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Kenya cuts cost of power connections to boost economy

Kenya reduced the cost of connecting houses to the electricity grid by 57 percent on Wednesday to double the share of the population with electricity to 70 percent by 2017. East Africa’s largest economy is struggling with ageing energy infrastructure and the government has said it plans to expand its generation capacity by 5,000 megawatts (MW) by 2017 from about 2,152 MW now, to lower tariffs and cut costs of doing business and increase the number of electricity users. Authorities see increased investment in its energy sector as a way of boosting the economy, allowing more people to run small businesses such as welding shops. President Uhuru Kenyatta said households would pay just 15,000 shillings ($153) for connection, down from 35,000 shillings ($1 = 98.3000 Kenyan shillings) with those who cannot afford even the new rate having the option of paying by instalments.


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Nigeria: 12-Megawatt IPP to Power Lekki Free Trade Zone

Lagos State governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola on Tuesday commissioned the new 12- megawatt Independent Power Plant (IPP) to supply uninterrupted power supply to the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ)in Lekki area of the state. Speaking at the ceremony, he said the power plant was another milestone achievement of his administration to demonstrate its commitment to the business zone. He lauded the stakeholders and investors for partnering the state government in the realisation of the free trade zone since 2006 when the journey started. The governor said, "Today, we have lived the dream; block by block, the zone has emerged. This zone will outlive all of us because it will be here in another 200 years. So, it must grow gradually and at its own pace. Today, we have achieved another milestone. "All this place was thick forest in 2007 without roads. We built roads and today, it is having electricity. It is only a modest journey and all the community will benefit."


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Ethiopia Plans Four New Wind Farm Projects

Addis Ababa — As Ethiopia gears to make wind power one of the significant part of the country's renewable energy sources, four new wind farm power projects totaling 542 megawats of energy are to be constructed in the coming years, an official said. The report was released in a booklet during the inauguration of the third wind power to be commissioned over the last three years the 153 MW Adama II Wind farm, 95 kms south east of Addis Ababa. The other two are the 51 MW Adama I wind farm and the 120 MW Ashegoda Wind farm located 780 kms north of Addis Ababa. The Projects who are under study are the 300 MW Aysha wind farm, the 42 MW Mesebo-Harena wind farm, the 100 MW Assela Wind Farm and the 100 MW Debre Berhan wind farm. Alemayehu Tegenu Water, Energy and Irrigation Ministry Minister said the inauguration of the Adama II Wind Farm, is part of the government's drive for the concluding Growth, Transformation Plan (GTP) to increase production capacity from 2,000 MW to 10,000 MW by 2015.


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AfDB grants $70.5m for Tanzania energy sector reform

On Wednesday, the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved a $70.5 million loan to finance the Tanzania Power Sector Reform and Governance Support Programme. The AfDB said in a statement that the objective of the operation is to promote inclusive growth and enhance economic competitiveness through power sector, economic and financial governance reforms. “The loan agreement will be signed next week, on the margins of the bank’s annual meetings in Abidjan. By providing financial resources to the national budget for fiscal year 2014/15, the loan will support the implementation of the government’s reform agenda", the AfDB said.


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Ethiopia Inaugurates Wind Farm With 153 MWs Featured

Addis Ababa — Adama II Wind Farm, which is capable of generating 153 megawatts electricity, was inaugurated yesterday. This input would increase the 171 MWs electric power obtained from wind to 324 MWs. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn said the country is striving to be among the few countries competing in the sector by strengthening its activities in generating renewable energy. In the project were involved, Adama Science and Technology and Mekele universities. The government is also ready to seriously involve universities in other similar projects that the country would undertake, the premier said. He pointed out that the production of big machinery would be carried out locally since the power generation will be huge in the future.


