With recent major gas discoveries in Tanzania, Mozambique, Senegal, Mauritania and South Africa, Africa is poised to use gas technologies that are faster, more reliable, more cost-effective and more environmentally-friendly than coal or oil.
To deliberate on the changing trends and future direction of gas in the energy industry, GE recently hosted the Gas Power Summit for Sub-Saharan Africa in Cape Town, South Africa.
The forum brought together senior leaders from governments, financiers as well as key stakeholders and thought leaders from utilities and the private sector across the region to explore industry opportunities and challenges on the future of gas power in sub-Saharan Africa.
During his keynote discussion, Scott Strazik, CEO of GE Gas Power, emphasized the need for countries in sub-Saharan African to work together with the private sector to meet the growing energy demands.
“Bridging the energy gap in Sub-Saharan Africa will require continuous, sequential power improvements and the full involvement of governments, fuel suppliers, private capital and technology providers. Gas is a natural choice to help fill the gaps – providing dispatchable, flexible, affordable, and fast power for people and industries – and with more than 120 years of experience in the region, GE is proud to continue to help lead these efforts.” Strazik said.
The participants at the forum discussed key trends shaping the energy sector, including the use of technology to drive better efficiencies for utilities and the use of natural gas to meet the increasing energy demand.
“Energy demand globally is driven primarily by socio-economic development and Sub-Saharan Africa will need to be creative in how we manage the energy deficit,” said Hendrik Malan, CEO for Frost & Sullivan Africa.
“Adoption of natural gas is an excellent opportunity for the region to reduce carbon emissions and balance the energy mix,” he said.
The modern power grid needs resources that can ramp up and down, swiftly, efficiently and repeatedly. Operational flexibility is critical for gas turbines that compliment renewable energy as it balances electric system loads and helps maintain grid reliability.
“GE continues to help countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa meet their growing energy demands. Case in point, our Aero-derivative gas turbines provide fast, reliable power for energy emergencies and power crisis while our total plant management solutions demonstrates our strength as a single service provider that understands the full plant-as-a-system impact for installation, maintenance, repair and upgrade activities,” said Elisee Sezan, CEO for GE’s Gas Power business in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“GE’s TM2500 mobile aeroderivative gas turbine, for example, can be installed quickly – in as little as a few weeks – to help alleviate frequent outages, making them especially well-suited for countries throughout Africa.”
In Angola, GE Gas Power provided emergency power within 30 days just before Christmas, providing emergency power for approximately 100,000 Angolan homes.
GE has been collaborating with energy stakeholders to deploy innovative technologies tailored to respond to the needs in the region since the 1950s with reliable baseload and flexible emergency power.
In 2018, the company celebrated its 100th power plant in Sub-Saharan Africa and today, up to 17GW of gas power generation on the grid runs on GE gas turbines. GE Gas Power’s portfolio consists of advanced technologies and solutions that help build and manage power plant assets and operations more efficiently.