Africa has a major energy dilemma which can be resolved by optimising energy resources and doubling the energy generation rate by 2030. This is according to Walid Sheta, Development Vice President, Africa and Caribbean Zone Business for Schneider Electric. He explains that Schneider is part of this solution in Africa. He says, “We can optimise energy production in a smarter way. Energy efficiency can be realised through the use of a smart grid as it can manage the load. Energy consumption will be optimized as buildings will use less energy as a result.” He suggests microgrids, using renewable energy, for the rural areas.
He says that these have been very successful in Nigeria, Madagascar and South Africa. The microgrid must be robust and relatively maintenance free. He says that Schneider Electric trains the locals to operate the microgrid so that they can develop a business from it. The locals will have the opportunity to turn the microgrid in to a local business by selling power to locals and the surrounding areas.
The other strategy is to steer focus away from limited resources for electric generation. Africa should rather develop its unlimited resources such as the sun and wind.
Mr Sheta says that selling smart technology in Africa will not be easy as it entails monetary outlay. He suggests that Africa’s governments subsidise and incentivise those who want to be smart technology participants.
He concludes that Africa’s power industry will see major transformation from smart technology development within the next three to five years.