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EMERGENCY POWER I n both theory and practice, a mobile generator is the most efficient solution for short term emergency power as it is easily moveable, has a relatively quick installation time and power generation is almost immediate once in operation. However, the downfall is that the feedstock needed is generally a heavy fuel oil of some sort which is expensive and a contributor to CO 2 emissions. Most people associate emergency power with diesel which is expensive and rich in CO 2 . But new technology and natural resources are transforming this type of support power into an economically viable alternative. Power vendor companies have started factoring in the challenges which prevent easy access and running of emergency generation systems. For instance, in 2012, GE launched a mobile gas turbine generator with the potential to generate 31MW utilising either natural gas or liquid distillate fuel, a cheaper and cleaner fuel source than diesel. power in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and its heavy reliance on emergency power. Kane explains that the Mauritanian government implemented a ‘zero shortage’ policy in 2010 to avoid industrial and commercial power shortages as well as any social unrest Being a predominantly Islamic State, it was crucial to get the power in operation before Ramadan. The Mauritanian national electricity company SOMELEC implemented an emergency procedure which was approved by the Prime Minister to fast track the power project. The civil works have been outsourced and conducted in conjunction with the SOMELEC requirements. EMERGENCY POWER What are the alternatives when conventional power runs out? New developments in technology open up windows of opportunity for power-needy facilities which are located in remote and marginalised areas. In a KPMG report, the Sub-Saharan Africa Power Outlook, it is noted that sub-Saharan Africa’s power sector needs to a) increase and sustain security of supply of electricity b) promote economic growth c) build investor confidence and d) be conscious of the environment in which they operate. Therefore installing and/or connecting to a temporary emergency power system is crucial to fulfil the local objectives. A VIEW FROM MAURITANIA ON EMERGENCY POWER Mamadou Amadou Kane, Director General of Société de Production d’Electricité au Gaz (SPEG) gave ESI Africa insight into the current state of 58 that a lack of power may cause. This necessitated a discussion around emergency power options. During the implementation process, SPEG considered both barge solutions and containerised engines, with the latter selected as the best option to fast track the deployment of power to the national electricity grid. DEVELOPMENT OF A HFO GENERATION PLANT An interim power solutions provider EMPOWER, a subsidiary of Globeleq, was selected through a round of bids to develop a 36MW heavy fuel oil (HFO)- fired generation plant. The system, which cost $50 million (ZAR572 million), was funded by Arab Funds for Economic and Social Development. The plant increased SOMELEC’s installed capacity by 70%, enabling the electricity company to depend less on the installed emergency diesel generators. LFO AS PREDOMINANT SOURCE OF FUEL Up until 2009 Mauritania predominantly used light fuel oil (LFO); however, this was progressively replaced by HFO as a result of a capacity increase at the main HFO plant. Currently the country’s largest consumer cities such as Nouakchott, Nouadhibou, Atar and Kiffa are running HFO generators while the non-grid-tied communities remain reliant on LFO. The total production cost of conventional power, fuelled mainly by HFO, is $0.33 per kWh which is heavily subsidised by the government bringing the end consumer cost down to $0.21 per kWh. However, 70% of consumers pay the social tariff which is $0.12. The use of HFO for emergency power is significantly more expensive at $0.40 per kWh and according to Kane the cost could go up even higher for those consumers not yet grid-tied. According to Kane, the cost of using HFO is 35% lower than using LFO. ESI ESI AFRICA ISSUE 1 2015