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Africa Leads in Renewable Energy Projects Investment in the Middle East and Africa

A new report by Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC) tags Africa as the leader of renewable projects investments over the Middle East. The report says some African countries are moving to renewable energy to help solve their acute power supply problem with Nigeria leading the way in value of projects in biomass and solar, South Africa for wind power, Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) for hydroelectric, and Kenya for geothermal project investment. Timetric estimates that more than half of the $717 billion of power generation projects planned or underway in the 21 countries studied are from Africa. African countries account for $413 billion of the total value. Solar and biomass projects in Nigeria account for $32.9 billion and $1.2 billion respectively making the country the leader of the 21 countries studied in these sectors. Solar energy is also being promoted through locally developed projects allowing investors to receive a tariff return by feeding power into the grid. Across Africa hydropower is making a push with the DRC projects valued at $11.2 billion.

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Renewable energy: powering Swaziland with sugar cane

More than 76% of Swaziland’s current electricity supply comes from imports predominantly from South Africa, according to the IRENA report. The country’s power import tariffs doubled between 2009 and 2012 and are expected to continue rising. With increasing power tariffs and the cost of renewable technology dropping, the renewable sector is becoming a more cost competitive market in Swaziland. IRENA director-general Adnan Z. Amin said that: “Renewable energy is no longer just the best choice socially and environmentally, it is also the best choice economically for many countries in many parts of the world.” Amin continued: “It has never been cheaper for Swaziland to reduce its electricity costs, increase its energy independence and improve energy access through the rapid deployment of renewable energy.” Swaziland is part of IRENA’s Africa Clean Energy Corridor initiative which aims to meet Eastern and Southern Africa’s increasing power demands with renewable power. Situated in-between the borders of South Africa and Mozambique, Swaziland could use the existing infrastructure to capitalise and grow its renewable power and potentially sell its surplus power as revenue.

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Rural electrification: Morocco to power 940 remote villages

Morocco’s Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) and Abu-Dhabi based renewable power company Masdar have entered into a partnership to design, supply and install 17,670 solar home systems throughout 940 villages in West African Morocco. Masdar claims that once the installation of the solar homes is complete together with additional electrification initiatives, 99% of rural Morocco will have access to electricity by 2017. The Solar Home Systems will be deployed by Masdar Special Projects – a division of Masdar Clean Energy. Masdar will provide maintenance and operational training over an initial two-year period which will then be taken over by ONEE. The government of Abu Dhabi will be responsible for the funding of the project. The power partnership will identify local service providers to install and maintain each 290 watt solar panel home system. According to director general of ONEE Ali Fassi-Fihri, the rural electrification project meets the Moroccan government’s objective for the development of marginalised areas through development of basic infrastructure.

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Zimbabwe: Firms Encouraged to Set Up Own Power Plants

THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has challenged the private sector to invest in renewable energy projects to support their own operations and ease the power deficit from the national grid. Zimbabwe's power generation capacity remains subdued at an average of 1 300MW due to ageing infrastructure at existing plants against average demand of 2 200MW. While several Government projects are being undertaken to arrest power shortages in the next five years, Zera chief executive Gloria Magombo says private sector investment in renewable energy projects would play a big role in expanding power generation capacity. "We're encouraging companies to invest in renewable energy sources such as solar so that electricity produced by the businesses is used for their own operations and where there's excess power produced it can then be fed into the national grid," said Ms Magombo. Businesses and household consumers continue to endure incessant power cuts amid growing demand for electricity across the region at large.

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Nigeria: Govt Cuts Electricity Tariff By 50 Percent

NERC Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi in a briefing in Abuja said the Discos through a directive issued on March 9, have been ordered to follow the new rule of Zero Collection losses in the tariff. "The removal of collection losses from customer tariff has reduced tariff by more than 50percent in some places," Amadi said. He said failure of Discos to collect all their revenue should not be a burden passed unto the customers who pay their bills, hence it has set the collection losses component of the tariff at 'zero percent' saying "it is clear that removing the collection losses will lead to lower tariffs for consumers. Recall that the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), small and medium scale entrepreneurs and other commercial consumers had since protested the new tariff saying it was skyrocketed and therefore killing their businesses. MAN had specifically petitioned NERC asking for a downward review or it would consider other options including generating its own cluster power. Amadi last week assured them that the commission was working on considering their plights and looking into the tariff review.

