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Kenya: Community Project to Help Imenti North Residents Get Cheap Power

About 1,000 residents of Imenti North in Meru County will soon benefit from cheap power after a 320 kilowatt hydroelectric project is complete. The second phase of Ndurumo hydroelectric power project on River Kathita in Thuura, is planned to start in a month's time. The project's chairman Isaiah Riungu said that the community is expecting to receive funding from the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum to start power production. Through funding from the Small Grants Programme, the community has constructed an intake and 320m canal. Once complete, members within a 15km radius will be connected and are expected to pay about Sh3 for every unit of power. Project technical assistant Hosea Mwirabua said the Ministry of Energy has pledged to fund the project to the tune of Sh50 million.

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Zimbabwe: Cabinet Approves U.S $77 Million REA Project

Cabinet has approved the Rural Electrification Agency's (REA) $77 million comprehensive electrification programme, to be undertaken by Indian company, Angelique International Limited. The approval follows recent awarding of the special project tender to Angelique by the State Procurement Board to electrify 144 rural public institutions and grid electrification of 357 public institutions. The programme will also result in the construction of two mini hydro power stations (Manyuchi and Muzoro) with a combined capacity of 2,5 megawatts. Documents at hand show that the urgency of the electrification project was emphasised as a priority area in all four clusters of the Zim-Asset policy that relate to value addition and beneficiation, food security and nutrition, social services and poverty reduction, infrastructure and utilities.

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Renewable Power Shines Bright in Emerging Markets but Mind the Traps as well

The growth prospects for the renewable power industry shine particularly bright in emerging markets but investors should carefully consider the many roadblocks that may trip profitability of projects there. There are three key drivers of renewables development in emerging markets - energy demand to power industrial development and provide access to electricity for increasing share of population; promotion of national resources; and the cost advantages of renewables. Some developing countries, such as Kenya, want to promote renewables as many locals still do not have access to the energy grids. It is far quicker to ensure power using small-scale renewables projects than to build connections to large-scale transmission and distribution networks. Distributed photovoltaics (PV), for example, is constantly gaining popularity in emerging markets, especially India and Africa.

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Tanzania: Moshi School Switches From Firewood Use to Biogas

The 70th anniversary commemoration of the United Nations (UN) has started with good news as one of its agencies has supported a school to abandon completely the use of firewood fuel and switch to the use of biogas in cooking all its meals. Speaking to a UN and Tanzania government delegation at St James Seminary School on Wednesday evening, Vice-Rector of the school, Fr Nicholaus Mtei, said the new project, which was installed with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), had saved the school in terms of money and environmental degradation. Fr Mtei said since the seminary started in 1925 it had been using firewood as its main source of cooking fuel and in recent years it was costing the school about 100,000/- a month for chopping and felling trees around the school area. It was estimated that we were using about 3.9 tonnes of wood every month, equivalent to 64 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The seminary no longer harvests trees for its fuel.

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South Africa: US Firm to Install Clean Power Systems at Mpumalanga Farm

In South Africa, an orphanage and a macadamia nut farm located in eManzana, Mpumalanga, are to soon to be the recipients of a 7kW solar photovoltaic (PV) energy and solar irrigation system. The two clean power systems will be installed and supplied by US-based renewable energy solutions company, GenPro Energy. The two facilities form part of the Spark Foundation South Africa, an initiative founded in 2010 by Native Americans Mitch and Charlotte Hildebrant. The objective of this foundation is to encourage and develop skills within the local workforce as well as providing food sustainability. Former President of Bethesda Christian Broadcasting and an organiser of Hills Alive, Mitch Hildebrant explained: "The [South Africa] government has many problems with their power grid and has now implemented rolling and mandatory power outages for two to three hours each day.

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Kenya: Tea Agency to Pump Sh4.8 Billion in Power Plants

Kenya Tea Development Agency plans to construct four hydro power plants at a cost of Sh4.8 billion to meet electricity demand at some of its factories. The plants will cumulatively generate 10.9 megawatts of electricity that will power some of its tea factories while the excess will be sold to the government. Speaking during a ground breaking event at North Mathioya, Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) chief executive officer, Mr Lerionka Tiampati, the company is keen on ensuring that its factories in tea growing regions have access to alternative energy to help cut operation costs. Energy costs account for about 30 per cent of the operation costs in tea factories with electricity alone accounting for 17 per cent. With the new hydro plants, the factory is set to cut operation costs and additionally earn money from selling excess power.

