South Africa’s attraction of independent power producers as far back as the 1970s and today 1 500 MW of power are supplied by independent producers in South Africa, he said.
Another key project is the Southern African Power Pool that celebrated its 20 year anniversary this year. Through this vehicle we have seen the facilitation of socio-economic co-operation and integration among 15 southern African states, and seen the benefits to approximately 260 million Africans.
Molefe said Eskom currently had a R580 billion (R280 billion that remains to 2018) capacity expansion programme.
“This is the largest capital expenditure in South Africa and Africa. While there is a 3000 MW gap in South Africa, this gap can be closed,” Molefe said.
He said there were cross-border opportunities in terms of gas and renewables and additional renewable IPP opportunities in South Africa that we are exploring.
“We are really excited that the DRC will house one of the largest hydro power projects in the world. The Grand Inga Hydro Power Project at 40 000 megawatts of hydro-electricity enables us to think more broadly of the potential benefits of such projects to the continent.
“The partnership is no longer a South Africa, DRC partnership but one in which all of us benefit through the development of much needed energy infrastructure,” he said
In addition, the Grand Inga Hydro Power Project represents the start of Africa’s potential to harvest its potential in renewables and other energy resources.
Hydropower opportunities are realised in Ethiopia, Guinea and Mozambique, among others, added the Eskom executive.
“Our neighbour, Mozambique, also becomes one of the hubs of the east coast with the recent offshore discoveries of natural gas.
“The natural gas on the east coast is expected to increase annual regional output to 75 billion cubic metre (bcm). We have the domestic markets for natural gas and the potential to make significant economic gains from its export,” Molefe said.
– CAJ News
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