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Kenya’s sustainable energy goals on track

Kenya will become the second country in the world, after the Gambia, to adopt a national action plan to guide its implementation of the initiative. Over the past year, with assistance from the SE4ALL Africa Hub, the country has been working to address gaps in its policy, regulatory, and legal framework inhibiting investment in renewable energy. These efforts have culminated in the development of two key documents, an action agenda and an investment prospectus. The two documents will be adopted at a workshop scheduled for 12 and 13 March in Nairobi. The action agenda outlines the various actions that Kenya will put in place to achieve the set goals in renewable energy resources, energy access, and energy efficiency projects and to create conducive environment for investment, while the investment prospectus highlights priority projects proposed by stakeholders. Despite government initiatives to improve electricity access in rural areas, which have brought power to more than 23,000 public facilities in the past five years, just a third of households have access to electricity.

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Scottish power group to build hydroelectric plant for off-grid Malawi

Scottish-based energy company SgurrEnergy has received funding from the Scottish Government to innovate and implement a hydroelectric scheme in southern Malawi to supply renewable power to an off-grid community. The three-year project includes the installation of a 100kW hydroelectric scheme in Mulanje Massif as well as a community education programme, driving skills development in operation and maintenance of renewable technology. Sgurr will collaborate with local entities Mulanje Electricity Generation Authority, Practical Action and Mulanje Renewable Energy Agency to provide access to clean power for over 1,000 residents. According to a company statement, the project will reduce Malawi’s dependency on importing expensive diesel generators which in turn will benefit local industry and schools. The local medical facility will be able to use refrigerators and sterilisers for the first time as well as offer medical care after the sun goes down. Scotland’s Minister for Europe & International Development, Humza Yousaf, said: “Helping remote communities in Malawi to access energy is important for the future of the country. We might take electricity for granted but a reliable, cost effective and clean power source enables medics to treat patients safely and will help school students study after dark”.

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Ethiopia: Making the Most Out of Renewable Energy Sources

The world is currently being challenged by severe climate change that resulted from the inappropriate use of energy. Thus, countries across the world are now looking for various alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal among others. In fact, these energy sources have multiple benefit apart from combating climate change. They help to maximize power or electricity supply. In most developing countries like ours, where biomass is main source of energy particularly in rural areas, alternative energies are of huge significance. Ethiopia's ambition to build a green economy is grounded in the country's potential for and belief in a sustainable growth model for developing countries. In response to the growing demand of energy for the realization of the overall development in particular and in a view to responding to the ever worsening global warming in general, Ethiopia has been taking steps to utilize various sorts of renewable energy and the country has already followed a relatively green and sustainable development path, and most of the power generated in the country already comes from renewable sources, mainly hydro power. For many years, most of the energy demands of Ethiopia for cooking, heating, and lighting had been met from biomass. Petroleum products including gasoline, diesel and kerosene accounted for less than 7 per cent of the country's energy supply, according to some statistics.

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Load shifting: Cement maker PPC deploys energy efficiency software

Southern African cement manufacturer PPC has partnered with energy services company HVAC to relieve pressure off the national electricity grid through predictive production software. The international energy service company has supplied PPC’s Hercules plant in Pretoria with technology that assists in monitoring power consumption and production levels to ensure production at peak times is done efficiently. Commenting on the software purchase, Egmont Ottermann, group energy manager at PPC, said: “We have been working with HVAC since 2006, constantly trying to optimise the performance of our equipment so we can minimise electrical costs. Essentially, this software helps us monitor factory production and silo levels to ensure stock levels are high enough for us to switch off a unit during peak times.”