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Egypt: Gearing for Smart Meter Roll Out Plan

Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy will soon be implementing a smart meter roll out plan, which is estimated to cost a total of $7.6 billion. According to ministry spokesperson, Mohamed al-Yamani, the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy will install four million smart meters annually until 2024. Yamani said that the ministry has actioned a transition plan, which will see an existing 30 million electric meters convert to smart meters over a 10-year period. Yamani said: “The plan aims to transfer the 30 million normal traditional electric meters to smart ones, noting that the consumers increase by a million yearly, to reach a total of 40 million consumers in 10 years.”

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Kenya Cuts Uganda Power Imports By More Than 50 Percent

Kenya has cut electricity imports from Uganda by more than half following the injection of additional geothermal power into the national grid. Data from the country's Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) indicates that Kenya imported 27.97 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) from the neighbouring countries including Ethiopia in the first half of the year, down from 57.91 million kWh in same period last year, a 51.7 per cent drop. Uganda, which is pushing for increased trade with Kenya, accounted for 95 per cent of Kenya's power imports or 26.49 million kWh. Power bought from Uganda in the six months to June dropped by 30.86 million kWh, translating to losses of hundreds of millions. Kenya had last year stepped up imports from Uganda to meet growing need for power driven by rising demand from industrialists and increased customer connections, particularly in rural areas.

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Hydropower: Uganda Signs $77m Construction Agreement

In East Africa, a joint financial agreement for the amount of $77 million, for the construction of the Muzizi hydropower project has been signed between the Government of Uganda, the Germany Development Bank (KfW) and the French Development Agency. Falling under the mutual reliance initiative, the trio will contribute $23 million, $4 million and $50 million respectively. Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) managing director Harisson Mutekanga said that UEGCL is responsible for the development of the 44.7MW hydropower project. The Hydropower project is expected to reach completion in 2019 and provide power to over 60,000 local households. According to Mutekanga, the consultancies responsible for the project design, which will cover the districts of Kibaale, Kyenjojo, Kabarole, and Ntoroko, will cost $4 million.

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Uganda Partners With China and Germany for Transmission Project

The Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL) signed a $6 million contract with German-based Intec Gopa International Energy Consultants to supervise the construction of three high voltage transmission lines. The transmission lines will connect from the Karuma Hydro Power Project (Karuma HPP), which will supply power to the country. China's Sinohydro Corporation Limited is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the Karuma project and will be constructing the three high voltage transmission lines. The total cost of the three high voltage transmission lines is estimated at $290 million. Managing director of UETCL, Erias Kiyemba said the consultancy company would be responsible for supervising the construction of 400 kilovolts double circuit transmission line, stretching 264km from Karuma HPP switch yard to Kawanda substation. In addition, the company will oversee 132 kilovolts double circuit transmission line stretching 80km from Karuma to Lira substation and 400 kilovolts double circuit transmission line of 60km from Karuma to Olwiyo substation in Nwoya district.

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Africa: Homegrown Experts to Tap Into Africa's 20,000 Mw Geothermal Energy Thanks to New Excellence Centre

With an estimated potential of 20,000 MW, geothermal energy could provide an answer to the continent's energy shortage. Around 80 delegates, including representatives of 13 African countries, gathered in Nairobi to explore the feasibility of establishing the Africa Geothermal Centre of Excellence (AGCE), which would enhance the continent's institutional and infrastructural capacities, and create a critical mass of geothermal scientists and engineers. Currently, around 600 million people in Africa lack access to grid electricity, with the figure expected to rise to 700 million by 2030. The continent is increasingly looking to alternative energy sources to bridge that gap. With an estimated potential of 20,000 MW, geothermal energy could provide an answer to the continent's energy shortage. This immense potential remains largely untapped, as the continent faces challenges in terms of skilled human resources and development of technological know-how.

