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Release by Scatec’s General Counsel shares her journey to Renewable Energy

14 June 2024: Studying Law was not necessarily her first career choice but today she is the General Counsel for a renewable energy company. Growing up, Clémentine had always seen herself being an Engineer, whilst life had other plans studying Law seemed like the fitting choice. “I chose to study Law because it is quite comparable and it’s logical reasoning,” says Clémentine.

Her passion for travel and learning about different cultures made her aware of early discrepancies around the world, which brought her to projects and then renewables. “To refresh my mind after studies travelling was my go-to activity, it still is, with my family. Travelling the world and discovering new cultures is an eye-opening experience. From an early age this made me aware that access to energy is key for economic development,” she adds.

For Clémentine, moving into the renewable energy industry was written in the stars as she had been exposed to the industry in every step of her journey. From the time she kickstarted her career at a law firm – she chose one specialising in renewables – that is when she got a glimpse of what life at a renewable energy company would be like. She then transitioned into banking to finance renewable projects.

Three years ago, Clémentine took a leap of faith and moved to Norway to advance her career, starting as Senior Legal Counsel at Scatec. This marked the beginning of her journey at Release, where she eventually became General Counsel.

It was definitely no coincidence that she was going to end up working in the renewable energy sector.

The transition to the renewable energy industry was not a difficult decision for her to make, “I am an early believer in renewables so applying to Scatec was a natural fit for me because I had heard of the great things Scatec is doing in is markets mainly in Africa and I had previously got a glimpse of what working in the industry would look like,” she says.

Today, Clémentine wears many hats in her role but takes on the responsibility of ensuring consistency in Release’s contract policy and alignment with Scatec’s, abidance to Release’s governance rules and helping smooth coordination among the various functions across the company as the Legal department has the broad overview of the company’s activities and their respective calendar.

“The traditional IPP model doesn’t work for all the markets, now Release brings a technology solution that allows you to rent solar and energy storage power without the need for large capital investments and the long-term commitments,” says the General Counsel.

Clémentine added that Release has a start-up feel to it, which means that there is close collaboration among teams, giving you the opportunity to sink your teeth into the different happenings within the organisation.

Clémentine considers herself as being fortunate for working with people who are passionate about the work that they do and share a common vision in creating a sustainable future for all.  Release may be a small team – spread across 4 different locations around the world, but there is so much diversity within the team. The team building held in the beginning of the year in Cape Town, South Africa was a true testament of the cultural diversity.

She says that she hopes to see steady growth for Release in the coming years and it brings numerous growth opportunities for those within the company and to see new, enthusiastic talent coming in.

 

 

Release by Scatec extends solar plants in Cameroon by 28.6 MW solar and 19.2 MWh BESS

10 June 2024, Cameroon/Norway: Release by Scatec has entered into two new lease agreements with the national electricity company ENEO in Cameroon, expanding its existing solar and battery storage power plants in the country to 64.4 MW of solar and 38.2 MWh of batteries.

Release completed the already existing solar plants in Maroua and Guider in Cameroon (35.8 MW solar and 19 MWh BESS) in September 2023, and is now adding 28.6 MW of solar and 19.2 MWh of battery storage.  The Maroua and Guider solar power plants are based on the innovative Release solution of movable panels and batteries, which are deployed under a simple and flexible leasing contract. Release has available funding for these projects based on the capital raise completed last year when Climate Fund Managers came in as equity investor with 32% ownership stake.

“This extension is a testimony to the success of the initial projects and to the benefits provided by our innovative offering. By increasing the installed capacity in the country, we are reaffirming our collaboration with ENEO and our commitment to Cameroon as a key market for our solutions,” says Hans Olav Kvalvaag, CEO at Release.

