As Africa balances its need for more access to power with the global drive for a just transition to a clean energy future, a combination of renewables and gas power on the continent could lead to significant emissions reduction while delivering reliable, affordable, and sustainable power.
Although approximately 600 million Africans remain without access to reliable energy, the demand for which is expected to increase alongside growing populations, Africa has made significant progress in recent decades towards addressing the energy challenges the continent is facing. To further accelerate progress towards the energy transition, GE is participating this week at the Enlit Africa conference in Cape Town, South Africa, to discuss viable solutions which can be adapted to scale up Africa’s energy systems.
Nosizwe Dlengezele, Regional Sales Executive for GE Gas Power Sub-Saharan Africa, spoke at the keynote session, stating, “The energy transition remains the greatest uncertainty for the power sector today – the need to simultaneously balance affordability, reliability, and sustainability. Gas will play a critical role in the energy transition by complementing the renewables growth and supporting grid reliability.”
Gas is not only increasingly abundant and affordable, but it offers the opportunity of conversions toward net-zero goals through hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) technologies. For example, GE’s HA gas turbine portfolio is one of the largest and the most efficient gas turbine in the world, with record levels of more than 64% combined cycle efficiency, fuel flexibility, and the capability to transition from gas to low-carbon fuels, such as hydrogen.
Natural gas-fired generators have the lowest CO2 emissions of all fossil power generation fuels—a natural gas-fired combined cycle plant has roughly 67% of the CO2 emissions of a similarly-sized coal plant, and lower emissions levels for other pollutants such as mercury, NOx, SOx and particulate matter. For African countries reliant on coal power, the growth of high efficiency combined cycle gas-fired power generation will support both coal-to-gas transition and accelerate renewables penetration by enhancing the reliability and stability of the energy grid.
“We need to create an energy environment in Africa that fosters industrialization while meeting global and country climate change targets. For GE, gas and renewables is the most viable solution to make substantive reductions in emissions quickly,” states Dlengezele.
With almost 70 years of presence in Sub-Saharan Africa, GE has been collaborating with energy stakeholders to deploy innovative technologies tailored to respond to the needs of the Sub-Saharan Africa region with reliable baseload and flexible power. GE delivers across the entire energy ecosystem from generation to transmission and distribution and throughout the region, GE-built technologies are supported by GE local service and maintenance teams working together and in close co-operation with FieldCore to help ensure access to reliable and sustainable energy.