Infographic: Bringing More Than Power

Infographic Altaaqa Global Cameroon Learning Training Knowledge Engineer Technician Power Rental Temporary Hire Generator Plant

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Altaaqa Global and Caterpillar Team Up to Power Cameroon and Empower Locals through Customer Development Program

The program through Caterpillar University helps solve Cameroon’s energy challenge while facilitating the transfer of engineering and advanced technical knowledge to local professionals at state-of-the-art 50 MW project

DUBAI – Altaaqa Global Caterpillar Rental Power, a leading global temporary power solutions provider, and Caterpillar Inc. have developed a solution to one of Cameroon’s biggest challenges: reliable energy access. This solution is not only about transferring power but also knowledge and prosperity across the African country.

In 2015, Altaaqa Global installed a 50 MW natural gas power plant in Cameroon’s most populous city, Douala, as an immediate solution to the city’s chronic electricity shortage. The power plant added reliable power to Cameroon’s grid, and provided its people and industries with a new, reliable source of electricity.

Just as important as the power was ensuring a local team of highly trained professionals was able to oversee the operation of the power plant. Altaaqa deployed Caterpillar University, Caterpillar’s proprietary training platform, to launch a Customer Development Program. The pilot program, which will continuously run for one year, is offered to a team of select local engineers and technical professionals from Altaaqa Global’s client Eneo, Cameroon’s integrated utility provider.

Customer Development Program Altaaqa Global Caterpillar Cameroon Eneo Engineer

The Customer Development Program

One of the key pillars of Altaaqa Global’s sustainable business model is extending employment and learning opportunities to local communities where it has projects, with the aim of enhancing their skills and transferring world-class industry knowledge to the local workforce.

To facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills to Eneo’s team of local engineers and professionals, Altaaqa Global launched a tailored customer training program, in cooperation with Caterpillar University.

The program features three methods of instruction: classroom teaching, online instruction and on-the-job mentoring with Altaaqa Global’s Cat-certified in-house technicians. To encourage a better understanding of technical concepts taken up in the classroom, Altaaqa Global enrolled the Eneo engineers in Caterpillar University, which features expert-curated modules on service, safety and equipment operation.

For the purposes of the program, Altaaqa Global’s training engineers designed a learning plan that included carefully selected modules available on Caterpillar University. Considering their relevance to the participants’ tasks at site and to the engines installed for the project, the trainers hand-picked specialized courses on Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) and Engineering Service.

At the end of the year-long program, subject to the completion of all necessary on-line modules and a satisfactory performance in the final evaluation, the participants will be awarded a Level 1 Preventive Maintenance (PM) Technician certificate, and will thus be eligible to progress to second-level training. Altaaqa Global will conduct the program on a continuous basis, such that the training will be offered to every new team of engineers and technical professionals from Eneo.

Commenting on the motivation behind the training program, Peter den Boogert, CEO of Altaaqa Global, said: “In all of our projects, we provide more than electricity; we offer training and employment opportunities to locals. In fact, 95% of our site employees in our projects around the world is composed of locals.”

A commitment to sustainable progress

The training program is in accordance with Caterpillar’s sustainability strategy, which aims, among others, to promote economic and social development in areas where it operates. The company believes that an effective way to encourage sustainable social and economic progress is to educate local professionals on globally recognized industry best practices.

Against this backdrop, Kim Hauer, Caterpillar Vice President with responsibility for the Human Services Division and Chief Human Resources Officer said: “At Caterpillar, we believe in empowerment through education and transfer of knowledge. So, we work together with our global dealers, like Altaaqa Global, to provide tailored customer training solutions. Such initiatives have been proven to enhance customer efficiency, global competitiveness and help deliver sustainable progress around the world.”

Commending Altaaqa Global’s customer development initiatives, Doug Oberhelman, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc., said: “Altaaqa Global’s successful customer development program is a testament to the company’s commitment to support and improve the communities it serves. Altaaqa Global provides solutions that power and light the world.”

Mr. Fahad Y Zahid, Chairman of Altaaqa Global and Executive Vice President of the Zahid Group, avowed the company’s continued dedication to its mission of inspiring progress and prosperity to people, businesses and communities. “Since its inception, Altaaqa Global has looked beyond profit. We have always aimed to play an active role in spurring growth and progress not only by providing a reliable supply of electricity, but also by transferring knowledge to locals. We hope that the Customer Development Program yields a globally competitive workforce that will drive the continuous growth of Cameroon.”

Altaaqa Global and Caterpillar have produced a documentary video on the program, showcasing the effectiveness and benefits of Caterpillar’s tailored customer training solutions to dealers and customers all over the world. The video was premiered at the 2016 Africa Energy Forum in London, UK in late June, and was seen by energy ministers and other energy stakeholders from around the world.

