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Renewable Energy Demands Rising in Southern Africa

The SADC region becoming a key player in the international trend toward the

development of renewable energy resources and energy efficiency.

 In total, 17% (9.6 GW) of Southern Africa’s electricity generation capacity in 2020

was based on renewables, primarily solar power (IRENA)

Accelerating renewable energy delivery in Commercial and Industrial

business's in Southern Africa: What’s stopping us?

 

A global transition to a clean energy future is underway. Many countries

across the world have already achieved high levels of renewable energy

integration facilitated through technological investment and the creation

of enabling policy and regulatory environments. 

Yet, Africa accounts for less than 3% of the world’s installed renewables-based

electricity generation capacity (IRENA, 2021a). This low rate of use comes

despite Africa’s vast renewable energy resource potential.

Energy is vital to development in Southern Africa. Beyond its use in daily life,

fuel and electricity catalyze infrastructure projects that drive both Regional

Integration and economic growth. As the SADC region industrializes on its

path to improved human development, energy production, and distribution

will only increase in importance.

 

The supply of affordable electricity still remains a challenge, while the region is experiencing massive financial gaps in investments needed for building new generation, transmission and distribution capacities and capabilities. This lack of generation, transmission, and distribution challenge has partially been overcome with the rapid growth of private mini-grids supporting anchor clients and surrounding businesses and consumers.

Bluestone Service Group (BSG) is focused on finding emerging technologies and innovative solutions in the renewable energy sector that can integrate and support their current own and partner projects.​

  • In the Solar PV Commercial and industrial market, Colin is contracted to Terra Firma Solutions/Lumika Renewables as BDM to deliver 500kWp - 60MWp projects.

  • In the Renewable  Energy IPP market, Waste2Energy Global SA (a Bluestone Service Group sister company) and partner companies were awarded a 33MW Waste-to-Energy IPP Award/Project in 2017 as part of the Ekurhuleni Renewable Energy IPP Awardee program. The WtE PPA was signed in Dec 2021. This project is being supported by a Tier 1 consortium of funders and experienced operations and maintenance companies, the likes of Suez & EnviroServ, International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Development Bank of South Africa to bring the project to financial close in mid-2024.

Bluestone Service Group (BSG) has developed with their partners in Africa, a "Renewable Energy and mini-grid" development "ABC" Strategy that focuses on;

  • First, focus on an economically active and sustainable (A)nchor client, which could be an agro-processing facility like tea farms, shopping malls, mines, factories, or any other type of economically viable industry.

  • Secondly, look for surrounding (within reach of the mini-grid) (B)usiness clients that also have a revenue source that can provide sustainable demand,

  • Thirdly, and LASTLY, focus on the worker's homes, the domestic football or soccer watching (C)onsumers also within reach of the mini-grid.

Don’t underestimate your Consumers, they will spread the word about your innovation and delivery

 

It's going to take innovative funding solutions and leadership to overcome these challenges, combined with a new generation of funding and energy partners willing to focus on these innovative funding solutions to reduce the risk and provide the much-needed energy solutions for Africa. Yes, focus on the people and ignore the surrounding negativity and hype.

Colin also has extensive experience in delivering large projects, developing financial models, and providing innovative funding solutions to project owners working with funding partners Lumika Renewables, First Fund, IFC, DBSA, IRENA, Norfund, and CFM all focused on Climate Change Funding.

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Renewable energy solution cost per MW

The cost per MW (megawatt) of renewable energy solutions can vary depending on several factors, including the specific technology, project size, location, availability of resources, and local market conditions. It's important to note that the cost of renewable energy has been steadily decreasing over the years, making it increasingly competitive with conventional fossil fuel-based sources. Here is a general overview of the cost range for different renewable energy technologies:

  1. Solar Photovoltaic (PV): The cost of solar PV has significantly decreased in recent years. On average, utility-scale solar PV projects can range from around $1,000 to $3,000 per installed kilowatt (kW), or $1 million to $3 million per MW. However, costs can vary depending on factors such as the scale of the project, technology advancements, and the availability of solar resources in the region.

  2. Onshore Wind: Onshore wind power is considered one of the most cost-effective renewable energy sources. The cost of onshore wind projects can range from approximately $1,200 to $2,500 per installed kW, or $1.2 million to $2.5 million per MW. The specific cost depends on factors such as turbine size, project scale, wind resource quality, and project location.

  3. Offshore Wind: Offshore wind projects generally have higher upfront costs compared to onshore wind due to the complexity of installation and maintenance in marine environments. The cost of offshore wind projects can vary significantly but typically ranges from $3,000 to $6,000 per installed kW, or $3 million to $6 million per MW. However, ongoing advancements and increasing deployment of offshore wind are expected to drive cost reductions in the future.

  4. Hydropower: The cost of hydropower projects can vary widely depending on the size and type of the facility. Large-scale hydropower projects often have lower costs per installed MW due to economies of scale, typically ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 per installed kW, or $1 million to $5 million per MW. Small-scale hydropower projects can have higher costs per MW due to the need for customized design and site-specific considerations.

  5. Biomass: Biomass energy projects can have varying costs depending on factors such as feedstock availability, technology used, and project scale. Biomass power plants can range from $2,000 to $5,000 per installed kW, or $2 million to $5 million per MW. However, costs can differ significantly based on the specific biomass resource, technology efficiency, and plant size.

 

It's important to note that these cost ranges are approximate and can vary depending on the aforementioned factors. Additionally, as technology improves, economies of scale are realized, and deployment increases, the cost of renewable energy solutions is expected to continue declining, making them even more economically attractive compared to conventional energy sources.

"Best Practice" Delivery methods

By combining these innovative funding solutions with "best practice" project delivery, Business Service Management framework,  APQC Business Process Optimisation & re-engineering all based on International standards, frameworks and methodologies and a clear Digital Strategy using state-of-the-art cloud based collaboration tools and apps like Trello, Monday will give you the edge you need. 

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