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State Grid to power up Africa cooperation

Zheng Xin
Updated: Sep 6,2018 10:42 AM     China Daily

Shu Yinbiao, chairman of the State Grid, China’s main power supplier, said the company would strengthen grid construction including power transmission and transformation engineering construction, as well as urban power grid construction and renovation projects in Africa.

The company will take advantage of its technologies and facilities to get actively involved in local power projects, Shu said during the high-level dialogue between Chinese and African leaders and business representatives held in Beijing.

State Grid is already pushing forward several transmission and distribution projects in Ethiopia, Egypt, Mozambique and Kenya and seeking more cooperation in the future, he said.

According to Shu, State Grid has world-leading technology and abundant engineering experience in long-distance power transmission, large scale grid construction and operation, and smart grids and micro grids. The company is looking forward to stepping up cooperation with African partners to jointly improve grid capacity in the continent.

Shu said the company is also eyeing opportunities to jointly develop new energy in Africa, as many countries on the continent, with abundant solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric energy resources, are seeking to use more new energy resources as thermal power involves relatively higher costs.

Industry insiders said as new energy generation cost keeps declining, there will be much room for cooperation between China and Africa in the sector, which has already seen remarkable progress in recent years.

Chinese companies have advanced technology in distributed photovoltaic power grid technology, which could well provide power in the continent at affordable prices, said Joseph Jacobelli, a senior analyst of Asian utilities and infrastructure at Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong.

As a world leader with regard to renewable energy technology as well as with strong financial support, there is expected to be more cooperation between Chinese power companies deploying their know-how as well as their balance sheets in African countries in the long term, said Jacobelli.

“State Grid, which has accumulated overseas investment knowledge from its many projects in various continents, has several strengths which would support the utility in helping some nations in building their grid networks, including broad and deep experience in upgrading and expanding networks in China, the largest in the world,” said Jacobelli.

“It is familiar with different terrain ranging from tropical to desert regions. It has also built up great expertise in the construction of ultra high-voltage electricity transmission which will facilitate the movement of electric power from resource-rich areas to far away demand centers.”

State Grid said Africa will see tremendous demand for investment in the future to speed up local energy and power facility construction, as the continent currently has low grid coverage.

According to Shu, China-Africa power cooperation has always been a priority for the company’s global layout. The company so far has more than 120 contracted projects in the continent covering 25 countries, with a total contract value reaching $4.5 billion.