BY OLOWOLAGBA DANIEL TEMITOPE
As Africa balances its need for more access to electricity with the global drive for a just transition to a cleaner 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.
African nations are committed to making significant progress towards addressing the energy challenges the continent is facing. To further accelerate progress towards the energy transition, GE participated at the Africa Gas Forum 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, rendered a keynote address, 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 growth of renewables 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. Notably, GE’s record-setting 9HA gas turbines are the world’s most efficient gas turbines and are already capable of burning up to 50% hydrogen blend. GE’s HA gas turbine portfolio is one of the largest and the most efficient gas turbines in the world and offers the capability to transition 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% less CO2 emissions of a similarly-sized coal plant, and even lower emissions levels for other pollutants. 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.
Speaking also at the forum, Vuyelwa Mahanyele, Sales Director for GE Gas Power, stated that “GE’s innovative technologies are tailored to respond to the needs of the Sub-Saharan Africa region with reliable baseload and flexible power. 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 are the most viable solutions to make substantive reductions in emissions quickly.”
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.