Gas prices are at their lowest in 14 years and many African countries are adopting gas as their primary power source as they seek industrialisation within environmental constraints.
In Egypt, the global engineering firm Siemens has orders to supply three natural gas-fired combined cycle power plants, each with a capacity of 4 800MW for a total combined capacity of 14 400MW. Algeria is expanding its capacity from 11 000MW to 26 000MW by 2022, and Siemens is supplying gas turbines for two power plants which will generate over 2 000MW to power five million homes. In Nigeria, Siemens supplied and financed a 459MW gas turbine power plant.
The McKinsey study (South Africa’s Big 5 Bold Priorities for Inclusive Growth) recommends that South Africa urgently pursues gas to fill the 6 to 10GW electricity supply gap expected by 2025, when a series of old coal-fired power stations are decommissioned. It sees gas from imported or domestic sources powering gas turbines with a combined capacity of 11 000MW by 2013.
The Department of Energy says its gas-to-power programme will anchor the development of a gas industry, and its successful Independent Power Producer (IPP) Programme is expanding to include gas.