“In addition to improving electricity supply in Cameroon and significantly reducing the cost and CO2 emissions from alternative generation based on diesel supply, these pioneering leasing contracts with ENEO are serving as a model for access to affordable clean energy for other countries and large energy consumers in the region. We have the funding available to support significant growth and expect to close and start implementing several additional projects from our pipeline in the coming months,” adds Kvalvaag,

When the extensions of the projects are completed, Release’s projects in totality will supply energy to about 200,000 households in Cameroon, according to ENEO estimates, generating an annual production of about 141.5 GWh of electricity. In combination with the storage capacity the installation will ensure stable supply of electricity also during peak hours.

“ENEO Cameroon has renewed its trust in its partner Release by Scatec to double the capacity of the solar power plants in Guider and Maroua. This move will enable Eneo to further secure power generation in the Northern regions while also improving service quality for households and the industrial sector in these regions. This new step towards more reliable and carbon-free energy is part of Eneo’s strategy, which is central to its continued efforts, under the auspices of the Government of Cameroon, to sustainably improve on the power available in Cameroon,” according to Amine Homman Ludiye, CEO of ENEO Cameroon.

“Our successful partnership with Release by Scatec has greatly benefited the local population in northern Cameroon by eliminating blackouts. This new project will further reduce our dependency on diesel and save the government millions of dollars in fuel costs,” says H.E. Gaston Eloundou Essomba, Minister of Water and Energy, Republic of Cameroon.

The projects were originally developed in partnership with Izuba Energy and Sphinx Energy.

Contact:
Hans Olav Kvalvaag, CEO Release, tel: +47 90 17 13 18, hans.olav.kvalvaag@scatec.com

About Release
Designed to overcome financial and technical barriers associated with adopting solar energy, Release is a flexible leasing agreement of pre-assembled solar PV and battery equipment to deliver a low cost, clean, and reliable power solution. Release is owned by Scatec ASA (68%) and Climate Investor One (32%), an impact investment fund managed by Climate Fund Managers.

Release by Scatec CEO at Spring Meetings 2024

06 June 2024: Release CEO, Hans Olav Kvalvaag, attended the Energising Africa: What Will it Take to Achieve Universal Energy Access? Spring Meetings event 2024 held in Washington DC hosted by The World Bank Group and International Finance Corporation (IFC).

This year’s Spring Meetings gathered development partners, private sector representatives and country ministers from around the world where they discussed opportunities on how to energize Africa and what it will take to achieve universal access in the continent to unlock opportunities that will grow the economies. Release is well-aligned with the conversations that took place at the event, which stress the urgent need for powering up Africa.

Studies show that close to 600 million people are living without electricity in Africa. Access to electricity is a fundamental human right, without access to reliable electricity there is little to no economic growth and the region will not be able to reach its set development targets.

The World Bank Group together with the African Development Bank Group have partnered up to provide at least 300 million people in Africa with electricity by the year 2030. The World Bank Group has committed to providing electricity access for 250 million people through renewable energy systems or the distribution grid, the African Development Group will support the additional 50 million.

The commitments that have been made reiterate the urgent need to electrify Africa to unlock its potential.

Africa is one of Release’s key focus markets, it has experienced much traction in the continent, mainly in the utilities sector. Hence our participation at this year’s Powering Africa event was crucial as it gave us the opportunity to share our expertise on how we can ramp up the energy transition in the continent.

Our CEO was part of a panel discussion that focused on collaborative solutions between the public and private sectors in delivering energy access solutions. “Technology is not the issue, the solar and battery revolution that we are currently seeing is giving us plenty of opportunities to deliver efficient solutions for electrifying any place in Africa,” says our CEO. The conventional IPP model does not work for all economies. That is where the simplified, flexible, rental model comes in that addresses all the challenges that are faced with structuring.

Release has an innovative technology solution; its approach is to distributed generation solar PV and Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) for projects beginning from 5MWp blocks. The technology solution comprises od pre-assembled moveable trackers and storage units. The equipment is pre-funded through a non-complex leasing agreement that lasts between 5 to 15 years. The flexibility that this solution brings ensures competitive pricing while maintaining high-quality service and technology.

