Growth in Africa’s power sector remained subdued in Q2, according to African Energy Live Data. While capacity additions were higher than in Q1 – the weakest quarter since 2011 – this was largely the result of another unit coming online at Medupi in South Africa, writes Dan Marks

The second quarter of 2019 saw 1.8GW of generation capacity added to the grid in Africa. This was a notable increase on Q1, which saw the slowest growth this decade when compared with quarterly averages from previous years. However, 794MW resulted from a unit coming online at the long-delayed Medupi coal power plant in South Africa, which has been bringing online new units periodically since 2015 and has been under construction since 2007.

Growth was lower than anticipated after units at major gas power plants in Algeria – the 1,014MW Ain Arnat and 446MW Boutlélis – faced delays after historic accusations of malfeasance at state energy company Sonatrach were revived (AE 397/17, 397/24). African Energy understands that work on major gas power projects in the country has slowed and official timelines should be treated with caution.

Solar was again a big growth driver, with 411.3MW added to the grid. The bulk of this – 355MW – came at the giant Benban complex in Egypt, with around 440MW more expected at the complex in Q3. Much less on-grid solar was added in sub-Saharan Africa, only 56.4MW, down from 75.7MW in Q1. However, this remains in line with the 56MW added on average each quarter of 2018 and more than the average for previous years

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