Watch the video, here: https://youtu.be/8M5qA1Pz7Ys

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About Altaaqa Global
Altaaqa Global, a subsidiary of Zahid Group, has been selected by Caterpillar Inc. to deliver multi-megawatt turnkey temporary power solutions worldwide. The company owns, mobilizes, installs, and operates efficient temporary independent power plants (IPP’s) at customer sites, focusing on the emerging markets of Sub-Sahara Africa, Central Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, Latin America, South East Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Offering power rental equipment that will operate with different types of fuel such as diesel, natural gas, or dual-fuel, Altaaqa Global is positioned to rapidly deploy and provide temporary power plant solutions, delivering electricity whenever and wherever it may be needed.

http://www.altaaqaglobal.com

About Zahid Group
Zahid Group represents a diverse range of companies, offering comprehensive, customer-centric solutions in a number of thriving industries. Some of those include construction; mining; oil & gas; agriculture; power, electricity & water generation; material handling; building materials; transportation & logistics; real estate development; travel & tourism; waste management & recycling; and hospitality.

http://www.zahid.com

About Caterpillar Inc.
For 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2015 sales and revenues of $47.011 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments – Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation – and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment.

http://www.caterpillar.com

About Eneo Cameroon S.A.
Cameroon’s long-term electricity operator, Eneo (formerly AES-SONEL) is a semi-public company with 56% shares owned by Actis Group and 44% by the State of Cameroon. Eneo has an installed generation capacity of 968 MW. Its transport network connects 24 substations and includes 1,944.29 km of high voltage lines, 15,081.48 km of medium voltage lines and 15,209.25 km of low voltage lines. Its distribution network consists of 11,450 km of lines of 5.5 to 33 KV and 11,158 km of lines of 220-380 kV. Eneo has more than 973,250 customers, of which approximately 45% live in the cities of Douala and Yaoundé. Eneo employs 3,698 permanent staff.

http://www.eneocameroon.cm

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Altaaqa Global
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rbagatsing@altaaqaglobal.com

Julian Ford Joins Altaaqa Global as Chief Commercial Officer

With over 15 years of experience in the rental power industry, Ford takes the helm of the company’s strategic business development and top-line revenue generation functions

Altaaqa Global, a leading global provider of large-scale temporary power services, has appointed energy industry veteran, Julian Ford as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), effective July 1, 2015. As the company’s CCO, Ford’s remit is to ensure that Altaaqa Global achieves revenue growth targets and overall commercial success, and to facilitate the formulation and implementation of innovative global commercial strategies.

Julian Ford, Chief Commercial Officer of Altaaqa Global

Ford’s career in the industry started at the time when the concept of power plants on a rental basis was just gaining ground. He had a hand in introducing the concept of power project rental to governments of developing economies, which allowed them to hire power capacity to address short term energy issues during times of hydropower shortage or other generation or transmission issues.

Ford was instrumental in taking the rental power concept to different regions across the globe, including Middle East and Africa, South America, East Asia and South Asia. “My vision then,” he said, “was for the rental power market to develop beyond its traditional local markets and become a truly global business. We started in the Middle East and East Africa and quickly expanded our operations in other regions of the world.”

A true visionary, Ford led the way for the development of the gas-fueled temporary power equipment market in the mid-2000s. “At that time,” explained Ford, “diesel costs were rapidly rising, and it was imperative to diversify the product offering and capitalize on the growth of natural gas reserves.” With keen interest in markets where gas reserves were not vast enough to be commercially developed, Ford pioneered a new business model that allowed countries to monetize their ‘stranded gas’ reserves to generate useful low-cost electricity for the national grid.

Ford welcomes the challenge of his new role, as he recognizes the continuous evolution of the rental power industry. “The role of temporary power has evolved from being a local, short-term, transactional activity to a major global project-based industry,” said Ford, and added that it is no longer uncommon to see power plants of 100 MW and up being rented on a longer-term basis. “Our objective is to create a highly skilled, motivated and experienced, world-class, power projects team. My vision is for Altaaqa Global to lead the evolution of the industry, and to be recognized as the premier source of innovative technical solutions and the highest level of customer service and support.”