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IRENA report: Djibouti to reach 100% renewable energy by 2020

On Monday, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) released a report which claims that developing Djibouti’s significant renewable energy resources will allow the country to reach its goal of sourcing 100% of its energy from renewables by 2020.The ‘Djibouti Renewables Readiness Assessment’ report identifies that the country’s energy transition would come mainly from geothermal, wind, and solar resources, as well as strengthening the existing interconnection with the Ethiopian grid, which currently delivers 65% of Djibouti’s electricity needs. Adnan Z. Amin, director-general of IRENA, said: “The development of local renewable resources would provide an answer for Djibouti’s energy access, energy security and employment needs." “The falling costs of renewable energy offers an opportunity for Djibouti to rethink its energy strategy, develop policies and build institutions that would create jobs, bring power to those currently without and deliver more reliable electricity services, all through clean, sustainable energy.”


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Ethiopia: Renewable Energy Sector Integrating Academic Institutions With Dev't Organizations sector

The expansion of renewable wind powered generation in addition to supplying power to the grid, could create opportunities for scientific endeavours to local universities engaged in scientific and technological researches.At the opening ceremony of the commencement of Adama II Wind Power Generation, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desallegn yesterday said that, scientific researchers from Adama and Mekele Universities delivered their responsibilities on electro-mechanical consultation work for the realization of the Adama II Wind Farm which is to produce 153 mega watt of power.He further noted that, as the nation strides for development, research institutions cannot afford to do things with the business as usual attitude; rather they must fully engage on research that underpin development and the Farm can be taken as an eye opening project.According to Hailemariam, the Adama Wind Project could be taken as the tip of the iceberg in indicating how theory can be transformed in to practice for graduate and under graduate students and how such practice must continue to be sustained. Until now, hundreds of students from higher learning institutions are working as practitioners and consultants.


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Ethiopia: Renewable Energy Sector Integrating Academic Institutions With Dev't Organizations sector

The expansion of renewable wind powered generation in addition to supplying power to the grid, could create opportunities for scientific endeavours to local universities engaged in scientific and technological researches.At the opening ceremony of the commencement of Adama II Wind Power Generation, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desallegn yesterday said that, scientific researchers from Adama and Mekele Universities delivered their responsibilities on electro-mechanical consultation work for the realization of the Adama II Wind Farm which is to produce 153 mega watt of power.He further noted that, as the nation strides for development, research institutions cannot afford to do things with the business as usual attitude; rather they must fully engage on research that underpin development and the Farm can be taken as an eye opening project.According to Hailemariam, the Adama Wind Project could be taken as the tip of the iceberg in indicating how theory can be transformed in to practice for graduate and under graduate students and how such practice must continue to be sustained. Until now, hundreds of students from higher learning institutions are working as practitioners and consultants.


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AfDB report: Opportunities abound in Mali's growing renewable energy sector

The government of Mali aims to increase the share of renewable energy to 25% alongside a target for rural electrification of 61% by 2033 and is working to make investment in the sector more attractive.The African Development Bank (AfDB) has published a new report on Mali and the country’s current inroads in renewable energy as well as opportunities for scaling-up the sector.Renewable Energy in Africa: Mali Country Profile, published in partnership with the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and the government of Mali, is the first in a series on Africa.The report highlights the growing possibilities in bridging the West African country’s electrification gap, which stands at a 55% and 15% electrification rate for the urban and rural populations, respectively.According to the AfDB, opportunities abound to develop the country’s solar, hydro, biomass and wind resources, which are currently underutilized. The report points out, for instance, that Mali has the capacity to be one of the largest solar-producing nations in the world with its seven to 10 hours of sunlight per day year-round. In addition, only 250 MW of a potential 1 GW of energy has been developed from harnessing the power of the Niger and Senegal Rivers.


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Namibia: Solar Plant Opens At Omaruru

Omburu Solar PV Park - a solar plant by French and Namibian investors - was opened on Wednesday at Omaruru in the Erongo region.Managing director of NamPower, Paulinus Shilamba said the plant by Innosun Energy Holdings is the first independent power producer (IPP) to set up a photovoltaic power plant in Namibia. Innosun was formed in 2008, with Black Diamond Investment as a local shareholder."The 4,5 MW solar power plant is a clear testimony of the fact that IPPs can work in Namibia and NamPower is more than willing to support and enter into power purchase agreements with IPPs," he said.The power from the plant will be sold to Nampower under an agreement to last 25 years."Even on a small scale, the 4,5 MW Omburu Solar Pv plant will relieve the pressure from the national electricity grid," he said.He said the plant was a positive step in realising the aim of generating 10% of installed generation capacity from renewable energy as per the country's renewable energy policy.