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Off-Grid Energy Challenge: $1.1m Awarded to African Clean Power Solution Firms

In Africa, 11 companies across Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia have been awarded a combined $1.1 million to expand their renewable energy solutions to communities who are currently living off-grid. The grants, which have been awarded by GE Africa in conjunction with the US African Development Foundation (USADF) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will see each winner receive up to $100,000, Power Africa said in a statement. The awards were announced during President Obama’s visit to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi. This competition forms part of Obama’s Power Africa initiative, which aims to expand access to electricity across sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 600 million people still lack basic access to electricity. Power Africa’s Off-Grid Energy Challenge, which is part of the Beyond the Grid Initiative and funded by GE Africa, USADF and USAID, drives alternative solutions to increasing access to reliable, sustainable and affordable electricity.

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Climate Change Mitigation in Kenyan Tea Factory

In East Africa, of the 66 tea factories under the management of the Kenya Tea Development Authority, only one has implemented climate change practices, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reported. The Makomboki Tea Factory has switched from using firewood for fuel to briquettes, which is made of biomass by-products that would otherwise be treated as waste. The briquettes made of macadamia, cashew and rice husks are mixed with sawdust to make a cheaper, greener form of fuel for the factory’s boilers. Factory manager John Gitau said: "We have not used a single cubic meter of firewood in the last six months and we are excited about that." Funding for the Makomboki briquette production plant was provided by the European Commission and British retailer Marks & Spencer, which buys tea from the factory.

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Can Renewable Energy Drive Economic Development?

In South Africa, large-scale renewables facilities are going up in places that haven’t previously enjoyed that many economic opportunities. “If developing countries are to lift their people out of poverty they need reliable and affordable sources of energy,” says Justin Wimbush, Arup’s renewable energy leader in South Africa. “Fossil fuels are increasingly being challenged by cost-effective renewables in a world that requires greater self-sufficiency.”Despite the fact that South Africa has extremely good wind and solar resources, as recently as 2010 the public power utility Eskom generated more than 90% of the country’s electricity from coal. South Africa’s experiences of shifting towards renewable energy could point the way for others in a continent where centralised, state-owned power utilities have been the norm, but have tended to limit rather than enable much needed economic and societal growth.

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Tanzania Mapping Its Renewable Energy Resources

Tanzania is mapping its potential to generate energy from renewable sources as part of an effort to bridge the nation's electricity deficit. The project, which began in 2013, will reveal the areas of the country most suited to wind, hydropower and solar energy generation. The $3.4 million project is expected to be completed by 2018. "The objective is to map resources at the country level rather than carry out site-specific resource assessment," said Nicholas Keyes, communications officer for the World Bank's energy sector management assistance programme (ESMAP), which is funding and running the project.

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Africa: GE, USADF and USAID Announce 11 New Awards to African Energy Entrepreneurs for U.S.$1.1 Million

GE Africa, the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have announced that an additional $1.1 million has been awarded to 11 companies across Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia. These 11 winners will each receive a grant of up to $100,000 to expand their renewable energy solutions and reach those currently not served by the grid. The awards were announced during President Obama's trip to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, as part of his continued commitment to Power Africa and providing underserved communities access to energy.

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German Development Bank Boosting Investment Support for Renewables in Africa

Germany’s government-owned KfW development bank group plans to establish a specific line of credit “to fund renewable and energy-efficient projects” in Africa, according to the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). Afreximbank said KfW’s pledge, aimed at encouraging the development of solar and wind power projects in particular, followed its commitment to continue support for trade finance business in the region through Afreximbank. Both institutions “agreed to work together in an environmentally sustainable manner by targeting an initial pipeline of $1 billion commencing in 2016”, Afreximbank said. The announcement came after Frankfurt-based KfW’s investment and development subsidiary, DEG, said it was financing Berlin-based solar company Mobisol in its expansion in East Africa. DEG said it had also taken an unspecified “financial stake” in Mobisol, which supplies off-grid solar systems to homes in rural areas.