About Altaaqa Global
Altaaqa Global, a subsidiary of Zahid Group, has been selected by Caterpillar Inc. to deliver multi-megawatt turnkey temporary power solutions worldwide. The company owns, mobilizes, installs, and operates efficient temporary independent power plants (IPP’s) at customer sites, focusing on the emerging markets of Sub-Sahara Africa, Central Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, Latin America, South East Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Offering power rental equipment that will operate with different types of fuel such as diesel, natural gas, or dual-fuel, Altaaqa Global is positioned to rapidly deploy and provide temporary power plant solutions, delivering electricity whenever and wherever it may be needed.
http://www.altaaqaglobal.com

About Zahid Group
Zahid Group represents a diverse range of companies, offering comprehensive, customer-centric solutions in a number of thriving industries. Some of those include construction; mining; oil & gas; agriculture; power, electricity & water generation; material handling; building materials; transportation & logistics; real estate development; travel & tourism; waste management & recycling; and hospitality.
http://www.zahid.com

PRESS INQUIRIES
Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505
rbagatsing@altaaqaglobal.com

Mobile Gensets for Renewable Energy Sources

Rising above the electricity-related challenges that have hounded the country for decades, India is now said to have the fifth-largest power generation portfolio and is regarded the fifth largest wind energy producer in the world. As a response to the observed electricity supply shortage in India, feared to worsen as months of peak consumption draw near, power generation from renewable sources are currently being maximized and optimized to support the country’s permanent traditional energy facilities. In 2013, for example, the share of renewable power in India’s total energy mix stood at 12.3%, up from 7.8% in 2012. Wind power accounted for the lion’s share of the renewable energy generation figure, at 68% and an installed capacity of 19.1 GW.

The Energy Outlook Sept 2014 Page 1

Recognizing the merits of harnessing the potential of renewable energy sources, the government of India has launched various initiatives to encourage efforts to transition from fossil-based energy options, including offering tax holidays and generation-based incentives or GBIs. The benefits of renewable energy sources are gradually being recognized by different sectors of society, and as the government opened renewable energy projects to foreign and local venture and investment, alternative power generation technologies are seen to have a bright roadmap ahead.

Though renewable energy sources are seeing much support from the government, citizens and investors alike, energy industry professionals observe that renewable technologies have so much more potential to be developed. First, at the policy level, experts suggest the fortification of renewable purchase obligations (RPOs) to drive the demand for electricity from renewable energy sources. They are also advocating a more intense motivation to construct power transmission infrastructure, so more electricity generated by alternative energy sources reaches the grid.

At the technology level, renewable power sources have much room to be enhanced. As we speak, research and development efforts are being taken to improve on their performance predictability and dependability, despite the fact that their “fuels” (such as water, wind or sunlight) depend on natural conditions, which could not be controlled or completely projected.

The Energy Outlook Sept 2014 Page 2

As renewable technologies are being planned, constructed or augmented, and are still in diffusion to more communities and industrial areas in India, other alternative technologies can supplement them, bridging the gap in power supply and electricity demand. It has been documented that a 50 MW wind farm, for example, can be built in six months, and if one factors in the time needed for planning, designing, and receiving necessary approvals and permits, a wind farm may be operational after only a year or so. During the months when wind farms (or any other renewable energy facility for that matter) are not yet operational, mobile generator sets have the capacity to temporarily provide power to the communities planned to be beneficiaries of renewable energy.

The Energy Outlook Sept 2014 Page 3

Temporary generators are cost-effective immediate solution to power supply shortages and instability, which do not require a huge initial capital to acquire and install. Because rental gensets are modular and flexible, interim power stations can be installed in most places where renewable energy facilities find applications. Owing to their adaptive configuration, temporary gensets can be easily installed and commissioned, and can be run in as little time as a few days. Additionally, as they are containerized and have relatively small dimensions, mobile generators can be delivered from any point in the world to another.

With the support of temporary power plants, the perceived limitations of renewable sources of energy can be surmounted, and the deficit in supply of power can be filled. As renewable facilities ramp up their reliability and predictability, interim power stations can provide a viable and sustainable supply of power when needed and as needed by communities and industrial facilities in India. Alternative power sources, when enhanced and properly utilized, have the capacity to support permanent traditional sources of electricity to avoid further energy outages and load shedding, and to extend the coverage of the electricity supply even to the most remote communities and industries in India.

The Energy Outlook Sept 2014 Cover

 

*The foregoing article was originally published in the September 2014 issue of The Energy Outlook, India.*

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Robert Bagatsing
Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505
rbagatsing@altaaqaglobal.com

Bringing Power To Africa’s Mining Industry

Experts herald the mining industry as the light of Africa’s future. With the prevailing power deficiency, however, will the roadmap ahead be dim? Robert Bagatsing Marketing Manager; Peter den Boogert, General Manager and Majid Zahid, Strategic Accounts Director, of Altaaqa Global CAT Rental Power provide the answer.

Electra Mining Spet 2014 Page 1

The tenacity that Africa has shown in the face of the recent economic crisis is nothing short of commendable. If numbers from the African Development Bank’s African Economic Outlook for 2014 are any indication, the continent’s future looks bright. Experts forecast growth rates of 4.8% in 2014 and 5.7% in 2015, and financial in-flows in the area of USD 200 billion.