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Zimbabwe: Byo West Electrification Project Launched

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) Holdings last week launched a US$10m Bulawayo West electrification programme which has so far seen the electrification of 700 houses in Emganwini and Mbundane suburbs in the country's second largest city at a cost of over US$400 000.Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution and Transmission Company (ZETDC) has already started constructing an 88/11KV bulk supply substation to cater for those suburbs, with the electrification project being carried out in phases over the next three years."It has not been possible for the utility to provide electricity infrastructure to new residential projects timely," said Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, while commissioning the project."This situation is quite retrogressive as it inhibits socio-economic growth and gives families hard times as they seek alternative sources of energy for basic needs such as cooking and lighting."Over 100 000 households in urban areas across Zimbabwe have no access to electricity owing to unavailability of infrastructure."I therefore urge local indigenous companies to take part in these electrification projects," said Mphoko.


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The startup that's powering rural Africa with affordable, smart microgrids

The startup that's powering rural Africa with affordable, smart microgridsPowerhive offers hardware and software for smarter microgrids, and is successfully providing villages all over Kenya with solar electricity, battery storage, and real-time response. More than a century after the lightbulb was invented, 1.3 billion people worldwide or 18% of the global population and 22% of those living in developing countries still lack access to electricity. About 97% of those people live in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia,according to the International Energy Agency's 2014 World Energy Outlook report.It's a sad statistic, but it presents a huge opportunity for renewable energy especially in Africa and Asia. The price of solar panels has decreased, battery storage is well on its way to being affordable, technology is getting smarter, and we are all becoming more connected to one another and the devices that power our lives.Microgrids, which are small scale, efficient energy grids, incorporate all of those innovations, and they can be a key solution to one of the world's biggest problems.


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Africa: Key Africa Power Summit Opens in Cape Town

Thousands of attendees from around the globe have converged in South Africa for the annual African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa to explore measures of securing the future development of the continent’s power and water industries.The event, said to be the biggest such gathering in the sectors in the continent, has resumed at the Cape Town International Conference Centre, where it will run until Thursday.Scheduled to attract some 5 000 attendees, the event will feature 250 exhibitors, 190 speakers, eight conferences, free technical as well as three high-profile plenary sessions.An awards dinner scheduled for Wednesday evening is among the highlights of the 15th edition of the African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa as is the Utility CEO Forum that executives from countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Ghana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe will attend.According to organisers, it is the only African forum where C-level executives from Africa's leading utilities come together to discuss pressing topics within the industry and to accelerate cross-border collaboration, development plans and the advancement of regional centres of excellence throughout Africa.


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Nigeria: FG - 10MW Katsina Wind-Powered Plant for Commissioning in June

The 10 megawatts (mw) Katsina State wind-powered plant is currently at 98 percent completion level and it will be ready for commissioning in June, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Amb. Godknows Igali, has said.Igali, speaking in an exclusive interview with Daily Trust, said that the test running of the facility has since begun, with five out of the thirty-seven turbines successfully operated.Igali said that government was committed to ensuring the smooth running of this pilot scheme, adding that plans were afoot to replicate it in the Northern region where wind velocity is high.He said that the harnessing of wind resource was an integral part of the newly approved national policy on sustainable energy and energy efficiency.It would be recalled that the delay experienced in the completion of the Katsina Wind-Power Project was occasioned by the ugly incident of kidnapping of a France national who was in-charge of the project and the need to subsequently engage another French company to complete the project.He explained that the wind-farm was only one component of the renewable energy programme of the federal government.


