LONDON, United Kingdom, October 26, 2017/APO Group/ --

The Kingdom of Morocco’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development has confirmed support for two conferences focusing on gas and renewables in Casablanca this November.

With confirmed participation from Honourable Minister Aziz Rabbah, the North & West Africa Gas Options Conference will assemble public sector leaders, IOCs, infrastructure developers, investors and IPP developers alongside major national, international and multilateral banks to discuss investment opportunities in Africa’s energy sector.

“With decreased project assurance across the continent, we’re aware that investors need to broaden their portfolios and it is with this in mind that these co-located events: Gas Options - North & West Africa (www.GasOptions-NWAfrica.com) and the Africa Renewable Energy Forum (www.Africa-Renewable-Energy-Forum.com) will take place in Morocco from 29th November to 1st December,” commented EnergyNet’s (www.EnergyNet.com) Programme Manager Valeria Aruffo.

“Together they will provide developers and gas players a platform to connect with credible stakeholders, build new partnerships and understand the exciting role Moroccans and their African partners across the regions will play in the coming years as billions of dollars are pumped into these economies.”

The Honourable Minister Rabbah will open the conferences with a keynote speech, going on to explore potential financing bottlenecks in Morocco’s gas and renewable energy strategy.

Alongside partners Royal Dutch Shell, Karpowership, ACWA Power, DLA Piper, DBSA, Engie, Fieldstone Africa, Wärsilä, White & Case, Jinko Solar, Clarke Energy and Cheniere, African governmental figures will attend from The Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, South Africa, Ethiopia, Mauritius and Zimbabwe.

DFI representation from IFC, World Bank, Africa50 and OPIC will be present to showcase financing opportunities and bankable projects. Gathering enterprises from across the globe, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, Masdar Clean Energy and one of India’s biggest business houses, Adani Solutions will also push the frontier of energy solutions at the summits.

The North & West Africa Gas Options Summit will explore the evolution of the global gas market as a catalyst for industrial growth for the region, linking with Europe and the development of gas-to-power projects within the ECOWAS and Maghreb regions. In addition to regional gas infrastructure projects, the programme will discuss gas utilisation for the downstream sectors and the positive impact the North & West Africa gas economy will have on the ECOWAS region.

Frederik Smits van Oyen, Cheniere’s Vice-President, Origination and Marketing of the EMEA regions commented, “Cheniere is looking forward to the North & West Africa Gas Options conference; it’s a great platform for stakeholders to promote sustainable, complementary energy solutions that provide economic prosperity in the region”.

The Africa Renewable Energy Forum (ARF) will explore the role of renewable energy in achieving a sustainable energy mix by delving into the financing of clean energy projects. The clear appetite for investments in renewable IPP projects means that the focused dialogue around bankable projects at ARF will support both investors and governments in better formulating an integrated strategy.

Read more: Official Endorsement and Participation from...

LAGOS, Nigeria, October 6, 2017/APO/ --
  • Off- grid solar will bring basic electricity services to almost 70 million more people in Asia and sub Saharan Africa

A new report has confirmed that Solar is now the fastest growing energy source in the world, and is making a major impact in Africa. The International Energy Agency’s 2017 report (http://APO.af/inLXNs) on renewables forecasts that off-grid solar capacity in Africa is set to almost triple in the next five years, saying that it will “bring basic electricity services to almost 70 million more people in Asia and sub Saharan Africa”.

The IEA has found that the amount of power from solar grew by more than 50%, and has officially increased energy output globally at a faster rate than any other fuel. The report specifically highlights off-grid solar as a ‘dynamic’ sector set to accelerate this growth.

Lumos (www.Lumos-Global.com), a company that offers one of the fastest growing off-grid solar services in Africa, is at the forefront of this expansion. Lumos launched its Mobile Electricity Service and the Y’ello Box in partnership with MTN in Nigeria earlier this year. The device transforms the sun’s energy into electricity and is paid for via your mobile phone. 

According to the IEA, off-grid capacity in Africa and Asia is set to reach “over 3000 MW in 2022.” CEO of Lumos Nigeria, Yuri Tsitrinbaum, said: “This is the latest evidence that off-grid solar is providing the answer to growing energy demand in Africa. There is no other option available that can provide energy that is as affordable, reliable, and clean.”

“We are changing the way people access electricity, and this is only the beginning. Mobile phones improved millions of lives, and now we are seeing the same thing with mobile electricity.”

Lumos Mobile Electricity Service is available at MTN stores across Nigeria. By subscribing to the service, customers get one of the revolutionary Y’ello Box systems that converts solar energy into electricity for the home, paid for by phone credit and a simple text message. It’s reliable, affordable and powerful.

The IEA report projects that over the next five years, services like Lumos will be the catalysts and drivers of innovative payment solutions that can allow low-income populations access to electricity.

Read more: Off-grid Solar set to triple in Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 5, 2017/APO/ --
  • Electrification, automation and digitalization of existing infrastructure gives citizens access to safe, reliable and efficient modes of transport
  • Intelligent traffic systems reduce road congestion, automated rail infrastructure improves train efficiency and commuter safety
  • Well-integrated intelligent mobility network promotes a culture of eco-friendly travel and healthier living

Despite the continent’s transport infrastructure lagging behind global standards for decades, Africa is bracing itself for a transport revolution as more countries embrace the onset of new technology.

