African nations should diversify energy supplies
Countries in Africa have been warned about the repercussions of hydropower reliance, Reuters states.
The continent has recently suffered from droughts, which has affected both food security and energy supply.
Industry experts highlighted the dangers of hydropower dependence at The World Energy Council’s INDABA Energy Leader’s Dialogue, held in Johannesburg on 20 February.
With low levels of water, due to dry and hot weather conditions, hydropower is not accessible at all times.
Zambia’s Executive Director of the Energy Regulation Board, Langiwe Lungu, talked of the issue climate change has had on the nation’s energy supply.
In 2016, the country’s electricity deficit hit 1,000MW at Kariba Dam, one of Zambia’s main generators, was highly impacted by drought.
The weather has not only affected the nation’s energy, but it’s mining – with Glencore’s Zambian Copper Mines having to partly suspend operations.
Since, the company has diversified its energy mix, also using solar, coal, and heavy fuel oil.
“At one point our energy supply was 99 percent from hydropower but now we are at about 85 percent,” Lungu noted.
In Kenya, citizens are currently having to spend significantly more on energy and the government has little access to hydropower.
“We have been forced to use diesel power plant in Muhoroni to supplement the power shortage being experienced in the western region,” the nation’s Energy Cabinet Secretary, Charles Keter, reported during a hydropower station tour.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.