Release has projects in operation in operation and under construction in Cameroon, South Sudan, South Africa, Mexico and South Sudan with a total capacity with a total capacity of 47 MW solar PV and 20 MWh of battery storage and has additional contracts for 35 MW solar PV and 20 MWh of storage in Chad, in addition to its maturing pipeline.

Our goal at Release is to actively engage in conversations that aim to accelerate the energy transition in the African continent. Leveraging our projects, our flagship projects being in Cameroon, we aim to show that impactful change is possible and can happen swiftly. Our key markets hold much untapped potential that serve as catalysts for the African continent’s development.

Release by Scatec hosts Tanzanian Electric Supply Company Limited and Artelia Delegates

15 May 20204: The renewable energy market is growing rapidly, with immense pressure on governments and industries to adapt sustainable practices to achieve net zero. While we see the rest of the world doing its best to meet the energy demands, a few continents are lagging behind in meeting their energy transition targets.

Africa’s energy landscape faces numerous challenges. The main challenge that Africa faces when it comes to the energy transition is the lack of finance and investments. Release offers a unique leasable solution that enables utilities and private companies to invest in renewable energy to reduce their carbon emissions and continues the fight against climate change. The technology solution consists of pre-assembled solar and battery energy storage equipment that is containerized.

Our biggest portfolio is in the utilities market in the North of Cameroon, Maroua and Guider. The plants have a combined capacity of 36MW solar and 20MW/19MWh of battery storage. In our continuous efforts to uplift the African utilities market, Release by Scatec’s Business Developer, Joyce Ho, hosted Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (TANESCO) and Artelia delegates for a 4-day study trip.

The purpose of this study trip was for the delegates to learn more about the operations of solar power plants as they are looking to expand their power plant portfolio in Tanzania. We went through some of the lessons learned from the time we entered the market, giving them useful tips about solar and battery storage solutions. It was important to emphasize that renewable energy is not just a technology, but a crucial factor in saving our planet.

“We were delighted to welcome the delegation of Tanzanian Utility specialists and share insights. Engaging with them provided valuable insights into the concerns and priorities of potential customers, especially regarding investments in new solar power plants. Such exchanges are invaluable for refining our offerings to better suit their needs,” says Arnaud Gouet, Release Senior Vice President of Utilities.

The week was filled with learning and knowledge sharing regarding all thing’s renewable energy.

The first day was spent at Scatec’s Cape Town offices, where we presented who we are at Scatec and Release respectively to the delegates. The presentation of Tanzania case gave us a better outlook of what the delegates wanted to get out of this trip.

Day 2 of the study trip was at the Release testing site in Stellenbosch, showcasing the unique Release solution and the evolution of our redeployable trackers over the years.

Day 3 and 4 the delegates travelled to the Northern Cape Province to visit the Scatec sites.

We kicked off our site visit to the Scatec Round 4 Solar PV plants, where we got a warm welcome from the Site Manager and the rest of the team on the ground. The site visits are where the delegation got to fully learn about the technicalities of running a solar power plant and the operation and maintenance of it.

“The team was very excited to visit one of the world’s largest hybrid solar and battery project for the very first time, especially one that is owned by a private company. Our trip to South Africa with the Scatec and Release team was eye-opening. We learned so much from team on solar PV technology advancement. This visit exceeded all of our expectations,” says Seleman Mayanjo Senior Research Engineer at TANESCO.

We would like to thank TANESCO and Artelia for a remarkable week of learning, and to the Scatec site teams for showcasing Scatec’s capabilities.

 

 

For images, please see Release image gallery

 

 

Release by Scatec partners with IFC for clean and affordable power to Africa

13 December 2023: Release by Scatec (Release), has signed a USD 100 million loan agreement with the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC). The loan agreement is part of a larger partnership to provide a simpler, more affordable, and cleaner offering of power to African utilities, which also includes a USD 65 million guarantee facility to support the payment obligations of Release’s customers.  The objective is to replace costly diesel and expand electrification in the region.