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US Aid Helps Bring Solar Power to Rwanda

In conjunction with President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, a Dutch energy company has completed work on and started operation of a solar power facility in Rwanda. The 8.5 megawatt solar project comes after completion of a wind energy “farm” in Kenya, hydro-electric dams in Tanzania, a geothermal power plant in Ethiopia, among other projects, and will boost Rwanda’s ability to provide its citizens with electricity by 6 percent, which translates to power for about 15,000 homes. Sub-Saharan Africa is a land of great promise and resources, such as timber, minerals, water and fertile soil. A key factor needed to develop these resources is lacking, however. That’s reliable electrical power. Without it, businesses and economies cannot develop, and in many areas community life stops after dark. Greater private sector investment such as the solar farm project in Rwanda will provide for sustained, equitable economic growth.

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Zimbabwe: Solar Street Lights for Harare

Harare City Council has partnered a foreign investor in a $15 million project that will see solar street lights installed in the city centre. The project has started with Robert Mugabe Way, where workmen are already installing the solar powered street lights. The whole central business district requires 4 000 lights, council says. "We have embarked on a project that will see solar street lights being installed in Harare. "It is being done at no cost to the city council since we were partnered by a Zambian company, Lamise Investments, which will in return enjoy advertising rights on the poles for a period of 15 years," said council spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme. The use of solar energy would help reduce council's electricity bill significantly.

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Geothermal power to reduce cost of living

Power generation in Kenya has changed dramatically with the recent commissioning of the 280MW geothermal plant in Olkaria, Naivasha. The cost of electricity has been falling over the past six months and is set to stabilise following the commissioning of the 140MW Olkaria I Units 4 and 5, the last phase of the ambitious project. Every month, the plant contributes over 185 million kWh of renewable and stable electricity to the national grid. This is because geothermal energy generation does not fluctuate with changing weather. We hope that with reduced energy charges, the cost of living will come down as manufacturers and industrialists pass on the benefits of cheaper production to consumers.

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Housing Finance offers clients solar heater loans

Mortgage lender Housing Finance has started advancing loans for solar heaters to households and businesses consuming over 100 litres of hot water daily. The lender is seeking to profit from a law which imposes a 2017 deadline for building owners to install solar heaters. The loans scheme will see households and commercial entities borrow amounts starting from Sh100,000, repayable in 36 months. “This product addresses customers’ needs to comply with existing energy regulations. Solar systems are currently mandatory for new developments and by 2017 all home owners and developers will be compelled to install them,” said HF managing director Frank Ireri. Older properties were given up to 2017 to comply with the law. HF has partnered with five companies certified by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to install solar heating systems. They include Chloride Exide, Davis and Shirtliff and Solimpex Africa. READ: Building owners face Sh1m fine over solar heaters The company will allow a longer repayment period of up to 60 months for learning institutions and non-governmental organisations.

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Mauritius: CEB to Launch EOI for the Generation of Energy From Renewable Sources

The Central Electricity Board (CEB) will issue shortly an Expression of Interest (EOI) for the generation of energy from renewable sources namely wind, solar, biomass and waste to energy. To that effect, the Board will be implementing measures to increase its capacity to integrate renewable energy into its electricity grid. In reply to the Private Notice Question on electricity supply at the sitting of the National Assembly yesterday, the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, Mr Ivan Leslie Collendavelloo, informed the House of the initiatives being undertaken by the CEB to meet the required additional generation capacity of 50MW in 2017 and 2018 respectively. According to the Vice-Prime Minister, the CEB needs to bring changes to its power grid since the organisation has consistently stressed the low absorption capacity of renewable energy with its grid. To fix the situation, the CEB commissioned a study, which was financed by the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank, to assess the extent of integration possible of renewable energy in the exiting electricity grid.


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Southern Africa: SADC Experts to Strategise On Regional Energy Development

Southern Africa and its energy sector cooperating partners are meeting in Botswana in late February to discuss ways of improving a coordinated approach to addressing the energy situation in the region. The SADC region has been experiencing a crippling power shortage that was first detected as early as 1999. This situation has forced most countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to implement demand-side management policies such as load shedding that have to some extent succeeded in restraining overall electricity demand in the region. However, load shedding has also had a negative impact on companies by forcing them to scale down production due to limited electricity, thereby affecting socio-economic development. The SADC Energy Thematic Group (ETG) meeting scheduled for Gaborone, Botswana on 26 February is expected to discuss initiatives being undertaken by the region to ensure that power supplies meet demand.