Playing a major role in Africa’s notable economic performance is the mining industry, widely regarded as one of the chief pillars of the African economy – and not without reason. The mineral industry in Africa is one of the largest in the world, riding high on the continent’s vast 30-million-square-kilometer land area. Africa is richly endowed with mineral reserves, including bauxite, cobalt, diamond, phosphate rock, platinum-group metals (PGM), vermiculite and zirconium. Naturally, gold mining is the African mining industry’s bread and butter.

The world sees the enormous size of Africa’s mining territory, but much of the continent’s potential still remains unearthed. Experts say that a considerable percentage of Africa’s precious metal reserves are underexplored, owing to several financial and operational motivations, among which is the observed lack of dependable, viable and sustainable power. For instance, in a recent release, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has advised mining companies to suspend any expansion plans or contractual modifications that would require extra power until further notice, in an effort to control the country’s demand for energy. The foregoing initiative from the government may have its benefits in the context of energy conservation, but it may definitely create economic and social deviations in the operations of the mining companies.

In light of this recent conundrum, from the prism of transitivity, a shortage in power supply could mean lost opportunities. With the postponement of mining expansion projects, additional mineral reserves, which could mean additional sources of revenue for operators, will remain unexplored for a longer period of time. A deficiency in energy could mean lost time, as plans that took years to finalize have already been chalked up, only to be discarded or shelved. A deficit in electricity could mean lost employment and income, as halting a project could lead to retrenchment.

With mining playing a major role in most of the African economies, an insufficiency in energy, leading to suspended operations, may have catastrophic wide-scale economic repercussions. Looking back in 2008, blackouts in the Republic of South Africa halted Anglo American, Impala Platinum Holdings and Harmony Gold Mining mines for five days – an incident that spelt a notable difference in the companies’ and in the country’s growth rates that year. A repeat of this predicament would imperil South Africa’s present economic projections, and in this day and age when economies no longer exist in a vacuum, particularly in Africa, where there is remarkable interdependence, a slight drop in one country’s economy may set off a domino effect.

The effects of load shedding on mining operations

In a recent communication, Eskom, the largest producer of electricity in Africa, announced that power cuts could potentially take effect if the surge in power demand in South Africa could not be tapered. This, according to industry experts, might bring about negative operational and financial consequences to mining companies. Mining consultants estimated that the rotational load shedding could result in losses in the area of millions of SAR (South African Rand) a day. Though efforts are being taken to ensure that production would continue in most of the mines around the country, studies pointed to the fact that the deepest underground mines, touted to be the largest employers in the mining industry in South Africa, would be most affected by load shedding. While this happened in South Africa, the same adverse effects to mining operations should be expected had the load shedding happened elsewhere.

Electra Mining Spet 2014 Page 2

Making a difference with power

Before looking at possible solutions to Africa’s power woes, let us take a closer look at the anatomy of a power deficit. An electricity shortage may be caused by multitudinous reasons, including major planned or unplanned power plant facility refurbishment, a sudden spike in electricity demand, unstable electrical grid, emergency situations, turnaround and peak lopping or shaving, among others. In cases such as these, mining companies may opt to hire temporary power plants such to instantly supply viable and sustainable electricity to their facilities for an uninterrupted operation. Cost-benefit studies conducted across different mining facilities around the world show that the cost of renting interim power generation plants is marginal compared to the economic and financial impact that delays or suspension could bring to operations.

In other cases, mining operations that have localised electricity generation facilities, for instance, may experience energy shortage during summer or winter months, when there is a need to dedicate electricity for climate control. Without supplementary power, mining facilities could not meet the seasonal energy requirement, making the production environment unsuitable for working. Studies show that days with extreme temperature aberration are few in a year, thus mining facilities are discouraged to devote permanent power generation facilities solely for this purpose. This, therefore, makes a strong case for employing rental power plants, which is not as capital intensive as constructing a new, dedicated permanent power generation facility.

Interim power facilities, like the solutions offered by Altaaqa Global CAT Rental Power, a global provider of temporary energy solutions, could spell the difference between lost opportunities and breakthrough. Because Altaaqa Global’s solutions are flexible and scalable, they can be employed in a wide range of applications, be they underground mines, open-pit mines or ore processing facilities. As the company’s products are customizable in size, capacity and, even, in cost, they can be rented by large international mining corporations and smaller regional or local aggregates producers, quarry operators or miners. Thanks to Altaaqa Global’s extensive product range, the company can address any requirement, including the need for standby power, prime power, continuous power, load lopping, peak shaving, or for utility power distribution.