Release operates on a unique leasing model, providing flexible short- or long-term contracts for the mining and utilities market, primarily in Africa, based on modular, movable and redeployable equipment.

IFC is the largest global development institution renowned for its instrumental role in supporting private sector development, and the loan from IFC will provide funding on a portfolio level for Release’s further development and installation of assets to be leased to African utilities.

The purpose of the guarantee facility is to guarantee payments to Release from the counterparties leasing the solar and battery equipment. The structure provides risk mitigation for Release while allowing African utilities and governments to secure affordable renewable energy from solar and batteries, without the financial commitment required for the conventional infrastructure projects. The partnership with IFC will thereby represent a significant catalyst for further growth of the Release platform.

The first project where the combined project loan and guarantee structure will be applied is for a 35 MW solar and 20 MWh battery project in N’djamena in Chad, where a lease contract has already been signed. Release’s existing and operating projects in Northern Cameroon of 36 MW of solar PV and 20 MWh of batteries will also form part of the portfolio financing and discussions on extending the capacity of these projects are currently ongoing with the utility.

“This highly innovative solution enables countries to deploy solar power projects quickly, allowing African countries to swiftly ramp up to meet rising energy demand with clean power solutions,” said Sarvesh Suri, IFC’s Regional Industry Director for Infrastructure and Natural Resources, Africa. “Our ambition is to deploy this replicable solution, in partnership with Release in multiple countries across sub-Saharan Africa within a short timeframe, allowing more people to benefit from the economic growth that comes with reliable, affordable access to electricity.”

“I am delighted that, through this partnership between Scatec and IFC, Chad has been chosen as the first country to benefit from a solar power plant to support the government’s efforts to meet the energy access needs of our populations,” said Alixe Naïmbaye, Minister of Hydrocarbons and Energy of Chad.  “In addition, the liquidity guarantee facility granted by the World Bank to Société Nationale d’Electricité underlines the strong commitment of the World Bank Group to facilitating partnerships with private investors.”

 

“We are excited to secure the partnership with IFC for our innovative solar leasing solution Release. IFC’s support is testimony to the solid business model of Release, the general demand and need for such an innovative solution in the market and our proven track record in developing renewable energy solutions,” says Scatec CEO, Terje Pilskog, who is also Chair of Release.

“The innovative approach of Release follows a dynamic rolling delivery model of build, connect, and deliver. Looking ahead, Release is actively exploring additional opportunities in Cameroon, Liberia, and the rest of West- and Central-Africa, reinforcing its commitment to advancing renewable energy solutions across the African continent and other select markets,” says Release CEO Hans Olav Kvalvaag.

This significant step comes after Release recently raised USD 102 million in funding from Climate Investor One, a fund managed by Climate Fund Managers, a leading climate-centric blended finance fund manager backed by FMO, the Dutch Development Bank, and Sanlam Infraworks, part of the Sanlam Group of South Africa.

 

For further information, please contact:
For analysts and investors: Andreas Austrell, VP Investor Relations, tel: +47 974 38 686, andreas.austrell@scatec.com
For media: Meera Bhatia, SVP Communications & Government Affairs, tel: +47 468 449 59, meera.bhatia@scatec.com

 

For images, please see Release image gallery

Flexible solar leasing solution “Release by Scatec” closes USD 102 million capital financing round

27 October 2023, Oslo: Release by Scatec (“Release”) today closed the previously announced USD 102 million (NOK 1.1 billion) transaction with Climate Fund Managers (“CFM”). The funds will be used to further accelerate its growth ambitions as a separate platform. Release was established by Scatec ASA (“Scatec”) in 2019 to offer a flexible and mobile leasing solution of pre-assembled and modular solar and battery equipment for the mining and utilities market.

CFM is a leading climate-centric blended finance fund manager backed by FMO, the Dutch Development Bank, and Sanlam Infraworks, part of the Sanlam Group of South Africa. The company invested in Release via its Climate Investor One (CIO) fund; a blended finance vehicle focused on renewable energy infrastructure in emerging markets. As previously communicated, CFM will contribute USD 55 million in equity for a 32% stake in Release. Scatec will retain the majority shareholding of 68%. CFM will also provide shareholder loans totalling USD 47 million, part of which will be on concessional terms.