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How Makeni Project is Transforming Sierra Leone

Many foreign companies have acquired large tracts of land for biofuel crop plantations. Sugarcane has drawn particular attention, as it is a commercially proven, tropical bioenergy crop with significant potential in much of the region. Welcoming governments add to the appeal; foreign direct investment a record US$80 billion in 2014 is crucial to African economies, and bioenergy is seen as a way to attract FDI, boost exports and drive rural development. From 2006 to 2011, bioethanol production in Africa nearly doubled, to 135,000 m3 about 60% of it for export. Agricultural-based bioenergy investments can bring large infusions of capital, infrastructure and technology into rural areas. In most of rural Africa, small-scale farming still predominates, and these projects are often the communities' first encounter with large-scale agro-industry.

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Wind Power: Kenya Power Signs PPA for Clean Energy

In East Africa, Kenya Power and Kipeto Power Limited signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the development of a 100MW wind power project in Oldonyo Narok near Kiserian, Kajiado County. Kipeto Power will be responsible for the construction, ownership, operation and maintenance of the wind power project, Kenya Power said in a statement. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the US state’s development finance institution, has committed $233 million towards the wind power project. Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum, Henry Rotich said: “The PPA is an important step forward in enabling the country meet its development goals utilising renewable power that is cost effective and environmentally friendly.”

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Morocco Reveals New Solar Power Generation Strategy

In North Africa, Morocco has announced the launch of a new solar power programme with the first phase having a generation capacity of 25MW. There is some concern around the size of the project and its inability to attract investment from large companies. Head of the Africa division at UK law firm Eversheds, Boris Martor said: “The problem is that in terms of capacity, it’s only of interest for some bidders.” According to Abu Dhabi media, The National, the first phase of the three phase Tafilalet solar photovoltaic project is a lot smaller than other solar power projects in Morrocco, which total more than 100MW. According to Martor, feasibility-studies, development and negotiation costs are the same regardless of scale. Martor added: “[Developers] have to find financing for a project that might be smaller, but in terms of development, would cost the same as a larger project.” According to the UK law firm, the utility has not yet disclosed the locations for phase one and two of the solar power project however, revealed that the second phase would comprise of eight solar power plants and phase three was expected to have two to four solar power plants.

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Tanzanian Firm Secures US Grant for Mini-Grid Project

On Thursday, one of Tanzania’s largest renewable power solutions firm Rex Energy, secured a grant from the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) for a mini-grid project in the Lake Victoria Islands, which is shared between neighbouring countries Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. With only 1% of the Island’s population having access to electricity, the grant supports the development of a full-scale business model and financing plan necessary to implement a hybrid solar photovoltaic (PV) mini-grid with a total generation capacity of 2MW, the USTDA said in a statement. USTDA Director Leocadia I. Zak said: “In support of the goals of President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, which seeks to increase energy access and promote private sector investment in sub-Saharan Africa, USTDA is pleased to formalise our partnership with Rex Energy. “This project is a great example of USTDA’s work to link U.S. industry expertise with the advancement of clean energy in Tanzania.” MRIGlobal an independent organisation performing contract research for government and industry, will be providing all technical support for the project.

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Nedbank Introduces New Financial Model to Move Agriculture Sector to Clean Power

On Wednesday, Nedbank a funder of sustainable ventures in renewable energy, infrastructure and agriculture, announced a new funding model to assist and encourage South African farmers to integrate renewable energy and energy efficient projects into their agricultural businesses. With power outages fast becoming a long-term reality for South African’s matched with electricity tariff increases, the agriculture sector has felt the impact on their bottom lines. According to Nedbank, the need for back-up power as a result of load shedding has dipped into farming profit margins and threatens the survival of some sectors of the agriculture industry, Engineering news reported. The financial model is offered by Nedbank’s Commercial Renewable Energy Financing, which according to Nedbank is tailored to both existing and new clients that want to adapt their business models to include a cleaner and reliable source of power. Nedbank head of business banking strategic initiatives Mark Boshoff said: “By forming strategic partnerships with key stakeholders in the agricultural sector, we have gained a deep understanding of the challenges farmers face in implementing more sustainable practices on their running farms.” In addition to providing creditworthy clients extended payback periods, the new financial model offers a 7% rebate on the loan through Nedbank’s partnership with the French Development Agency, subject to availability, Engineering news reported.

