Taking place in London for the first time, the Africa Energy Forum 2016 (AEF) which runs from 22-24th June, is set to highlight the huge renewable energy growth that is underway to meet the continent’s increasing energy needs.

With a growing population and recent economic progress Africa is seeing its energy demand soar. This calls for a rapid increase in supply on the continent and all forms of energy must contribute in the decades ahead. Africa therefore has a unique opportunity to pursue sustainable energy development as a basis for long-term prosperity.

In its recent report entitled ‘Africa 2030: Roadmap for Renewable Energy Future’, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) observed the region is richly endowed with fossil-based and renewable energy sources. However, it noted that the continent’s continued reliance on oil and gas, along with traditional biomass combustion for energy will bring considerable social, economic and environmental constraints. Tackling today’s energy challenge on the continent, the report noted, requires a firm commitment to the accelerated use of modern renewable energy sources.

With advances in renewable energy technology, many successful energy projects are already delivering power on or off grid across Africa.

Following the historic signing of the Paris COP21 agreement last December, the AEF holds particular significance this year as investors turn to Africa’s power players and renewable energy companies help the continent reach its energy potential.

Vergnet is already working in a number of countries, alongside governments and power companies, across Africa to assess and review the opportunities and risks of their clean energy and electricity projects. Furthermore, as a solutions company, we are supporting African energy projects by tailoring and managing renewable energy generation in accordance with the environmental and technical constraints of each development site, and to meet individual customer specifications.

For renewable energy projects to succeed in Africa, experience and expertise of both the terrain and site conditions is critical. For example, large wind turbines such as
multi-megawatt machines are not suitable for many remote areas across Africa, particularly with regards to delivering, lifting and installing wind turbines. Vergnet recognises that in many locations around the continent it would be impossible to get cranes with hundreds of tons of lifting capacity onsite to hoist extra-heavy machinery parts. Vergnet’s 275 kW medium power guy-wired wind turbines overcome the problem through a lever system, which allows the machinery to reach 50m heights simply – being tilted for erection and lowered to the ground, without the requirement of cranes to erect, install and service.

Vergnet’s activity in renewables in Africa extends also to solar solutions with a turnkey solution approach providing African countries and power companies with highly customised solar PV energy solutions, from stand-alone systems for isolated sites to hybrid solutions. This might also extend to PV-powered water pumping systems and electro-chlorination kits.

Most recently, recognising that generating energy through a single source is not always efficient, we are assisting African projects in hybridising renewables with conventional power generation. Vergnet’s patented Hybrid Wizard™ technology supports hybrid projects throughout Africa, particularly in isolated areas and those with limited or no electricity grid infrastructure that currently rely on diesel gensets as the sole source of energy.

In Vergnet’s experience, Africa represents many unique challenges for the renewable energy sector such as extreme temperatures, wind-blown sand, high salinity and more recently governments enforcing policies for electricity charges and increased hike rates.

From industry operators, to communities and private investors, independent power producers (IPPs) and utility companies, Vergnet delivers innovative solutions to every type of customer throughout Africa.

It is certainly not without its challenges but the opportunity to improve the accessibility to electrical power for millions of people by empowering communities with renewable energy is vastly rewarding.

As part of Vergnet’s values, the respect for nature, the environment, and communities is at the heart of every day’s work, designing and delivering sustainable and economically profitable renewable projects.    This applies in particular to Africa.

Vergnet takes pride in the fact that its renewable energy solutions have enabled the delivery of essential services to developing countries, such as Ethiopia, where the supplied technology delivers electricity to over 3 million people through Ashegoda Wind Farm, the biggest wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa with 120 MW installed power. Vergnet has installed 137 MW in several countries including Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mauritania and Chad.

The AEF 2016 represents an opportunity for experienced and engaged companies from around the world to debate and discuss options for delivering the best possible results for Africa.  It is a goal that Vergnet endorses and we firmly believe in the potential of companies working together to fully develop Africa’s renewable energy potential.

Find out more about our solar applications, wind energy solutions, and hybrid energy solutions or read our case studies in Africa to learn about our renewable solutions in action throughout the world.

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