“We welcome Climate Fund Managers as a strategic partner to fuel the solid growth journey of the Release platform. With this collaboration, we are not only raising funds; we are sharing the future of renewable energy solutions. Release is offering a unique solution in a rapidly growing market segment that requires a different business model than Scatec’s larger scale project business,” says Scatec CEO, Terje Pilskog, who is also the Chair of Release.  “We are excited to reach this key strategic milestone for Release. It is testimony to Release’s unique business model and Scatec’s ability to attract top climate-oriented fund managers on a mission to invest in value accretive projects in emerging economies.”

Release represents Scatec’s innovative approach to distributed generation solar PV and Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) for projects beginning from 5MWp blocks, matching a need for delivering simple and on-demand renewable energy solutions. This modular solution comprises pre-assembled and containerised movable trackers and storage units. The equipment is pre-funded and deployed through a straightforward and adaptable leasing agreement, lasting at least 5 years and up to 15 years, akin to leasing a car. The mobility of the equipment enables Release to assess its useful lifespan, enabling the company to provide cost-effective short-term contracts, even for 5-year leases. This flexibility ensures competitive pricing while maintaining high-quality service and technology.

Release is experiencing good traction in the market, particularly towards African utilities. It has projects in operation and under construction in Cameroon, South-Africa, Mexico, and South-Sudan with a total capacity of 47 MW solar PV and 20 MWh of battery storage and has additional contracts for 35 MW solar PV and 20 MWh of storage in Chad, in addition to maturing its advanced pipeline. Release intends to replicate its rapid deployment model to address shortfalls in local grid power supplies throughout the region.

“Our blended finance model facilitated the integration of impact finance into the deal structure, which Release will be able to leverage to improve its cost structure for its battery and grid connection solutions, allowing Release to offer even more competitive pricing and better value to its clients. We are delighted to support the Release team as they roll-out their critical climate technology across Africa, helping significantly reduce the emissions of the mining and utility sectors,” says Climate Fund Manager’s Darron Johnson, Head of Africa Investments

Release will now be accounted for as a joint venture investment in the group accounts of Scatec, generating an accounting gain of approximately USD 40 million in the consolidated financials at closing. There will be no impact on the proportionate financials from the transaction.

Rand Merchant Bank (“RMB”), a division of First Rand Bank Limited, acted as the sole financial advisor to Scatec on the transaction.

 

For further information, please contact:
For analysts and investors: Andreas Austrell, VP Investor Relations, tel: +47 974 38 686, andreas.austrell@scatec.com

For media: Meera Bhatia, SVP Communications & Government Affairs, tel: +47 468 449 59, meera.bhatia@scatec.com

Release by Scatec Inauguration of Cameroon Solar Hybrid and Battery Storage Plants

Today, Release by Scatec celebrates the inauguration of the solar plants in Cameroon. Release entered into a lease agreement with ENEO, an electricity company, in 2021 to deliver two solar hybrid and battery storage plants that have a combined capacity of 36MW solar and 20MW/19MWh of storage. The plants are located in Maroua and Guider, in the Grand-North Cameroon.

 

“We are pleased that this day is finally here, and we get to celebrate this major milestone at Release, where we pride ourselves in making renewable energy easily accessible and affordable across growth markets,” says Hans Olav Kvalvaag, CEO at Release.

 

The Release by Scatec pre-assembled solar power and battery storage system is a unique solution and the first of its kind to be deployed in Cameroon. The Maroua and Guider solar power plants are an innovative solution, and they are equipped with over 44,800 bifacial solar panels mounted on trackers, which will help maximise energy production throughout the day. The installations will generate 80 GWh of electricity each year. We are proud to say that our fight against climate change will be evident, as the plants will make a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions, with an estimated saving of almost 60,000 tonnes per year.