Altaaqa Global’s offerings could spell the difference between lost time and progress. The company has a stellar record in providing interim power generators where needed, when needed, even at a moment’s notice. With Altaaqa Global’s industry-proven experience and reliability, the company has delivered executable, measurable and sustainable solutions to myriad projects across the Middle East and Africa. Owing to the availability of spare parts and expert teams on the ground, Altaaqa Global has proven that it can provide after-sales support to installed and commissioned projects at any given location, at any given time.

Altaaqa Global’s presence could spell the difference between lost jobs and success. The company has an avowed corporate social responsibility program, one of which tenet is to alleviate the social challenges of where it operates through providing job opportunities, extending educational assistance and conducting awareness campaigns on energy conservation and environmental stewardship. Not only could Altaaqa Global’s products ensure the continuous operations of mining projects, thus of one’s employment, the company actually employs competent and talented locals in areas where it sets up its facilities.

The future, electrified

As one of the cornerstones of the African economy, the mining industry deserves a keen attention, particularly in light of the looming power insufficiency. Experts say that Africa’s future is crucially anchored on the mining industry, and for this reason, stakeholders in the mining industry, including the governments, the operators and the investors, are investing thought, labour and money to keep the sector thriving. Permanent power generation facilities, which could provide a long-term solution to the continent’s power woes, are gaining ground in most parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, but their fruition could take some time. While these are in progress, mining companies could opt to rent interim power generation facilities, which are capable of satisfying urgent requirements in a considerably shorter time, precluding disastrous repercussions of operational delays and suspension.

Post-scriptum: Power Solutions for Power Problems

As a response to the looming power supply instability, governments in the Sub-Saharan Africa are mapping out alternative power generation projects, which end is to supply more energy in the long haul. In DRC, for instance, the Grand Inga hydroelectric project, forecast to add 44,000 MW to the country’s power supply, is said to be underway, while in Zimbabwe, upgrades to the Kariba South hydropower and the Hwange thermal coal plants are well in the pipeline. South Africa is keenly looking at Kusile and Medupi coal-fired power stations, with each plant expected to have a generating gross capacity of nearly 4,800 MW.

Electra Mining Spet 2014 Cover

*The foregoing article was originally published in the Electra Mining Africa Preview Supplement, produced by Creamer Media, South Africa.*

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Robert Bagatsing
Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505
rbagatsing@altaaqaglobal.com

Road to Growth

Economic excitement is back in many countries in the world. Construction activities have picked up, investment is flowing and manufacturing has once again gained momentum. India’s economy, for instance, reflects a buoyant growth rate of around 5.3% in 2014 and 5.8% in 2015, riding high on intense government and private sector funding and on an aggressive push to build new and improve on existing public and industrial facilities. Naturally, India’s new found economic vitality has attracted entities and professionals from all over the world to set up shop and work in the country, respectively. From information technology to industrial manufacturing to consumer goods, the best global brands are flocking to India as a safe bet of investment.

Powerline July page 1

While the foregoing bodes well for the future of the country and its people, the frenetic pace of economic and social activities in India is taking its toll on the country’s power supply. A study conducted by India’s Central Electricity Authority reported that energy deficiency would be felt across the country and that the spare power capacity of the northern regions would gradually recede. The situation described above has actually been looming for a time now: Recorded data in recent years showed that demand for energy in India had consistently outstripped the supply, both in terms of base load energy and peak availability. India, the data suggested, registered an 8.5% deficit in base load requirement and 9.8% short-fall in peak load requirement.

The government, in recognition of the foregoing, had initiated rural and urban electrification projects that comprised power plants that run on traditional and alternative energy sources. The discrepancy between the rates of the addition of electric power supply and the growth of demand, however, is that wide that the available energy is never enough to fulfill the requirement. And the gap is observed to be continuously growing, whether in generation, transmission or distribution….

The repercussion of the power deficiency is real. In 2012, a massive blackout left 700 million people in India without electricity. In what is touted to be one of the worst blackouts in history, 20 of India’s 28 states suffered the effects of the power interruption that almost incited social instability and protest for fears that the country was no longer able to support its booming local energy demand.
With the feverish growth rate of economic and social activities in India, the country’s demand for electricity should show no signs of slowing down.

How can energy be sustained?
One has to face the truth that permanent power plant projects cannot be completed in days or months. Permanent energy facilities may take decades to complete, as planning, designing, approving, constructing and commissioning them entail time, effort and processes that go through different channels. What, then, can be done? Is there anything that can possibly support the permanent infrastructure while the new ones are being built?

