By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Toshiba Corporation has disclosed that it is working hard to partner with African countries with a view to proffering solutions to the energy problems facing the continent.
Toshiba participated in the Tokyo International Conference on African Development 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya, which was held on August 27 and 28 at the Kenyatta International Convention Center.
The company showcased its ability to provide total energy solutions that ‘Make Energy”, “Transmit and Store Energy” and realize the “Smart Use of Energy”.
It said these ideas demonstrate its ideal positioning to support growing demand for power in Africa with world-class geothermal power generation equipment and high efficiency energy transmission and distribution (T&D) technologies.
It further said some of its company’s key next-generation products for Africa include smart meter systems that deliver enhanced energy network management and support for off-grid energy solutions – essential for providing stable energy in a region as diverse and challenging as Africa.
“Already, almost 60% of our sales are outside Japan,” said Takeshi Yokota, Toshiba’s Corporate Senior Vice President and Corporate Representative for Europe, the Middle East & Africa.
“We are growing our business by promoting expansion in emerging markets, and see Africa as very promising. We have done business in Africa for over 50 years, and established our first office here in 1967. Since 2014, our business here has been driven by Toshiba Africa (Pty) Ltd. We are very happy to participate in TICAD Japan Fair and to introduce Toshiba’s potential to a wide audience,” he added.
Toshiba now focuses on three business domains, energy, infrastructure and storage, all of which can support Africa’s move toward sustained growth. Most important as a driver for growth and improved wellbeing is the company’s energy business. The countries of Africa all target economic growth, and all must contend with demanding environmental conditions.
“Toshiba can contribute,” says Mr Yokota. “We have established technologies that can contribute to supply power stability and make the best use of natural resources for energy generation. Our corporate philosophy is ‘Committed to people, Committed to the Future’, and I have no doubt that Toshiba has a lot to offer in terms of contributing to people’s lives and a better future for Africa.”
Toshiba first entered Africa’s hydroelectric and thermal power plant market in the 1970s.
More recently, in 2013, the company supplied four 70-megawatt turbines and generators for Olkaria I and IV at the Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant, Kenya’s largest geothermal power complex, and they were successfully brought on line in February 2015.
Toshiba has an unrivaled record in the global geothermal power market. It delivered Japan’s first geothermal steam turbines and generators in 1966, and since then has delivered 53 turbines around the world, with a total capacity of 3,400 megawatts. As the source of approximately 23% of the world’s installed geothermal capacity, Toshiba is the global top supplier.
In East Africa, which can look to the vast geothermal potential of the Great Rift Valley, Toshiba is collaborating with numerous countries in the geothermal power business. In 2015, the company concluded MOUs with Ethiopian Electric Power and Tanzania Geothermal Development Company Limited, and on August 9 this year announced its most recent MOU, with Office Djiboutien de Développement de l’Energie Géothermique (ODDEG), the government organization responsible for developing Djibouti’s geothermal power capabilities.
Toshiba’s contributions in Africa also cover power transmission and distribution. In 2015, Toshiba Transmission & Distribution Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd. (TTDI), an Indian subsidiary of Toshiba, won a contract to supply Kenya Power & Lighting Company (KPLC) with approximately 4,000 transmission and distribution (T&D) transformers for the substation network that connects power plants to end-consumers in Nairobi and the surrounding region. After successfully completing this order, TTDI was awarded an additional US$34-million contract in April this year to supply approximately 8,000 more distribution transformers.
Looking to the future in Africa, Toyoaki Fujita, Business Development Executive for overseas operation in Toshiba’s Energy Systems and Solutions Company, had the following comment: “All the data points to rapid economic growth over the next 30 years boosting African energy demand 1.7 times. Meeting the challenges of growth requires comprehensive solutions, and that is where Toshiba can contribute. As a company that can “Make Energy”, “Transmit and Store Energy” and support “Smart Use of Energy”, we can help to build smarter energy networks and support efficient transmission and use.”
At Japan Fair, Toshiba showed how energy transmission and use can be enhanced by its Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Systems, which has won the lion’s share of the global market, 35%. The system can be utilized with smart grid technologies to build efficient and effective transmission and distribution networks. The exhibition will also include H2One, Toshiba’s CO2-free off-grid energy solution system, a fuel-cell in a container, which can easily be installed in off grid areas and that uses renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, plus water, to deliver a stable supply in areas that are isolated and lack electricity.
Mr Fujita added, “Our rich experience allows us to support Africa’s growing demand for clean energy with our latest and eco-friendly solutions, like H2One. The MOU we have agreed in the geothermal business also include provision for training local people, to ensure sustainability over the long term. Looking at everything we can do, I am confident that Toshiba can be Africa’s friendly partner in building a better future.”