 

The solar power plants have been completed in phases generating electricity throughout 2022 and are now fully completed.  There have been reports of significant improvements of electricity supply in the northern parts of Cameroon. Regions that fall under the Northern Interconnected Network were prone to experiencing power outages. Today we are proud to say that they have more stable power in the country courtesy to our rapidly deployable leasing solution. Residents and industries are benefiting from the two solar power projects in the northern parts of Cameroon.

 

“Having looked at the success of the two projects and how it has helped improve the electricity supply in Cameroon, Release is well positioned to further strengthen power supply in Cameroon with more capacity,” explains Arnaud Gouet, SVP Utilities at Release.

 

The Scatec and ENEO team, as well as the sub-contractors and local staff showed great commitment to the success of these projects.

 

Arnaud Gouet expressed his gratitude saying, “These solar power plants are the result of a fruitful collaboration between the public and private sectors. They embody innovation through ground-breaking contracts, symbolising the collective determination to meet the energy needs of the Far North region cleanly and efficiently. This initiative was made possible by the expertise and vision of all parties involved.”

 

“We would like to thank the Release team that has been working tirelessly on this project and this day would not be possible without your hard work and dedication. We would also like to thank the ENEO team for believing in us and the fruitful partnership that we have developed over the years. And a big thank you to the Cameroonian Government for trusting us with these projects,” says Hans Olav Kvalvaag.  

 

Site teams at inauguration, Cameroon.

Release by Scatec raises USD 102 million to accelerate growth ambitions

Release by Scatec (“Release”) signed an agreement to raise USD 102 million (NOK 1 billion) in funding from Climate Fund Managers (“CFM”) to further accelerate its growth ambitions. Release was established by Scatec ASA (“Scatec”) in 2019 to offer a flexible leasing solution of pre-assembled and modular solar and battery equipment for the mining and utilities market.

 

CFM is a leading climate-centric blended finance fund manager backed by FMO, the Dutch Development Bank, and Sanlam Infraworks, part of the Sanlam Group of South Africa. The company invested in Release via its Climate Investor One (CIO) fund; a blended finance vehicle focused on renewable energy infrastructure in emerging markets. CFM will contribute USD 55 million in equity for a 32% stake in Release. Scatec, a renewable energy frontrunner in emerging markets, will retain the majority shareholding of 68%. CFM will also provide shareholder loans totalling USD 47 million, part of which will be on concessional terms.

 

“We are very excited to have Climate Fund Managers join us as a partner to accelerate the significant growth potential of the Release platform. Scatec is establishing a strong partnership and has raised external financing through a value accretive transaction to fund Release’s growth ambitions. Release is offering a unique renewable energy solution in a rapidly growing market segment that requires a different business model than Scatec’s larger scale project business,” says Scatec CEO, Terje Pilskog, who is also the Chair of Release.

 

“Today’s transaction establishes Release as a strong and independent company while Scatec remains the main shareholder and offers services to support Release and drive synergies in the next phase of the company’s development,” adds Pilskog.

 

Release is experiencing good traction in the market, particularly towards African utilities. It has projects in operation and under construction in Cameroon, South-Africa, Mexico, and South-Sudan with a total capacity of 47 MW solar PV and 20 MWh of battery storage and has additional contracts for 35 MW solar PV and 20 MWh of storage in Chad, in addition to maturing its advanced pipeline. Release intends to replicate its rapid deployment model to address shortfalls in local grid power supplies throughout the region.

 

“We are excited to have a partner as strong as CFM on board and one who shares our view of the potential and aspirations for our business concept. The new shareholder funding will be supplemented by Release through additional debt and guarantee facilities that are currently in advanced negotiations. This gives us the financial foundation we need to meet the strong demand for our flexible leasing model, for easily deployable renewable power plants,” says Release CEO, Hans Olav Kvalvaag.

