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The falling cost of enhanced energy storage is set to help fast-track progress in power generation, particularly in the renewables space presenting huge opportunities for companies across Africa.

This is according to experts speaking ahead of Africa’s premier power sector summit, POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa.

Sherwin Harris, Business Development Manager SSA at General Electric, says that as countries increasingly look to integrated energy resource plans, the issue of cost effective batteries to support energy security comes to the fore.

“Advanced batteries actually enhance grid stability, and can be harnessed to support a range of use cases, including thermal gas hybrids, ancillary power services, renewable integration, black start capability, minimising of spinning reserve and energy load shifting. We are seeing growing interest out of Africa in our innovations in the microgrid and energy storage spaces,” says Harris.

Optimising energy supply

Louis Shaffer, Distributed Energy Segment Leader EMEA at Eaton, notes that companies increasingly understand that storage added to solar is a way to optimise their energy supply and reduce payback time.

“Microgrids are compelling for various reasons – such as when a facility is located in agricultural or under-served areas, or in urban areas where they are subject to excessively high peak charges,” he says.

Shaffer believes there is a compelling case for solar microgrids for any commercial or industrial company. He concedes that the upfront capital investment is still a hurdle for many, but notes that in many cases, a return on investment can be achieved in around five years.

“Companies can also implement projects in a modular way – starting small and adding capacity over time as the costs come down,” he says.

Premier power sector summit

Both Harris and Shaffer will be at the POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa Conference & Exhibition taking place from 17-19 July 2018 at the Sandton Convention Centre.

This annual event, Africa’s premier power sector summit, attracts over 3,000 VIPs and decision-makers from the pan-African and international power sector.

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