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Kenya Power bags $10m for power infrastructure upgrades

In East Africa, publicly listed electric utility Kenya Power has secured a $10 million loan from United Bank for Africa, Kenya, as part of a five-year syndicated agreement to finance energy infrastructure in the country.Kenya Power’s CEO Dr Ben Chumo said the funds will propel the upgrading of power infrastructure forward, including planned electricity projects set out for various parts of the country, local media report.Chumo said: “Timely completion of these capital intensive projects is critical in ensuring long-term viability of Kenya Power business as well as in making the country an attractive investment destination."The utility intends to refurbish aged transmission lines with ones that have a larger capacity, upgrade its existing substations, build 37 new substations, and install new equipment on the power grid.The work forms part of Kenya’s plan to add an additional 5,000MW to the grid by 2017, said Isaac Mwige, managing director of United Bank for Africa, commenting on the approval of the loan.


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Nigerian Government approves draft policy on renewable energy

Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the draft of National Policy on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency for the country.The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, told journalists after the weekly meeting of the FEC on Wednesday in Abuja that the country was blessed with hydro, solar, wind and other sources of energy, hence the need for a policy for renewable energy.He explained that the policy would promote increased access to electricity by Nigerians and improve energy mix as well as energy security.According to him, the policy will promote energy efficiency, promote clean environment as well as create jobs for the nation’s teeming youths.


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Africa: Renewables Gaining Ground

"A key feature of 2014 was the continuing spread of renewable energy to new markets. Investment in developing countries, at $131.3 billion, was up 36% on the previous year and came the closest ever to overhauling the total for developed economies, at $138.9 billion, up just 3% on the year. Indonesia, Chile, Mexico, Kenya, South Africa and Turkey were all in the billion-dollar-plus club in 2014 in terms of investment in renewables." - UNEP / Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from two recent reports, one on Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment, from UNEP and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and the other from Carbon Tracker Initiative, laying out the economic imperative even for fossil-fuel companies themselves to begin a transition to less carbon-intensive investments or risk enormous losses in "stranded assets."These rapidly accelerating trends are affecting the relative costs of fossil-fuel and renewable energy, both globally and in Africa, with renewables gaining ground despite the current predominance of the fossil-fuel industry.


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Egypt signs MoUs worth $500m under feed in tariff programme

In North Africa, Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy last week signed seven Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) under the government’s feed in tariff (FIT) scheme for the generation of 320MW from solar and wind projects.The MoUs, with an estimated value of $500 million, were signed with five companies from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for the generation of 220MW of solar and 100W of wind.All seven projects are located on government land, with solar projects to be located in Binban in the Ar Riyāḑ Province in Saudi Arabia and Aswan, a city in the South of Egypt. The wind farms will be developed in Zafarana on the Gulf of Suez.The agreements were signed last week at the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) Trade Mission in Cairo where an estimated 150 international and local key energy stakeholders were in attendance.


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Rural electrification: US joint venture to deliver off-grid power


California-based power technology venture Powerhive announced that its off-grid metering and control solutions division has completed two years of field testing in Kenya, East Africa.With plans to expand its coverage to over 200,000 households in Kenya, Powerhive has leveraged four pilot projects to determine the effectiveness of micro-grid deployments in areas that do not have direct access to conventional electricity, such as Kisii Province where 90% of the population live off grid.The pilot deployments have generated a total of 80kW, which has provided electricity to 1,500 people across four rural villages.The increase in power supply has enabled the community to begin entrepreneurial activities such as maize milling, welding, incubating chickens and hair styling, according to Powerhive,Christopher Hornor, CEO of Powerhive, commented: “Powerhive’s technology and data-driven approach to micro-grid development and operations will enable the formation of a new asset class. It will enable us to cost-effectively reach tens of millions of people in rural villages unserved by grids while offering strong risk-weighted returns to investors."


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Mozambique to Further Promote Renewable Energy


Mozambique is to receive a grant of 740,000 US dollars to pay for technical assistance to develop a feed-in tariff system for small and medium sized renewable energy projects.According a press release from the African Development Bank (ADB), the grant will come from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), a body set up with funds from the governments of Denmark, the United States and the United Kingdom, and hosted and managed by the ADB.Under the scheme, the government will set up standardised power purchase agreements, procedures for grid connectivity and investor guidelines for prospective developers.SEFA Coordinator Joao Duarte Cunha stated, “this SEFA project will play a key role in unlocking investments in small-scale renewables, particularly in rural areas where needs are greatest. This will certainly improve energy access for households and businesses while reducing dependence from large-scale hydro and upcoming coal and gas projects”.