 

“CFM’s purpose is to help end the climate crisis. We do this by raising and deploying cutting-edge blended finance funds at scale and at pace. Our blended finance model facilitated the integration of impact finance into the deal structure, which Release will be able to leverage to improve its cost structure for its battery and grid connection solutions, allowing Release to offer even more competitive pricing and better value to its clients. We are delighted to support the Release team as they roll-out their critical climate technology across Africa, helping significantly reduce the emissions of the mining and utility sectors,” says CFM CEO, Andrew Johnstone.

 

After closing of the transaction, Release will be accounted for as a joint venture investment in the group accounts of Scatec, which will generate an accounting gain of approximately USD 40 million in the consolidated financials at closing. There will be no impact on the proportionate financials from the transaction. Closing of the transaction is expected in the third quarter of 2023, subject to customary conditions precedent.

 

Rand Merchant Bank (“RMB”), a division of First Rand Bank Limited, acted as the sole financial advisor to Scatec on the transaction.

 

For further information, please contact:
For analysts and investors: Andreas Austrell, VP Investor Relations, tel: +47 974 38 686, andreas.austrell@scatec.com
For media: Meera Bhatia, SVP Communications & Government Affairs, tel: +47 468 449 59, meera.bhatia@scatec.com
Aidan Wildschut, Senior Communications and Public Affairs Coordinator, tel: +27 663 94 1407, aidan.wildschut@scatec.com

Closing Africa’s energy gap requires a completely new approach

We’re at Africa Energy Forum, working with governments and industry on ways to close the continent’s energy gap.

Hear from our CEO, Hans Olav Kvalvaag, on how a new approach is needed to secure sustainable energy access for Africa.

 

AEF, Kenya 2023.

 

In our rapidly changing energy world, we must acknowledge that emerging economies may require a very different recipe for success in the clean energy transition.

We live in an age of affordable clean energy generated from wind turbines, hydro plants, and solar panels. Companies and entire countries have set ambitious low carbon targets and we are experiencing a fast-changing energy world and the rapid rise of clean technologies.

Fatih Birol, the executive director of the IEA, called it a “historic moment”. The world is finally seeing the fruits of our investments, and clean energy is hitting its stride with peak fossil fuel demand fast approaching.

But we must ask ourselves if we are truly doing enough to ensure that emerging economies, in places such as Africa, can keep pace and benefit from cleaner and more available sources of power?

There remain parts of the world where the transition is simply not happening as quickly. It’s often in these places that the energy gap persists, or the region suffers from power shortages related in one way or another to climate change and/or the often-prohibitive costs of fossil imports.

 

The typical way of building major power infrastructure won’t work everywhere

 

In Africa, the energy gap is present on much of the continent, and many countries still lack  sufficient power structures to electrify their homes and businesses. The typical, complex, and capital-intensive way of delivering power simply won’t work here, which is why we need to think differently.

The world’s ability to bring clean energy to every corner of Africa and beyond will come down to our ability to adapt and embrace solutions that account for the unique needs, geographies, and available resources of each region. And in some regions and certain industries, the dependency on fossil fuels will be hard to shake.

This fossil fuel dependency is often due to a lack of resources and sometimes an unwillingness to embark on a lengthy transition to an alternative energy source, a process that would require regulatory approvals, major infrastructure buildout and grid modernisation, coupled with contracts that may lock them in for 25 or more years to a single source of power. It’s not exactly an appetising journey to take if you are a nation grappling with persistent power outages combined with a large portion of the population kept in the dark.

 

Without power, poverty perpetuates

 

At the same time, these emerging economies are poised to advance, they need to advance, and their power demand will only grow as they do. People shouldn’t be forced to wait another five or 10 years to get the power they need. Because without power, poverty perpetuates, and progress is hindered.

Flexibility is the way forward. Whether you are a utility company in Chad or a mining operation in Sierra Leone, your needs are unique and your need for scalability is high. Realistically, the priority isn’t necessarily clean energy in these cases but rather it’s about getting affordable power as soon as possible. And right now, the most affordable power is solar.