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Nigeria: Micro Grids, New Model for Electricity Capacity Expansion

With the commencement of the Transitional Electricity Market (TEM) in February, the electricity sector reform entered a new and critical stage of contract trading. Here, the implication is that utilities will suffer financial penalties for failure to discharge their contractual obligations. Also, it comes with the advantage that the entire market is now bankable and able to attract more investment, as rules and processes are clearer and more enforceable. The enabler of more adequate and reliable electricity is efficient and sustainable investment. The reform has been mostly successful with the creation of a market that is significantly de-risked and effectively regulated. The liberalization policy is also a huge success. Apart from the Nigerian Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) plants, all expected generation will come from private sector plants. Just three months ago, a private firm developer, Azure Power, secured about $900million finances to construct a 500 megawatts (MW).

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Africa: APR Energy Renews 106mw of Contracts in Sub-Saharan Africa

APR Energy, the global leader in large scale, fast-track power solutions, announces today that it has signed 106MW of contract extensions in Sub-Saharan Africa, including an extension on its 40MW Morro Bento power contract in Angola, taking its term into early 2016. APR Energy's Morro Bento plant has been in operation since November 2012 and provides critical base load power to Angola's capital city, Luanda. The plant, together with APR Energy's mobile turbine plant in Rocha Pinto, commissioned in June 2014, provides Luanda with a combined 80MW of electricity, serving more than 500,000 people. The Morro Bento extension follows 66MW of other recent APR Energy renewals in Sub-Saharan Africa, including a term extension through the end of 2015 for its 40MW cross-border contract supplying electricity to Mali, as well as a term extension into Q3 of 2015 for its 26MW of generation capacity in Senegal.

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Kenya: Orange Kenya, Greenlight Planet to Provide Solar Lighting to Kenyans

It is estimated that about 73 per cent of Kenyans live within 1-kilometre (0.6 miles) distance of a power transformer, yet only 18 per cent are connected to the grid. At its most basic level, Africa's energy poverty means there is often no electricity to power lights to study or to work at night. It also means no access to safer electric cooking and heating, powered health centres, or electricity to run a business. It is in regards to this that Orange Kenya and Greenlight Planet Kenya, designers of the Sun King line of solar home lighting solutions, have launched a strategic partnership to provide clean, safe and affordable solar lighting to millions of Kenyan homes in areas that have limited access to electricity. Driven by a common mission to extend energy access to under-electrified communities, Orange Telkom Kenya and Greenlight aim to reach more than one million homes over the next 5 years.

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Ghana: Sugar factory to generate 3MW

The Komenda Sugar Factory in Ghana will begin producing its own electricity by using bagasse to generate power, all Ghana news reported. According to the factory’s site manager, Srinivasa Rao, the manufacturing plant would utilise 2MW of the 3MW generated power to power their operations and the remaining 1MW would be fed back into the national grid. With the country facing regular power outages due to various factors, this system will ensure that once the factory is in full operation it will avoid further power interruptions. According to Rao, “the end product after the production of the sugar would be stored in a 4,000 cubic meter molasses tank to be turned into alcohol, ethanol and industrial spirit to be used by hospitals and other companies”. The project could generate a further 5 000 jobs in various areas and is estimated to be completed by December 2015.

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Menengai set to generate 130MW of geothermal power

The Geothermal Development Company (GDC) has announced that the Menengai geothermal project could generate 130MW of power. Managing director, Silas Simiyu said once the plant begins feeding back into the national grid (December 2015), electricity tariffs should start to decrease, the Star reported. “As of January this year, GDC has drilled 25 wells with steam worth 130MW. Three independent power producers are now moving to the project to build the power plants and we hope that by end of the year, Menengai will be streaming electricity to the grid,” Simiyu said. “That is how electricity from geothermal will in turn help to lower the cost of [electricity tariffs]. Ultimately, we know that once the geothermal power from the different fields come on line, our bills will be reduced by more than 30%”, he continued.Menengai According to Simiyu, Kenya could save an estimate Sh13 billion ($142 million) per year which would have been used towards thermal power to ensure the energy demand was met.