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EU-private sector fund to invest $60m in off-grid sub-Saharan Africa


The European Union has announced that it will partner with Paris-based private equity firm Astor Capital Partners to invest in small energy companies across sub-Saharan Africa.The EU-backed Electricity Access Ventures Fund, which will be directed by Astor Capital Partners, will invest an estimated $60 million in 20 small businesses over a five-year period, the EU Observer reported.The fund, which is sponsored by Schneider Electric, will make equity investments in small and medium-sized businesses focused on supplying power and related services through power generation systems such as solar home devices and micro-generation infrastructures - generally off-grid, energy distribution, the newspaper explained.The Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank, which relies on capital paid in by the EU’s 28 governments, will boost the fund’s capital by $10.87 million for projects aimed at providing electricity access to 1 million people. Investment opportunity is seen in small emerging businesses in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and eventually west Africa.Other investors include the French development agency and UK-based Commonwealth Development Corporation.


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Ethiopia: Fentalle to Benefit From Hydroelectric Power Technology


A project that aimed at enhancing local electric power capacity by using small hydro power plant at Fentalle irrigation scheme has almost seen completion of preparation to install the 1st ULH-MHP (Ultra-Low Head Micro Hydroelectric power Technology) at Enkule Village.Speaking at the handing over ceremony, UNIDO Energy and Climate Change Branch Director, Dr. Pradeep Monga, said that the project is part of UNIDO initiative at the regional as well as global level to promote access to renewable energy.According to him, upon completion the project will have a positive impact on social and economic life of the community. The technology is applied to bring about sustainable development by promoting agro-industrial development and create value chain with other sectors," he said.Rural electrification is one of the targets of UNIDO. In this regard, the project is expected to support Ethiopian rural electrification effort, he added. On his part, UNIDO Regional Director, Jean B. Bakole, said that the mini hydroplant is part of UNIDO mission to support Ethiopian endeavour to Growth and Transformation Plan.


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Solar power: China-Kenya training centre launches in Nairobi


In the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, Chinese and Kenyan investors have launched a technology transfer and training centre to promote the assembly of solar power lighting systems to meet the growing demand for green energy technology in the East African country.The China-Kenya Solid State Lighting Technology Transfer Centre, based in an industrial park near Nairobi, is set to spur the growth of a home-grown solar industry in the country, reported Taiwan-based news portal Want China Times.“Our partnership with a Chinese firm will facilitate the establishment of a local assembly plant for solar products. The new centre will expose Kenyan technicians to the latest solar solutions,” said Maina Maringa, director at Sunyale Africa, which launched the centre in partnership with a Beijing-based company.


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Namibia: Huge Potential in Funding Power Projects


Development Bank of Namibia CEO Martin Inkumbi said this week that the current prospects for electricity in Namibia, and in the Southern African Development Community Power Pool indicate that new challenges and opportunities are emerging.He said in addition to the estimated current 224 MW shortfall in local generation capacity, rising to an estimated 250 MW shortfall after August 2016, there is an obvious opportunity to contribute to the stability of the SADC region through development of excess generation capacity.Early this month, NamPower managing director Paulinus Shilamba announced an array of local generation initiatives.Inkumbi said the opportunities will be harnessed with direct strategic intervention, through development of new infrastructure, rehabilitation of existing infrastructure and Demand Side Management (DSM).Among the projects are the 250 MW Erongo power station, the rehabilitation of the Van Eck power station in Windhoek, the rehabilitation of Ruacana, development of the Baynes hydropower scheme in 2024, commissioning of 30 MW of solar generation capacity, and acquisition of 70 MW of electricity generated from renewable resources, by independent power producers (IPPs)."Parallel to this, the DSM is expecting to create more economical usage for households, and expansion of transmission capacity are also envisaged," he said.