This was the starting point that led us to develop leasable, re-deployable power plants, based on solar power and battery energy storage. We call it “Release” and it enables much-needed flexibility for emerging economies in that the infrastructure is not fixed, it can be leased for the duration of need, and it can be scaled when and if demand grows.

At the same time, the power we deliver is primarily solar – which as of today is more affordable than the fossil alternatives. On top of this, a Release power plant can be installed on site, meaning transport costs can be eliminated, and locals can be trained to operate it.

 

Release deployed, Cameroon.

 

Stabilising energy supply in Northern Cameroon within six months

 

One of our first Release projects was with ENEO, the North Cameroon utility company. They were looking for a way to boost their power supply, as their hydropower reserves were lacking due to extensive droughts. Within six months of our agreement, we were already deploying solar power to the people of Northern Cameroon, bringing long awaited electricity to many for the first time. Today, this region can boast the most stable power situation in the country.

The future energy picture will not be one size fits all. We cannot copy and paste the standard power project model on an African nation. The UN has made it clear that emerging economies cannot be left behind in the energy transition, but perhaps even more urgently, these economies require the stimulation that rapid access to electricity can provide. As a leading renewable energy provider, we see it as our responsibility to find solutions, move faster, and create opportunities for people. It’s time to light up Africa, and we believe that Release is just the beginning.

 

 

“We need to power and electrify Africa”

‘Release by Scatec’ CEO Hans Olav Kvalvaag talks about how he and the team are rethinking the way renewables are delivered in Africa and beyond.  

 

For Hans Olav Kvalvaag, the move into the renewable energy industry was a distinct choice he made mid- career. It was a move away from his previous life as an attorney, solving cases within oil and gas, and onto a new mission, pursuing the power of sun and wind.

Eight years ago, nearly to the day, his journey in Scatec began.

“It’s been quite the ride in Scatec,” he says, “developing new business and partnerships within renewable energy around the world. A couple of years ago, I was asked to change course and to investigate new ways to bring energy to places where it’s complicated to deliver and desperately needed.”

This turned Hans Olav’s focus primarily to Africa. The idea was to transform the delivery of renewable energy into something far simpler and easier, with a baseline understanding that not every country or organisation has the capital or capacity to complete complex power projects – projects that often take years until completion.

 

Renewable energy released on demand, anywhere.

 

“We need to power and electrify Africa,” says Hans Olav. “And we have failed (from the western side) to support this continent in setting up and building power structures, leaving a gaping energy gap. The typical, complex, and capital-intense way of delivering power isn’t going to work everywhere. That’s why we decided to do things differently.”

They called their new concept ‘Release’, a fitting name for a burgeoning company tasked to release renewable energy, on-demand, where and when it’s needed. At the core of Release is its flexible leasing model – a model designed to offer a viable clean energy alternative in even the most challenging-to-electrify places in Africa.

 

Release deployment, Cameroon.

 

Release projects are spreading across Africa

 

The very first Release project was with the United Nations (UN) – International Organization for Migration (IOM). The IOM leased a re-deployable solar plant from Release, and as a result, began delivering clean energy to their refugee camps.

“The Release model is spreading. About a year ago we began a project in Northern Cameroon, an area sorely in need of electricity, and lacking in the necessary investment to build infrastructure. Today, they have the most stable power situation in the country thanks to our flexible leasing solution,” Hans Olav explains.

 

Rapid Renewable Energy – decarbonising grids and operations.

 

A faster and cleaner way to close the energy gap

 

From contract signing to delivery, the Release deployment process takes about six months. It’s an ideal timeline for a mining operation or a utility company that lacks the capital to invest in a lengthy power project, and yet, is looking for a quicker route to escape the rising costs of diesel.

“Our goal is to be the premiere supplier of renewable power solutions to Africa,” Hans Olav asserts. “We see that for mid-size projects, we can deliver something that is suitable for the grid at hand – grids that are often unstable, complicated and require flexibility as demand grows. In these situations, Release is a perfect fit.”