The Ethiopian Informer:Over 1000 delegates gather in Beijing to discuss energy interconnection in Africa, beyond


ADDIS ABABA: November 6 (EI) — More than 1000 delegates drawn from over 79 countries have gathered in Beijing, capital of China to discuss key issues regarding Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) and African Energy Interconnection.

The meeting is being held under the themes “GEI – a Path towards Green, Low-carbon and Sustainable Development” and “African Energy Interconnection – A New Growth Driver of Africa.”

The high-level conference, which is expected to “draw a new blueprint for the world’s energy transition and sustainable development,” is said to be an important gathering that GEI development has entered a new stage of implementation and joint action, the organizers disclosed in a press release issued on Wednesday.

The conference, which is said to be the first of its kind to be held in the field of energy and power sector for China and Africa, is also expected to build a platform for jointly discussing cooperation and pursuing development for GEI and African Energy Interconnection.

The conference was sponsored by Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) and co-sponsored by State Grid Corporation of China, China Three Gorges Corporation, Power Construction Corporation of China, China Electricity Council (CEC), Association of Power Utilities of Africa (APUA), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN ECA), African Development Bank (ADB), etc.

The conference, among other things, aimed to guide all parties to participate in the construction of energy and power infrastructure globally and in Africa and accelerate clean energy development and cross-border grid interconnection in an effort to press ahead with GEI development into the future.

Liu Zhenya, Chairman of GEIDCO, also in his keynote speech emphasized the need to accelerate global energy interconnection and jointly open up a new chapter of China-Africa energy and power cooperation.

Zhenya said that GEI has become “a champion of global energy transition and clean development. It offers new ideas and solutions to global sustainable development, and provides a broad platform for all parties concerned to participate in international energy cooperation. GEI plays an increasingly important role in the pursuit of sustainable development and a community of shared future for mankind.”

“Globally, information networks and transportation networks have achieved global interconnection. As we secure more breakthroughs and advance the widespread application of key technologies, like UHV, smart grids and clean energy, we are set to embrace significant breakthroughs in energy networks. Full-heartedly and devotedly, we will achieve GEI successfully for the benefit of the whole world and mankind,” Liu added.

The conference, among other things, called on all concerned parties to grasp the general trend of global energy transition with clean development as the essential pathway, and build GEI to create a modern energy system characterized by clean energy production, wide-area energy allocation and electrification of energy consumption.

It also emphasized the need “to comprehensively strengthen innovation regarding strategic planning, project implementation, market operations, and technology and equipment to reinforce the foundation for GEI.”

Conference participants also jointly underscored the “need to pool all efforts for further advancement of GEI development through three phases, namely domestic interconnection, intra-continental interconnection and global interconnection.”

On November 6, the GEIDCO has also signed cooperation agreements with Central African Power Pool (CAPP), World Meteorological Organization, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the International Green Technologies and Investment Projects Center, China General Technology Group respectively to strengthen practical cooperation in joint research, information exchange, project implementation, technical and business practices for joint promotion of the development and utilization of renewable energy and grid interconnection, thus advancing GEI development.

“GEI Technology and Equipment Exhibition” has been also held, with an exhibition area of 2,000 square meters at the China National Convention Center. The exhibition showcased the innovative achievements and technical practices of various enterprises in such fields as clean energy, UHV transmission and smart grid.

Africa’s development sees major opportunities with the building of trans-regional and intercontinental “expressways of electricity.”

According to the organizers, the conference was attended by more than 200 representatives from 30 African countries covering all the five African regions, in which participating ministers, senior executives and heads of organizations are said to account more than half of the participants. African participants also on Monday and Tuesday visited the UHV converter station and the Three Gorges Dam in Shanghai and Yichang.

On Thursday, the GEIDCO will release three important research results, including a study on Hydropower Development and Delivery in Congo River, Research on Africa Energy Interconnection, New Model of “Electricity, Mining, Metallurgy, Manufacturing and Trade”Co-Development for Africa,providing practical project research support and systematic solutions for Africa’s development and outward transmission of clean energy and grid interconnection.

The conference will also on Thursday organize 5 thematic forums African Energy Interconnection to discuss the topics of investment and financing, clean energy development, regional integration, co-development of electricity, mining, metallurgy, manufacturing and trade, power interconnection, employment and economic prosperity.

According to figures from the organizers, the current per-capita power consumption of Africa is approximately 18 of the world’s average level, and Africa’s average electricity price is as high as 14 US cents/KWh. Nearly 50 percent of its population lives without power access. In view of resource endowment, the proven reserve of fossil fuels in Africa is only 3.4 percent of the world’s total proven reserves; the technically available potential of hydro, solar and wind power totals 734,000 TWh per year, accounting for 39% of global total.

“The key to developing African Energy Interconnection lies in capitalizing on the pioneering role of hydropower of the Congo River,” said Zhenya.

The GEIDCO has over the years studied in-depth the resource endowment, power supply and demand, and social and economic conditions of Africa, which led to the publication of the African Energy Interconnection Planning Research Report.

The GEIDCO also put forward the implementation path of African Energy Interconnection as a new model of co-development of electricity, mining, metallurgy, manufacturing and trade. The model seeks to integrate Africa’s advantages of clean energy and mineral resources to forge an industrial chain featuring the coordinated development of electricity, mining, metallurgy, manufacturing and trade.

The GEIDCO is the first international organization initiated by China in the field of energy. Founded in March 2016, it currently has 756 members from 106 countries across five continents. GEIDCO has also signed 42 cooperation agreements and MOUs with relevant governments, enterprises, institutions and universities, established four industrial alliances, namely GEI University Alliance, GEI Think Tank Alliance, GEI Finance Alliance and GEI Equipment Alliance, and released a serious of important innovative research results to the world.