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France ramps up investment into Uganda energy sector to $55m


French international development agency Agence Française de Développement (AFD) has committed to more than double its funding into the Ugandan energy sector.AFD’s country representative Virginie Leroy said the institution is allocating $55 million to Uganda’s electrification project, up from $21 million in the period to 2013. Leroy said: “As a development agency, we have a specific interest in improving people’s access to the grid. The rate of access in Uganda is one of the lowest in East Africa and within Africa, especially in rural areas.”“As you know, when people get electricity, they won’t cut forests. This question of access to energy is really linked to climate issues. Since the population [in Uganda] keeps on growing, we decided in 2014 to commit jointly with KFW [a German development bank] $48 million to build the Muzizi hydro power plant,” Leroy added.The Observer reported that financial data captured in the AFD 2014 report, from 2009 to 2013, totalled $139 million, which was largely allocated to the water and sanitation sector.


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Rural electrification: 500 Kenyan Schools connect to grid


In Kenya, the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) has connected 500 public primary schools in Siaya county to the national electricity grid as part of achieving the government’s vision of electrifying all primary schools by 2030.REA chief manager Ephantus Kamweru said that the authority will commission the $4 million project in Akom Primary School, Rarieda, on Saturday, the Star reported on Monday.According to Kamweru, out of the total 659 public primary schools in Siaya, 569 have already been connected to the national electricity grid.The Star reported that the installation work for the remaining 90 primary schools was underway.Kamweru added that power has also been distributed to various trading centres, health facilities and water supply systems, to facilitate the 2030 vision.“As we electrify all public schools and health facilities we also intend to cut installation costs by bringing closer electricity poles to the community,” Kamweru said.


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Geothermal energy: New online tool maps geo potential


The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have launched a free online tool to help project developers explore the potential of geothermal sites around the world.According to IRENA, the new technique uses Global Bouguer and Free Air Gravity Anomaly Maps, which enable users to gauge geothermal potential at minimum risk and reduced cost.Henning Wuester, director of IRENA’s Knowledge, Policy and Finance Centre, said: “These maps can help make a strong business case for geothermal development where none existed before.”“In doing so, the tool provides a short-cut for lengthy and costly explorations and unlocks the potential of geothermal energy as a reliable and clean contribution to the world’s energy mix”, Wuester added.


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Ethiopia: Electric Power Projects Create About 50,000 Jobs


Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) disclosed that the electric power generation projects under construction have created close to 50,000 permanent and temporary jobs. The EEP also said these projects that would increase the power supply of the country fivefold and were contributing to skill and knowledge transfer. They would increase the electric generation capability of the country from the current 2,268 MW to 10,000 MW.The EEP External Relations Head, Mesikir Negash said that the jobs were created under the programs for rural electrification, electric generation, and transmission and distribution stations. 8,500 of the jobs were created in relation to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam; Gilgel Gibe III created 6,500 jobs, and the Genale Dawa Dam another 1,100 jobs. Another 22,000 jobs came from the rural electrification program. The Head of EEP external relations also revealed that the performance of the projects currently ranged from the 42% completion of the GERD, to 90% with Gilgel Gibe III in the final stage of completion and ready to start generating power during the coming Ethiopian rainy season.


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Egypt secures $28m for transformer power station


The Egyptian Electricity Ministry signed a $28 million deal to construct a transformer power station in the Suez Canal region.The project aims to support the country’s increased power demand during the summer months, said Ahmed Hanafi, head of the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company.The transformer project will be funded by the European Union’s European Investment bank.In February 2015, government approved a new law privatising the electricity production, transmission and distribution sectors, which reduces the state’s role in the power sector. The unbundled entities will be seen as independent from each other to ensure a competitive market.In addition to the restructuring of the electricity sector, government secured deals earlier in the year to integrate nuclear, wind, solar and coal into the country’s energy mix while in the process of finalising a 10-year plan that will see an additional 70GW added to the country’s electricity grid. The breakdown includes 8GW from coal and an additional 8GW from renewable energy sources.


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