Temporary power generation companies, like Altaaqa Global CAT Rental Power, have the technologies that have the capacity to support the existing power generation infrastructure, bridging the gap in electricity supply as, where and when the necessity be. In times when the power demand heavily outstrips the supply, rental power generators, running on diesel for example, can prove to be viable and affordable sources of energy to avoid disastrous power interruptions, unscheduled load shedding and widespread blackouts.

Though some parts of the country may have occasional spare power capacity, its availability may be periodic and can be severely affected by a disrupted seasonal pattern. For instance, some parts of the country where hydroelectric power stations operate may experience droughts or prolonged absence of rain, which in turn can drastically reduce the power generation capacity of the said plants. Solar or photovoltaic farms thrive during summer months but may experience shortage in production in months when days are predominantly cloudy or rainy. In these cases, rental power plants may support the power generation capacity of the current facilities to bridge the gap during the crucial months of seasonal change.

With its booming industrial manufacturing sector, production facilities in India often need to double, may be even triple, their capacities to meet the international production requirement in certain months, say during Christmas or Diwali. The consequent spike in power consumption may usher in operational challenges. It is highly probable that during the peak months, utility companies will set ceiling caps for electricity consumption or will ask production facilities to pay an additional consumption premium during peak hours. In this case, based on cost-benefit studies conducted among industries within the arc of peak months, it will be more economically sound for manufacturing facilities to hire temporary power plants than to pay an additional fee for every peak kilowatt used, shut down parts of the production complex when power usage is at its peak, or pay a hefty fine for using more power than what has been allocated. Peaker power plants (peakers for short) are an ideal solution offered by energy rental companies to curb seasonal electricity demand during peak production months.

Powerline July page 2

Power partner checklist
To fully capitalize on the advantages of temporary power technologies, the governments and the utility companies in India need to be discerning in hiring an interim energy service provider. In selecting a temporary electricity partner, one should look at the provider’s experience, organization, support system, rate of deployment and equipment reliability and sustainability before signing an agreement with it.

One of the most important things to consider when entering into an agreement with a rental energy provider is its track record in delivering executable, measurable and sustainable solutions to a wide array of projects. If the mobile generator company cannot supply the required power, it may cause more delays in the project, eventually leading to legal disputes and further economic damages. The Indian government and utility companies should avoid dealing with backyard rental companies that will over-promise but will eventually under-deliver. One should ask, ‘Can we really trust mom-and-pop rental power companies when we are supplying power to airports, hospitals, mining facilities, telecommunication entities and petrochemical companies?’

Though temporary power plants are engineered to endure even the harshest conditions known to man, they are by no means indestructible. The governments and the utility companies in India must keep in mind that the service of a rental energy company should not end when the electric power generators are switched on. The company should have the spare parts and the human resources to carry out after-sales support to installed and commissioned projects at any given location, at any given time. One should ask, ‘Do we stop a 100 MW power plant simply because there was no available spare part?’

An interim energy partner should have the capability to react, deploy, mobilize and commission temporary power plants at a moment’s notice. This means that the provider should have available equipment and manpower on the ground to carry out a rapid delivery. If the power rental company has the available equipment to deploy and a team of professional logistic personnel that can deal with the complexities of ports, customs and transportation, it can immediately solve the power crisis.

Providing solutions to power requirement of different entities does not follow a template nor is it governed by a rule of thumb. Each case should be carefully studied and evaluated in order for rental power companies to prescribe an optimal solution. The only way that an interim energy company can afford to meet the exact requirement of any client is for it to have the adequate and state-of-the-art technologies available in its product line.

Now, there is a solution
The power supply situation in India does not have to be a Catch-22. India could not possibly turn its back on investors and professionals saying that they could not stay in the country because they would eventually consume electricity, putting more pressure on the country’s power facilities. On the other hand, India could not go on growing its economy at the expense of its limited power supply that, when severely overwhelmed, might eventually collapse and cause a massive socio-economic tragedy. In times of tough choices, such as this, rental power plants can make a difference. With interim generators supporting the existing power infrastructure, India can go on its road to economic growth without sacrificing the country’s energy supply. While the permanent power facilities are underway, rental energy plants can bridge the electricity gap, allowing India to power its way to a brighter future.

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*The foregoing article was published in the July 2014 issue of Power Line magazine (India Infrastructure Publishing, India).*

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Robert Bagatsing
Altaaqa Global
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rbagatsing@altaaqaglobal.com

Power to grow sub-Saharan Africa’s economy

While achieving a buoyant economic climate is a feat in itself, the real challenge lies in staying afloat. To sustain the economic optimism that Africa is now enjoying, it is imperative that governments, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, address the critical issue of chronic power shortage, which hampers the development of various industries in the region.

