A place in the sun
Wärtsilä’s Loic Charmoille is at the forefront of the renewable energy transformation in Africa. As far as he is concerned, first-class solutions and continuous learning are the way to crack the market.
Sharing is caring. That is a philosophy that Loic Charmoille lives by, both at work and in his personal life.
The 32-year old works as a Proposal Manager, Energy Storage for Africa and has been focused on developing energy storage, photovoltaic (PV), and thermal projects in the continent for the last eight years. As a result, he has also been boosting the ongoing transformation of the energy sector in Africa.
“I have seen how energy projects are moving away from heavy fuel oil (HFO) baseloads to projects based on PV energy generation and hybrid plants,” says Loic.
On the edge of change
This transition ties in with what Loic has experienced first-hand at Wärtsilä as the company works towards achieving its vision of a 100% renewable energy future.
“Wärtsilä has always managed to identify the correct partners to build a total portfolio which is both innovative and still connected to our core businesses,” he says.
Loic’s proudest moments were when Wärtsilä signed two innovative power plant deals in Africa: the first Flexicycle plant of the continent in 2014 in Senegal and Wärtsilä’s first PV plant at the Essakane Gold mine in Burkina Faso in 2017.
“For both projects, we had been working for months with the whole sales team, and the day we signed the contracts was both a proud and happy moment for me,” he explains. “Proud because we won a ‘first-of-its-kind’ project in both cases and happy because the achievement resulted from such great and intense team work.”
Besides being first-of-its-kind, the Essakane project is a role model for other energy-intensive industries in Africa, and around the world, to enter an era of climate-friendly operations. The 15 MWp solar PV plant helped the gold mine to reduce fuel consumption by approximately 6 million litres per year, and its annual CO2 emissions decreased by 18,500 tonnes.
Still lots of new solutions to deploy in Africa
Since the beginning of 2018, Loic has been focusing on proposal and business development of battery storage projects. “This technology is not very well-known on the African continent. Closing the first utility-scale battery frequency regulation project in Africa would be a major achievement, and a great marketing opportunity.”
“I feel that Wärtsilä gives employees the opportunity to take on new challenges internally, to discover new markets and new products, which makes our daily job still very exciting after all these years,” he adds. “Day-to-day, I try to continuously share everything I have learned, and I am learning, with my colleagues.”
So where does Loic see Wärtsilä heading over the next few years?
“I see Wärtsilä being identified as a technology company instead of a heavy industry company, even if a large part of the business would remain the same,” he says. “And I see myself promoting new solutions and new ways of contracting power assets even more broadly, both internally and externally.”
This attitude of sharing is one that makes Loic the perfect ambassador for Wärtsilä, as it pursues its renewable energy goals.