ENEL Green Power has partnered with ZIMEC 2017, what will you be highlighting during the event?
Enel Green Power (“EGP”) is a company which is present in the major mining regions and countries such as Chile, South Africa, Australia and Zambia; EGP therefore has an overall view on how the global market is evolving as well as insight on specific countries and regions. We are observing a strong and growing appetite from the mining sector towards renewable energies globally. Cost competitiveness, long-term hedging, scalability, modularity, fast time-to market and sustainability make renewables very attractive for customers in many geographies, whether it would be for grid connected or off-grid projects. Each market has however its own specificities and the drivers for these projects vary accordingly. In Zambia, the constrains in power supply have also affected the mining sector which represents almost 55% of the national demand. For this reason, the introduction of large-scale renewables which can provide long-term price certainty, represents a strong business case and major opportunity for Zambia industrial companies as well as mines. On such basis Enel Green Power is actively working with private offtaker in the region to implement similar projects and the Company is looking for potential private large consumers also to do the same in Zambia. We are available to analyze concrete development opportunities in the Country.
How do you see the development of the renewable energy sector in Zambia progressing?
Zambia is a country which already relies almost 100% on renewable energy sources, most of which is hydro power generation. The dependence from a single technology can introduce serious risks of constrained power supply as it happened in 2015 and 2016 due to the severe drought. Recently Zambia has moved forward promoting a national strategy to diversify the energy mix attracting private investments in solar technology. In 2015 the Scaling Solar Program has been launched with the aim to procure up to 600 MW of solar power. Enel Green Power took part in the program winning one of the two projects tendered and the construction of the Mosi-oa-Tunya 34 MW PV power plant, located close to Lusaka, is going to start soon. Phase two of the Scaling Solar has been launched recently and another competitive and transparent procurement process (GETFIT), is also planned. We also foresee momentum picking up pace from the private sector and we believe that there will be several other opportunities, such as PPA with private companies/large consumers/mines, which will soon blossom.
EGP believes that “Africa is a true laboratory for innovation and experimentation” and you are proponents of technological change. How much significance does digital technology have on EGP’s strategy?
Speaking of innovation in the renewables sector used to mean concentrating mostly on the technical characteristics of each individual technology: from the yield of the materials of solar panels to the durability of the gears in a wind generator’s gear box. Innovating today means using smart glasses in Operation & Maintenance projects at wind farms or applying Internet of Things solutions for the maintenance and monitoring of hydroelectric plants. Digital is a strategic choice for improving every segment of our business, from the construction to the operation of plants, from the sharing of know-how to the efficiency of internal processes. The renewables race is made even faster and more competitive now by digital, which helps to define new business models, expands the opportunities of integration between renewables and other industries, while increasing the central role of the consumer. As part of this new digital scenario, for example, there is our choice of acquiring Demand Energy Networks, an American company specialized in software development and the optimization of energy storage system management.
In your view, which markets worldwide are most promising?
As of today, we have a strong pipeline of 18 GW diversified in 28 countries, over the past year, we entered 6 new countries: Peru, Morocco, Germany, Indonesia, Australia and last but not least Zambia.
The 28 countries were we currently are developing projects in different technologies shows that we believe that we can do businesses and create new renewable plants according to different models and regulatory framework. Our approach to different realities is what differentiates us and allows us to present our global expertise in various markets.
In 2016 we set a new record amongst our peers, building more than 2 GW of new renewable capacity, that proof that we are going in the right direction to achieve our targets.