Energize coverage June 2014
Africa has remained resilient in the face of the economic headwind of the previous years. This was the good news delivered by the African Development Bank (AfDB), which recently presented the African Economic Outlook 2014 in its annual meeting in Kigali, Rwanda. Africa’s economic growth, the continent-wide document suggested, was expected to reach 4,8% in 2014 and 5,7% in 2015, on its way to hitting the same numbers as it had before the 2009 economic downturn. The economic expansion, the report indicated, would be driven by domestic demand, infrastructure and a heightened continental trade in manufactured goods. Moreover, the report revealed that direct and portfolio foreign investments were projected to reach US$80-billion in 2014, and financial flows towards the continent were predicted to surpass $200-billion – four times its year 2000 level.

The above-mentioned growth projections bode well for the entire continent, and AfDB suggested that in order to sustain the momentum and achieve economic sustainability and a development breakthrough, Africa would need to participate more actively in the global production of goods and services. In this way, added AfDB, the continent could boost its economic diversification, domestic resource mobilisation and investments in critical infrastructure.

Is there enough power, though?

Since the industrial revolution, power has always been identified as a key factor in encouraging economic growth, and that still holds true today. In the light of Africa’s ambition of achieving economic sustainability, diversity and viability, the continent needs to ramp up its production and industrial activities, and to achieve that, it needs the staying power. The question, however, is “does the continent have enough energy supply to power its way to the future?”

Though the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concurred with AfDB, it sounded a caveat when it said that the observed power supply deficiency in the continent may rein in economic growth. It has been documented that some 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa were facing an energy crisis, evidenced by rolling blackouts, and that some 30 countries in region had suffered acute energy crises in recent years. While the Key World Energy Statistics by the International Energy Agency reported that electricity generation in Africa rose from 1,8% in 1973 to 3,1% in 2011, the continent still remained to have the smallest share globally, despite being the second most populous continent.

Nigeria, for instance, a country that has three times the population of the South Africa, only has one-tenth of the power generation capacity of the latter, and enterprises are already complaining about regular power interruptions. In Tanzania, a month-long blackout was experienced in Zanzibar when the underwater cable lines supplying power to the archipelago failed, following a surge in demand. As a result, residents were paying $10 daily to run diesel powered domestic generators, while businesses requiring refrigeration or heating had to suspend operations until the power was restored. In Kenya, it has been observed that only 25% of the population had access to electricity, and that only 5% of the country’s rural areas had access to the grid. The occasional recession of the water level in some of Angola’s rivers affects power production, disturbing other services, like water distribution. Luanda’s water supply firm, EPAL, cited that various areas in Luanda experienced water supply shortage, owing to challenges related to power distribution.

Touted to be Africa’s biggest copper producer, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) advised mining companies in the country to suspend any project expansion which would require more power, due to a power shortage that, the government said, would take years to resolve. While the country would reportedly institute an electricity-rationing program, mining companies were encouraged to postpone signing new contracts, in an effort to slowdown the growth of electricity demand in the country. Even the region’s largest economy, South Africa, was not exempt from power-related woes. In fact, in a recent communiqué, Eskom, supplier of 95% of the country’s electricity, warned residents of a rolling blackout due to load-shedding, which it said, was to protect the electricity grid from total failure. Eskom said it had begun scaling down maintenance to prepare for winter, but in the face of a rising demand, particularly during peak hours, it appealed to the public to reduce power consumption by at least 10%. If the power demand does not decline, then, the company said, load shedding would be the last resort to avoid a total power shutdown.

With Africa’s population expected to double to approximately 1.9 billion people by 2050, the World Bank said that a much higher investment would be needed to at least double Africa’s current levels of energy access by 2030. In fact, it is estimated that the sub-Saharan region would require more than $300-billion in investments to achieve total electrification by 2030.

Boosting energy

As a response to this pressing need, countries in the region are mapping out strategies to supply more energy through alternative solutions. In the DRC, for instance, the Grand Inga hydroelectric project, expected to boost the country’s power supply by 44 000 MW, is said to be gaining traction, while in Zimbabwe upgrades to the Kariba South hydropower and the Hwange thermal coal plants, forecast to add about 300 MW and 600 MW, respectively, are reportedly in the pipeline. South Africa is also reported to be cooking up the building of two new coal-fired power stations at Kusile and Medupi, expected to individually add approximately 4 800 MW of capacity.

The afore-mentioned initiatives are a testament to the tremendous attention that these countries are paying to their respective power generation challenges. Governments and private entities alike have been putting years’ worth of research and investigation, and billions worth of investment, to draw up the myriad adverse economic and social effects of electricity supply deficiency. A crucial element in the equation, however, is time, and in a world governed by more stringent business practices, faster turnarounds and heightened interdependency, the essence of time transcends chronos. Today, time may mean the difference between profit and loss, between political unrest and stability, and between economic growth and uncertainty.

