Harnessing Clean Energy for Africa: A Call to Action

By Humphrey Kariuki

As the founder of Janus Continental Group (JCG), I am proud to highlight our significant investment in Highview Power, a pioneering company in the renewable energy sector. Recently, Highview Power secured £300 million from the UK Infrastructure Bank, Centrica and other investors, marking a major milestone in the development of the first commercial-scale liquid air energy storage (LAES) plant in the UK. This project not only represents a leap forward in clean energy storage but also holds transformative potential for Africa.

At JCG, our vision has always extended beyond investment. We believe in fostering sustainable development and addressing critical energy challenges, particularly in underserved regions. Since our initial investment in Highview Power in early 2020, we have been convinced of its ability to become a market leader in renewable energy storage. Highview Power’s innovative LAES technology, which will soon be operational in Manchester, is a game-changer that we aim to bring to the African continent.

The £300 million investment will enable the construction of one of the world’s largest long-duration energy storage (LDES) facilities, with a storage capacity of 300 MWh and an output power of 50 MW per hour for six hours. This project will not only support over 700 jobs in the United Kingdom, during construction but also establish a blueprint for similar initiatives worldwide.

Africa’s Energy Challenge and Opportunity

Africa faces a significant energy deficit compounded by frequent power shortages and a staggering $108 billion infrastructure deficit. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), developing nations will account for 80% of global energy production and consumption by 2035. To meet this rising demand sustainably, a substantial portion must come from renewable energy sources.

JCG’s subsidiary, Great Lakes Africa Energy Ltd (GLAE), is poised to play a crucial role in addressing Africa’s energy needs. By licensing Highview Power’s cryogenic energy storage technology, GLAE will co-develop large-scale renewable energy generation and storage projects across the continent. This initiative is part of our broader commitment to creating robust energy infrastructure in underserved areas.

However, our vision extends further. We see immense potential in integrating Highview Power’s LAES technology to enhance renewable energy capabilities, thereby reducing dependency on fossil fuels and bringing clean, affordable energy to millions of underdeveloped areas across Africa.

Learning from Global Investments

The collaboration between Highview Power, the UK Infrastructure Bank, and Centrica offers valuable lessons for Africa. It underscores the importance of strategic partnerships and mobilizing significant capital to drive large-scale energy projects. By securing substantial investments, Africa can develop the necessary infrastructure to support long-duration energy storage and renewable energy generation.

Countries like Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa have already demonstrated the potential for renewable energy projects. However, to scale these initiatives, we need a concerted effort to attract both local and international investments. Governments, financial institutions, and private investors must collaborate to create an enabling environment for renewable energy projects.

A Call to Action

The time is ripe for Africa to harness its abundant renewable energy resources. The continent is blessed with vast solar, wind, and hydro potential that remain largely untapped. By leveraging innovative technologies like LAES, Africa can leapfrog traditional energy infrastructures and build a sustainable, resilient energy future.

We must mobilize capital, foster public-private partnerships, and prioritize policy frameworks that support renewable energy investments. The success of Highview Power in the UK serves as a testament to what can be achieved with visionary thinking and collaborative effort. Africa’s energy transformation requires a similar approach, blending innovation, investment, and commitment to sustainability.

In conclusion, JCG’s investment in Highview Power is not just about advancing clean energy storage; it is a statement of our belief in Africa’s potential. We envision a continent where every community has access to reliable, affordable, and clean energy. Let this project be a catalyst for change, inspiring stakeholders across Africa to join us in this journey towards a sustainable energy future.

As we move forward, I call upon African leaders, investors, and innovators to seize this opportunity. Together, we can bridge the energy gap, stimulate economic growth, and improve the quality of life for millions. The future of Africa’s energy landscape is bright, and it begins with the bold steps we take today.


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