Rolls-Royce Power Systems plans African expansion

"Such projects can easily be spread to other African countries," Andrea Nono told Reuters, without giving details of where the expansion would take place.

The logo and sign of Rolls-Royce is seen at its Seletar campus in Singapore September 12, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Chong

Rolls-RoycePower Systems plans to replicate the 100 megawatt (MW) Mozambique gas-fired power station it is commissioning elsewhere in Africa as the company expands its footprint across the continent, a top official said.

Demand for electricity in southern Africa is rising fast and needed to be addressed quickly by new power generation projects, the chief executive officer of its South African subsidiary MTU South Africa said on Thursday.

"Such projects can easily be spread to other African countries," Andrea Nono told Reuters, without giving details of where the expansion would take place.

Rolls-Royce Power Systems was working with partners such as the Norwegian government, World Bank and commercial banks that were willing to help finance the projects, she said.

In the long term, solar power and diesel or heavy fuel oil generators could be a great part of the energy mix in Zambia, whose hydropower output had been hit by drought, Nono said.

Zambia's state power utility Zesco cut electricity generation to a quarter of the capacity at its Kariba hydropower plant due to low water levels.

"Countries should look at the power generation mix to make sure that you have a sustainable, stable and affordable grid which will enable their economies to grow," she said.

Rolls-Royce could also improve existing power plants in the region to make them more efficient and less costly, Nono said.

In the short-term it is able to set up small portable units of around 10-20 MW within a few months for countries in need of immediate power, Nono said. "Africa for us is a very important growing market and that is why we have subsidiaries here, particularly in South Africa," she said.

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