‘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 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.
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.”