The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that by 2035 developing nations will produce and consume 80 percent of the energy generated globally. Right now, solar photovoltaics, wind farms, and mini-grids are being installed by power utilities around the world. As such, a much greater portion of new generation capacity in developing countries will be derived from renewable sources.

While the costs of renewable energy generation are declining, energy storage (batteries) essential for the effective utilisation of renewable sources (while the sun isn’t shining) is on the rise. However, the recent advent of battery energy storage system (BESS) technology, could see renewable energy being implemented at a faster rate.

BESSs store energy using battery technology so that it can be utilised in the future. Now, renewable energy is not only driven by cost efficiencies and environmental awareness, but its ability to compete with conventional electricity powerplants.

While still expensive, the cost of energy storage will continue to decline. A report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) stated that the cost of battery storage for stationary applications could fall by up to 66 percent by 2030. This has made the economics of energy storage more appealing to investors, grid operators, utilities and end-users alike.

Furthermore, BESS energy storage remains a flexible, scalable and efficient solution. Energy storage eliminates the need for power utilities to unearth and replace wires or spend money and time on constructing new plants. As an alternative, they can build a network of battery storage in a shorter timeframe.

Current renewable energy storage solutions are viewed as potential game-changers for widespread adoption of renewable energy generation throughout Africa. They facilitate the management of renewable power intermittency, demand response services and the dispatchability of stable, clean and sustainable power into the local or national grid system.

Energy storage projects are now under development in various parts of the world, but does this mean the time to develop energy storage in Africa has arrived too? The 2019 Africa Energy Indaba will be discussing the role and impact of energy storage in Africa through a focused dialogue, unpacking and exploring the opportunity for Africa.

You can join the conversation, around the theme “Africa’s Energy Future”, on February 19 and 20, 2019, at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg.

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