Africa is ready to provide enough energy to achieve the most ambitious of goals, and it can do it while maintaining all environmental targets.
We believe careful planning of power systems towards more sustainable and diversified energy supply portfolios can save billions and rapidly reduce CO2 emissions. We create value through our extensive power system knowledge and experience from integrating different generating assets.
On this page, you may find our best materials and proceedings in energising and decarbonising the continent of Africa.
Power plants installed across the continent
of engine power plant capacity installed.
African countries served
With more than 650 employees and service hubs located in Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Senegal, Wärtsilä is proud to have contributed to many industry firsts. These include Africa’s largest gas engine power plant on the Kribi coast of Cameroon with 216MW capacity, as well as Africa’s highest installation, the 175 MW power plant in Sasolburg, South Africa, sitting at 1,700 meters above sea level.
Another first, the KivuWatt power plant in Rwanda, is the first ever power plant to use the naturally occurring methane from lake Kivu to generate electricity and reduce the environmental risks associated with such high concentrations of gas. Today’s power output is 25 MW but future planned expansions to this project will increase capacity by an additional 75 MW.
Since deciding in 2009 that its three new power plants would operate with Wärtsilä gas engines rather than gas turbines, the conventional choice at that time in Nigeria, Paras Energy has continued to benefit from that decision.
Reliable power generation in a remote off-grid location in Tanzania.
Our GEMS Digital Energy Platform together with energy storage solutions were the key players in helping the Fekola gold mine in Mali to reduce their dependency on expensive fuel, lower their carbon emissions and optimise their mining operations.
The Central Electricity Board (CEB) of Mauritius improved the performance as well as reduced the operating costs of their power plant by having a turbocharger retrofit.
The Essakane gold mine in Burkina Faso receives its needed power from Africa’s largest engine-solar PV hybrid power plant delivered by Wärtsilä. Benefits for the mine include reduced fuel costs and a smaller carbon footprint. The capability to control and optimise the usage of the solar PV power and engines enables the gold mine to reduce its fuel consumption by an estimated 6 million litres per year and its annual CO2 emissions by 18,500 tons.
Power plant overhaul boosts availability and grid stability.
With 450 MW of installed capacity in Senegal, Wärtsilä is the country’s leading provider of power generation equipment. The Matelec company placed an order for the delivery of an energy efficient 130 MW Flexicycle™ power plant. This investment will enable Senegal to achieve its goal of reducing consumer electricity pricing.
The Grande Côte Mineral Sands Project aims to extract valuable zircon and titanium dioxide from sandy deposits along the Senegalese coast from 2014 for at least the next 20 years.
"Our old generating equipment was replaced with more efficient units. New power plant technology is used to meet increased demand for electricity. Gas-engine technology allows us to reduce our carbon footprint by more than 40%."
This power plant utilises naturally occurring methane gas from Lake Kivu to generate electricity via Wärtsilä 34SG engines. Total output will be 25 MW. By reducing gas levels in the lake while, at the same time, providing additional power generating capacity, both environmental and economic targets can be met. This is the first time that Lake Kivu’s methane gas will be used to fuel a power plant of this size.
The technology group Wärtsilä’s strong relationship with one of Egypt’s major independent power producers (IPPs) is further enhanced with a new order. Under a contract placed in February 2022 by Kahraba, a subsidiary of Egypt Kuwait Holding (EKH), Wärtsilä will deliver new generating equipment to add approximately 20 MW of output to the existing Borg El Arab power plant located some 45 kilometres southwest of Alexandria, Egypt. Additionally, Wärtsilä will upgrade the existing 40 MW plant with the latest generation control system. The contract was booked in Wärtsilä’s order intake in Q1, 2022.
The Borg El Arab plant currently operates with four Wärtsilä 34SG engines running on natural gas, the cleanest of all widely available fuels. As a result of increased industrial demand for electricity in the region, additional generating capacity is needed, and because of the reliability of the existing operation, an additional two Wärtsilä 34SG engines was deemed to be the optimal solution.
“Industrial growth is vital to the region’s economic development, and a reliable power supply is essential for driving this growth. We have been extremely satisfied with the efficiency and reliability of the Wärtsilä engines and the approach of Wärtsilä’s personnel in serving our needs to optimise our operations. This is why we had no hesitation in selecting Wärtsilä again for this plant expansion project,” said Magdi El Badry, Chairman & Managing Director of Kahraba.
“We have worked very closely with Kahraba in the past and are delighted to be working with them again on this important project. By operating the engines on locally available natural gas, the plant’s environmental footprint is lessened. Furthermore, the flexibility of the Wärtsilä engines will enable the system to incorporate increasing levels of energy from renewable sources,” commented Marc Thiriet, Director, Wärtsilä Energy, Africa West.
Egypt, which has one of the largest electricity grids on the African continent, is making increasing use of renewable energy. The government has set targets for renewables to comprise 42% of the country’s electricity mix by 2035, based on rapid solar and wind energy deployment. The fast-starting and stopping capabilities of Wärtsilä’s gas engines provide the grid balancing needed to compensate for the intermittency of renewables. Wärtsilä engines are ready to also operate on sustainable fuels in the future, once they become widely available, which makes them a future-proof solution. Already today Wärtsilä engines can use synthetic and carbon-neutral methane and methanol, and hydrogen blends. Sustainable fuels together with engines can take care of long-term energy storage needs for periods with persistently low wind or solar conditions.
Kahraba is one of Egypt’s most prominent IPP companies and the country’s only authorised private buyer and seller of gas. Wärtsilä has earlier delivered a number of power generating projects for Kahraba and other subsidiaries of EKH. The extended Borg El Arab plant is expected to become fully operational in 2023.
Earlier published press release Wärtsilä gas engine solutions will support local industry by increasing Egyptian power plant’s capacity by two thirds
Wärtsilä engine power plants
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Image: Wärtsilä 34SG engine generating sets in an engine hall
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Wärtsilä Energy in brief
Wärtsilä Energy leads the transition towards a 100% renewable energy future. We help our customers in decarbonisation by developing market-leading technologies. These cover future-fuel enabled balancing power plants, hybrid solutions, energy storage and optimisation technology, including the GEMS energy management platform. Wärtsilä Energy’s lifecycle services are designed to increase efficiency, promote reliability and guarantee operational performance. Our track record comprises 76 GW of power plant capacity and 110 energy storage systems delivered to 180 countries around the world.
Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in innovative technologies and lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. We emphasise innovation in sustainable technology and services to help our customers continuously improve their environmental and economic performance. Our dedicated and passionate team of 17,000 professionals in more than 200 locations in 68 countries shape the decarbonisation transformation of our industries across the globe. In 2021, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 4.8 billion. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.
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