This sets the scene for a new era of intelligent mobility in Africa, writes Kevin Pillay – Vice President for Mobility at Siemens Africa (Siemens.com).

Intelligent mobility involves the electrification, automation and digitalization of existing transport infrastructure, and gives every citizen access to safe, reliable and efficient modes of transport.

The need and demand for intelligent mobility in Africa has never been greater – World Economic Forum competitiveness data reveals that only three African countries feature in the top 50 globally for quality of roads, quality of rail and quality of ports infrastructure respectively.

World Bank data also indicates that the Sub-Saharan African railway network has declined to 59,634km today, down from 65,661km in 1980 with only about 70% of the railway network in operational state.

At face value, it seems as though the continent faces insurmountable transport challenges. But the reality is that we are already setting the wheels in motion to create interconnected, more modern and efficient African transport networks that keep economies on the move, rather than hindering them. This development will not happen overnight, and will be realised one step at a time.

Intelligent traffic systems

Many African cities have traffic infrastructure plagued by unreliable power supply. To the frustration of motorists, timing of traffic lights stays the same regardless of actual conditions, and many are faulty and take weeks to repair. This means that the road infrastructure can’t handle peak traffic, not because of technology but because of the lack of proper technological investment.

The challenge is partly that these traffic systems have grown in an unco-ordinated way, with lots of different suppliers and systems cobbled together. Speeding and traffic light violations are a problem, and there is limited technology deployed to support effective traffic law enforcement.

Concern of this situation has been expressed by officials and road users alike, who say congestion and accidents have reached alarming levels. Inefficiencies in these transport systems affect a country’s ability to attract and maintain investment.

So where do we begin?

The adoption of intelligent traffic systems (ITS) will keep Africa’s busiest cities as fast-moving investment destinations. ITS includes deployment of smart sensor systems with intelligent algorithms to automatically adapt to improve traffic flow.

Two-way communication can be enabled by running fibre between traffic junctions and a central control centre to gather information from intelligent networked systems, sensors and cameras at every junction. This allows traffic lights to be adjusted according to demand.

Nigeria’s Edo State government recently announced its intention to upgrade to a technologically-advanced ITS system that provides real-time traffic information in Benin City. As part of the integrated solution, motorists and commuters will be informed about travel times, weather conditions and traffic jams on radio or online.

With all traffic management systems automated and digitalized, technology like automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras can be utilised to efficiently enforce traffic rules. 

Average speed over distance (ASOD) technology captures the time when a specific vehicle enters and exits the ASOD zone. The journey time is compared against the distance travelled and authorities are automatically notified if the prescribed speed limit was exceeded.

This improves the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians. It also minimises the risk of corruption, while promoting best practice among traffic enforcement officers who are exposed to a new skillset when trained in operating these new systems.

Automated rail infrastructure

Another effective means of reducing congestion on overburdened and under maintained roads in Africa is through greater investment in upgrading passenger rail networks.

Some of the world’s cities with the most advanced transport networks feature fast, efficient, safe and clean rail mobility networks powered by Siemens, and African cities can benefit from expertise in centralised traffic management and automation systems, including train control systems with minimum line side equipment linked to modern control centres.

A clear case in point is the Gauteng Nerve Centre (GNC) in South Africa. The 3400 m2 state-of-the art control centre for centralised rail traffic management in South Africa’s economic hub of Gauteng accommodates 35 train control operators in one place, and constantly monitors Gauteng’s rail traffic where over 600 trains carry more than 500,000 commuters on a daily basis.

The GNC boasts world-class automation capabilities and can immediately respond to any operating failures, accidents and other incidents, thereby enabling greater efficiencies in rail operations and train safety, while offering a more reliable service through higher infrastructure utilisation.

Siemens’ proven railway capabilities are set be bolstered further, following the mobility business’ recent announcement of its intention to merge with French railway engineering specialist Alstom.

With a strong presence in, and dedicated commitment to Africa, this anticipated partnership will create an African champion in mobility.

Intelligent, integrated mobility ensures environmental sustainability

Transportation is the world’s second-biggest producer of greenhouse gases. In 2015 motor vehicles, trains, ships, and planes emitted 7.5 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, accounting for almost a quarter of all CO2 emissions worldwide.

Today transportation-related emissions are already about 60 percent higher than in 1990. One of the reasons for this is the dramatic increase in the number of vehicles in developing countries and emerging markets – of which Africa is home to many.

According to forecasts, transportation-related CO2 emissions will increase by another 67 percent between now and 2050. Clearly, in view of this, the global community must take decisive action to bring about a worldwide transition to sustainable transportation systems.

A well-integrated intelligent multi-modal transport network promotes a culture of eco-friendly travel and healthier living, as it reduces traffic congestion and CO2 emissions by transporting more people more safely and more comfortably, using newer and cleaner technology without relying on fossil fuels.

The time for intelligent mobility is now

If Africa truly wants to unleash its full potential, then sufficient funds must be responsibly invested in upgrading existing transport and logistics infrastructure like road, rail and ports, in addition to new concepts that include electric bus rapid transport and ferries, to name a few.

Intelligent and integrated traffic systems are part of the future of transport in the world’s advanced cities. If Africa seizes the opportunity, many of its cities will be on that list, and the continent’s citizens will reap the rewards. That is the way forward.

Read more: Taking an intelligent approach to Africa’s...

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