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Southern Africa: Namibia to Host Regional Centre for Renewable Power

Energy ministers in the region approved the establishment of a SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) on Friday and agreed that Namibia should host the centre. The decision was taken during the 34th meeting of SADC energy ministers in Johannesburg, which was attended by Deputy Mines and Energy Minister, Kornelia Shilunga, as well as other high-ranking ministry officials. The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and Austrian Development Agency (ADA) have contributed towards the establishment of SACREEE. While considering the power supply and demand situation in the region, SADC ministers noted with concern the current capacity shortfall of 8,247 MW. They also noted that in 2014 the mainland member states commissioned power-generation capacity amounting to only 1,999 MW. The electricity stemmed from Angola (150 MW), South Africa (1654 MW), Mozambique (150 MW) and Zambia (245 MW). The power was sourced from rehabilitation and new projects - while about 83 per cent of that installed capacity was generated from renewable resources, such as solar, wind and hydropower.

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Zambia: Kabompo Hydro Power Station Nears Completion

Construction of the US$220 million Kabompo hydro power station in North-Western Province by Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) is near completion. It has been revealed that 85 per cent of the pre commencement works and 65 per cent on the 33/11KV substation have so far been done. CEC Public Relations Officer Muntanga Sibalwa confirmed the development in an interview yesterday and that about $31.6 million had so far been spent on the project this year. "The overall progress on the 33/11 KV substation construction project has advanced to 65 per cent completion. The pre-commencement works under the early works agreement have advanced to 65 per cent completion," she said. Ms Sibalwa said once completed, the project is expected to contribute to the alleviation of the national power deficit and provide an emergency power supply source especially for the mines.

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Rwanda Signs MoU for Hydropower Training and Technical Skills

The People's Republic of China has agreed to boost its support to Rwanda's energy sector through the Hangzhou Regional Centre for Small Hydropower (HRC), which conducts training, R&D, consultation, design and information dissemination for the developing countries. Li Yaohong, the economic and commercial counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Kigali, said China will continue to contribute to developing the energy sector in Rwanda. He stated that: "Hydropower plays an important role in China's economy; we hope our experience would help Rwanda." The three-week training, organised by Rwanda Energy Group (REG) in partnership with the Hangzhou Regional Centre and the Chinese ministry of commerce, facilitated at least 25 engineers from REG acquiring skills in hydropower and rural electrification. Emmanuel Kamanzi, the managing director of the Energy Development Corporation Limited (EDCL ltd), said the training was a ‘golden opportunity for them’ and thanked the Chinese government for its support. Kamanzi explained: "We used to send [a] few people to foreign countries for such trainings since 2001 and it was costly. With the help of [the] Chinese government, we [have] increased the number of trainees.

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US Solar Firm Pursues Renewable Energy Development in Kenya

US-based Solar Wind Energy Tower (SWET), the inventor of large Solar Wind Downdraft Tower structures capable of producing abundant, inexpensive electricity, has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Elperta Industries in Nairobi, to finance and develop its thermal downdraft Towers Facilities in Kenya. Under the MOU, Elperta will finance, construct, and operate the Tower Facility, subject to obtaining necessary consents and approvals and other pre-development activity. Potential suitable sites as well as offtake customers in the region have already been identified. The agreement signed between the parties in mid-July sets specific terms for SWET to receive development fees and royalties from Tower project(s) in Kenya, while allowing Elperta a 6 month exclusivity period to fully evaluate and vet a specific site identified for the first Tower Facility. Each facility is estimated to have an installed capacity of up to 1,250 megawatts

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Zambia: ERB Waives Duty On Solar Products

The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has waived duty and fees for solar products to encourage more investors to enter the energy sector and help reduce the power deficit. ERB Northern Region Manager Allen Polito says the move is aimed at increasing the capacity of private companies to contribute to the production and supply of energy in the country. Polito says the fees and duty on these products were a hindrance to investors. And Energy Permanent Secretary Reuben Zulu has directed all government departments and the newly created districts to install energy serving bulbs in all their buildings. Zulu says installing energy saving lights will help reduce pressure on the national grid. Meanwhile, the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions -ZCTU- has proposed to government to prioritize funding to the energy sector in the 2016 national budget. ZCTU Secretary General Cosmos Mukuka says government should focus on investing in alternative sources of energy like solar and wind energy in next year's budget .

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