Is It Time For Battery Storage To Change Diesel Backup Mills In The C&I Sector In Africa?
Many of the public utilities on the continent that play a key function in financing the facility sector are facing severe liquidity challenges. Low value restoration fashions and practices leading to non-cost reflective electrical energy tariffs for numerous causes (principally political) are a part of primary causes a few of these utility corporations are strapped for money. A number of these public utilities even have legacy points associated to under-investment in important infrastructure and operations. This has hampered efforts to keep up their present property and spend money on new ones, due to this fact slowing down addition of latest technology capability in addition to the extension of electrical energy transmission and distribution networks.
This precarious state of affairs implies that lot of African international locations battle to draw capital within the vitality sector. For instance, in response to the IEA’s Africa Vitality Outlook 2022, African countries received less than 3% of global clean energy investment from 2010 to 2020. The under-investment in technology, transmission, and distribution infrastructure coupled with rising populations and economies in these international locations has resulted in fairly a number of of those energy utility corporations failing to fulfill demand, resulting in electrical energy rationing. Residents and companies in a lot of international locations on the continent experiencing frequent energy outages. South Africa is one in every of these international locations the place outages are having a devastating influence on the economic system. South Africa just lately skilled Stage 6 load-shedding. Stage 6 load-shedding is alleged to value South Africa as much as R4.6 billion (US$270 million) per day. To mitigate the influence of those frequent energy outages, properties and companies have been counting on costly and closely polluting petrol and diesel back-up mills.
Backup diesel mills have been a “everlasting” characteristic within the C&I sector in lots of African international locations. The IEA’s Africa Vitality Outlook 2022 report summarizes the dimensions of backup generator utilization on the continent by saying, “In sub‐Saharan Africa alone, such capability (of back-up mills) amounted to 45 GW in 2021, greater than all of the renewables‐based mostly producing capability within the area. Of this, 13 GW is in Nigeria, the place 25 terawatt‐hours (TWh) or 40% of the entire electrical energy is auto‐generated by industrial and business companies and households utilizing oil merchandise. Enhancements in grid reliability would allow utilities to earn extra from gross sales to industrial and business shoppers, that are essential to their income foundation, by discouraging auto‐technology and decreasing the necessity for backup technology throughout blackouts.”
Latest advances in battery storage and the rise of the extra inexpensive and safer cobalt-free LFP battery options might lastly current a viable alternative for giant scale stationary storage to displace a few of these diesel mills within the business and industrial sector. Traditionally, battery storage, principally within the type of giant banks of lead acid batteries, has been employed within the C&I sector on the continent for very quick length UPS functions (round 15 minutes or so) by companies with important hundreds. Diesel mills are the default expertise for longer length functions. Banks, information facilities, the manufacturing sector, mines, workplace parks, and procuring facilities are among the primary customers of diesel backup mills.
May battery storage for longer length functions to be used throughout energy outages within the C&I sector make sense now given current advances in LFP tech and value reductions over the previous decade? A number of corporations within the C&I sector have additionally been putting in giant photo voltaic crops at their websites. These is also mixed with long run length battery storage to extend their share of self-consumption. The primary actual use case for lengthy length battery storage in most of those markets can be to extend vitality safety and up-time through the frequent energy outages. Different functions similar to peak shaving, vitality arbitrage alternatives from charging when tariffs are low, and utilizing that vitality throughout extra expressive peak instances is also engaging in locations the place there’s a important distinction between the height and off-peak tariffs. It’s most likely worthwhile now for gamers within the C&I battery cupboard space to do a deep dive into the enterprise case of C&I storage in fairly a number of African international locations. Is it time for battery storage to begin changing backup diesel mills? Is the enterprise case trying compelling now or how far off are we now?
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