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Rwanda: Farmers Acquire Solar Grain Dryers

The World Food Programme has donated 60 grain dryers worth Rwf27 million to small-holder farmers cooperatives countrywide. The dryer cases are low cost solution for safe, effective and convenient drying of a vast range of agricultural commodities. It doesn't need fuel or electricity because it uses solar energy, which is the simplest and most economical drying method. The Grain-Pro Collapsible Dryer Cases, whose ventilation fans are powered either by solar energy or grid power, is an innovative product. It provides for prevention of condensation, moisture ingress, and control of infestation without toxic fumigation. The equipment will help to strengthen capacity to quickly and adequately dry produce. The official handover of the dryers was held at Codar office, one of the maize growers cooperatives in Nyagatare District, on Friday. Gustave Nshimiyimana, who represented the Ministry of Agriculture, thanked WFP for the commitment to help farmers produce good quality maize for international markets. Nshimiyimana advised the beneficiaries to take good care of the dryers.

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Egyptian government restructures energy sector

On Wednesday, the Egyptian government approved a new law privatising the electricity production, transmission and distribution sectors, the state-owned media house MENA reported. The new legislation states that government will have a limited role in the power sector and the unbundled entities will be seen as independent from each other to ensure a competitive market. “Initially, there will be two markets: one competitive and one in which prices are set by the state. But with the gradual liberalisation of electricity prices over the coming five years, the competitive market will expand to include more consumer segments”, Hafez El-Salmawy, head of the Egyptian Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Regulatory Agency (Egyptera) told media on Tuesday. To boost renewable energy production by 20% by 2020, the government implemented feed-in-tariffs last year for renewable power generated by the private sector.

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Kenya Joins Top 10 Geothermal Producers As It Unveils the Biggest Geothermal Project in the World

The US-Africa Clean Energy Finance (ACEF) programme has reached its initial investment target of $20 million in support of early stage projects boosting the renewable energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa. ACEF programme launched in 2012 and backed by the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the US Government’s development finance institution, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). The USTDA and OPIC have since ACEF’s inception, ‘committed funds to 30 renewable energy projects across 10 African countries’, according to Businesswire The $20 million has the potential to develop into 400 MW of power being generated on the continent and raise additional project capital of a possible $1.5 billion. The funding is intended to provide the necessary financing for feasibility studies and cover technical start-up costs.

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Rwanda: How Biogas Is Bearing Fruit in Prisons

The National Correctional Service (NCS) has committed to use biogas in all correctional facilities as alternative energy source to cut on firewood expenses and help protect environment. The commitment was made by officials during the handover of a biogas plant at Gisenyi Prison in Rubavu District. The plant was constructed by Tumba College of Technology with funding from International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) at a tune estimated at Rwf120 million. Officials said the biogas facility will enable the prison authorities save at least Rwf200,000 daily. Authorities said the shift to biogas now covers 12 correctional facilities across the country, which has significantly reduced the quantity of firewood used. The target, officials said, is 100 per cent coverage, but they did not give the timeframe within which they hope to achieve the target. Michael Kamugisha, the public relations officer at RCS, said they are saving a lot of money using biogas compared to when they used firewood. "We have installed biogas in all prisons except Nyarugenge Prison (commonly known as 1930), which will be relocated to Mageragere in the near future. We now have biogas experience and know how the alternative energy reduces the quantity of firewood and helps in environmental protection," he said

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Kenya: Olkaria Power to Save Kenya Sh25 Billion Annually

Kenya will save about Sh25 billion annually from injecting the 280 Megawatts (MW) of Olkaria geothermal power to the national grid. Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) Chief Executive Officer Albert Mugo says the country will save Sh2.2 billion a month by displacing the expensive thermal electricity generators that use costly fossil fuels in favour of the cheaper electricity from geothermal. Mugo says the cost of electricity has reduced marginally since the addition to the national grid of about 280 Megawatts geothermal power as the fuel cost charge has reduced by 65 percent. "The fuel cost charge, the single major cost item on the power bills has dropped nearly threefold to Sh2.57 per kwh in February down from Sh7.22 per kwh in August last year when the first unit of the 280MW project started injecting to the national grid," he said.

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