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China, Africa build energy interconnection platform for win-win cooperation

(People's Daily Online)  Admin  2018-09-12 14:00


The world’s first research report on Africa’s energy interconnection planning was issued at the Forum on African Energy Interconnection Development held in Beijing on Tuesday.
 
The report, issued by the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), offers a package solution for Africa’s clean energy development and interconnection of power grids.
 
“I come from rural Benin, and electricity was not available there in the past, which is also a reality faced by most deficient regions in Africa,” said Abel Didier Tella, Director General of the Association of Power Utilities of Africa (APUA).
 
But now the situation has changed as some villages have adopted solar power supply devices made in China, said Tella.
 
He hoped that the power supply system in rural Africa will become intelligent one day to realize smart allocation of power supplies in various regions, which is also one of the major goals in China’s global energy interconnection development plan.
 
Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York on September 26, 2015 that China would propose discussions on establishing a global energy network to facilitate efforts to meet the global power demand with clean and green alternatives. His remarks gave a clear direction to global energy construction.
 
Africa’s economic development has entered into a new phase in recent years, featuring industrialization, urbanization and regional integration, Liu Zhenya, Chairman of GEIDCO, told People’s Daily.
 
Liu noted that the key to sustainable development of Africa lies in the methods of energy development, such as to enhance resource exploitation through clean development, to advance economic transformation by shifting energy structure, and to promote regional integration by interconnection.
 
He added that the African energy interconnection platform will provide systematic solutions and roadmaps to accelerate Africa’s sustainable development on strategic, planning, economic and technological levels.
 
It will enable large-scale energy exploitation in Africa and bring significant opportunities to the development of African countries and China-Africa cooperation, Liu said.
 
Enjoying 12 percent, 32 percent and 40 percent of the world’s total hydro, wind and solar powers, Africa still sees a low exploitation in general. For instance, the volume of hydropower actually exploited accounts for only 10 percent of the theoretical value.
 
In addition, all of the three types of energies are widely distributed, instable and difficult to be stored, which is an urgent problem that needs to be addressed by the energy interconnection platform.
 
Statistics indicated that the per capita energy consumption in Africa takes only one third of the global average, and the continent’s power capacity, which stands at 190 million kilowatts, accounts for only 3 percent of the world’s total.
 
Electricity shortage impacts African people’s daily life and seriously hampers the national production.
 
For example, Guinea is a western African country with rich mineral resources. It is home to 41 billion tons of bauxite, two thirds of the global total, and 15 billion tons of proved iron ores. But the development of both aluminium and steel industries depends on powerful electricity grid.
 
At the forum, the GEIDCO and Guinea jointly launched the African Energy Interconnection Sustainable Development Alliance as a platform to make solar and hydroelectric power the major energy supplies in Guinea and introduce hydropower from the lower Congo River over nearly a thousand kilometers.
 
The platform is expected to drive the development of Guinea’s aluminum and steel industries and create about 1.2 million jobs.
 
The global energy interconnection platform initiated by China aims at global coverage, said Tella. He told People’s Daily that Africa needs Chinese solution to achieve energy self-sufficiency and build Africa into a continent of great connectivity.
 
It’s hoped that Africa-China energy cooperation will become a model for global cooperation, said the APUA Director General.
 
Chinese enterprises at all levels and of all types play an irreplaceable role in building African energy interconnection platform, said Shu Yinbiao, Chairman of China’s State Grid.
 
The State Grid has 120 cooperative projects in Africa, totaling $4.5 billion in contract value, Shu noted, adding that over 90 percent of these projects’ workers are locals and over 3,000 local engineers and technicians have been trained by the Chinese side.
 
It’s proved that Chinese enterprises are able to gain a foothold in Africa thanks to their advantages in technology, price and efficiency.
 
The pressing needs of African people on energy and power supply match China’s long-term cooperation plan in related fields, which also reflects the essence of the building of a closer China-Africa community of shared future.