The African energy sector is undergoing a period of transformation that is being driven by digitalisation.

With the potential to add $300 billion to the continent’s economy by 2026 the energy sector has realised that digitalisation is worth pursuing. However, as with most things in life something new means new challenges.

These challenges should be addressed sooner rather than later however as digitalisation in the sector is happening at a rapid pace increasing the demand for new skills and innovation in order to adapt.

“There are so many areas that digital opportunities can enable and influence. It remains critical that energy leaders map out digital opportunities, determine the priority areas in their countries’ own context and how to develop talent to leverage those opportunities,” says secretary general of the World Energy Council, Dr. Christoph Frei.

The secretary general is scheduled to speak at the Africa Energy Indaba being held in South Africa next month in a bid to encourage and aid digitalisation in the energy sector.

However, Africa presents unique challenges and these should be accounted for. As such when it comes to implementing potentially disruptive technologies care must be taken to account for the particular nation it is for.

That having been said, Frei points out how digital solutions could help energy systems in terms of efficiency. These are:

  • Digital solutions assist in managing the intermittence of renewables
  • Digital solutions support predictive supply chain management
  • Digital solutions allow for data to be shared
  • Digital solutions enable systems through blockchain technology

Of course digital solutions are not a silver bullet and while they do have benefits there are also challenges.

Digital skills need to be developed and that’s not negotiable. More than that connectivity needs to be more accessible and of course – once you go digital – cybersecurity should be top of mind.

These are not “world firsts” but they require careful consideration so that policy and planning can be properly executed in the countries that consider exploring them.

On that note, we hope to see a few folks from Eskom and The Department of Energy at the Africa Energy Indaba next month.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]