The price of power: Focus on Southern Africa

Southern Africa was observed to have absorbed the blow of the power crisis in recent years. Blackouts brought cities to a standstill and spelt terminal financial losses to small- and medium-size companies. One of the region’s flagship industries, mining, was also unfavorably affected, prompting mining companies to halt expansion plans and repress local power usage. When Eskom deemed to cut down its electricity export to support its power demand at home, the electricity supply in Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Swaziland, countries that import power from South Africa, was severely affected.

The foregoing, however, was not unexpected. In 1998, the government of South Africa apparently acknowledged the necessity of investing in electricity infrastructure amidst the threat of a power crisis looming large. It deemed, therefore, to privatise Eskom to inject new capital, thus encouraging a ramp up on its efficiency. The finalisation of any agreement, however, was reported to have taken longer than expected, and by 2008, the utility found itself unable to support the then-existing power demand.

Other governments in the region were said to have admitted to underestimating the trajectory of power requirements. In 2008, Botswana Power Corporation said that the energy forecast was skewed by the proliferation of new mines, which meant a steep spike in power demand, not only in Botswana, but also in other countries, such as Zambia.

At present, solutions are underway – but they, naturally, will not come cheap. Economic reports indicated that, at the prevailing growth rate of the demand from industries and residents, the region would have to double its power generating capacity by 2025, at an approximate cost of $171-billion in South Africa alone. Of that amount, $45-billion would supposedly have been needed before 2013.

In order to sustain this projection, the governments have identified potential sources of funds, such as approved power rate hikes and foreign investment. Yet, power hikes could stir alarm and protest from the citizens and trade unions, and could prompt industrial entities, like mining corporations, to cut down on operations, putting jobs and production at risk. Foreign investment agreements, on the other hand, could take time to materialise, and the planning, designing, installation and commissioning of alternative power generation projects may entail years, if not decades.

Bridging the power gap now

Unstable electricity production and regular power interruptions bring about a multitude of negative impacts to any country’s economy, business and citizens. In today’s world, power has become a fundamental element for any economy to function, as every sector of the modern society, be it domestic, commercial or industrial, is heavily dependent on electricity. Nowadays, a power interruption affecting critical facilities, such as hospitals, airports, telecommunications towers, data centers, mining facilities and oil & gas installations, has the potential to put an entire country, region or city to a standstill, and in light of globalisation, the consequences could transcend national or regional borders.

Hiring interim power generation plants to bridge the gap between the demand and the supply of electricity yields many advantages, particularly when there is a foreseeable delay in the fruition of permanent power generation facilities or when the temporary power is immediately needed. It was clear in the above-mentioned examples that countries in sub-Saharan Africa are looking to mitigate the observed deficiency in power supply by upgrading existing facilities, soliciting foreign investment to build new power plants and harnessing the potential of alternative sources of energy, including geothermal, solar, hydro and nuclear. While the aforementioned initiatives have recognised and acknowledged merits and potential, they may require further research, planning, designing and legislation, and additional physical facilities to be operational; and this takes time.

When time is of essence, rental power companies, like Altaaqa Global CAT Rental Power, are capable of providing solutions as needed, when needed. Utility companies in the region, can hire temporary power plants in times when demand outpaces the supply, when the electrical grid is unstable or when power distribution networks are unavailable, like in the rural areas. This will allow them to bridge the supply deficit without waiting for another day. Hiring power generators can prove to be a viable solution to power supply inefficiency, bridging the power gap while the permanent power solution is still in progress.

Powering the way to the future

The world welcomes the positive outlook of Africa’s economy. The continent that was once regarded as a tailender in terms of development, is now making an aggressive move towards economic stability and viability. While achieving a buoyant economic climate is a feat in itself, the real challenge lies in staying afloat. To sustain the economic optimism that Africa is now enjoying, it is imperative that the governments, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, address the critical issue of chronic power shortage, which could hamper the development of various industries in the countries. The effort that the region’s governments are applying to address this predicament is commendable, but there exist other entities which can help them to further alleviate the situation. Rented power addresses the issues of urgency, cost-efficiency, reliability, energy-efficiency and environmental safety. In recognition of the indispensable role of electricity in today’s modern society, it is advisable that utility companies provide for a contingent power solution in cases of power interruption that may lead to operational delays and, ultimately, negative social, economic and financial consequences.

END

* The foregoing article was published in the June 2014 issue of Energize (EE Publishers, South Africa). To read more: http://bit.ly/1pTKEgj *

Energize June 2014 cover
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