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Zambia: Renewable Energy Tariff Policy Coming

The Government will soon develop a tariff policy for the utilisation of renewable energy resources in the country, a Government energy expert has said. Stakeholders in the energy sector have been calling on Government to come up with attractive and cost-reflective tariffs to attract investors. Acting director of energy in the ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development Arnold Simwaba said Government would come up with a supportive policy and institutional framework to facilitate for the development of the energy sector.

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Namibia: Local Solar Plant to Boost Power

The Minister of Mines and Energy Isak Katali says the Omburu solar power plant will improve the supply of electricity to the entire country and not only to the Erongo Region. It will be the first and largest utility-scale ground-mounted photovoltaic power plant and will feed power into the power grid for 25 years. The 4.5 megawatts plant will produce about 11 025 megawatt-hours of clean and reliable electricity per year. It will feed carbon-free electricity into NamPower's national grid, doing away with the production of 5 537 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

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Kenya: Final Olkaria Project Phase Linked to National Grid

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has connected the Olkaria I unit 5 to the national grid, paving the way for the completion of the 280 Megawatt geothermal power project. The unit, still being tested, is now feeding 52.5MW of electricity to the national grid and marks the final phase in what is seen as a major step toward significantly lowering the cost of electricity in East Africa's largest economy. "On Monday we achieved a major milestone on the 280MW project when unit 5 was synchronized with the national grid. This is the last of the four 70 MW units in the 280 MW geothermal project," KenGen CEO Albert Mugo said. He added that final tests were ongoing to ensure system stability. In essence, it means that we are now close to the full 280 MW even as we continue with load tests for unit 5," Mugo said. The Olkaria 280MW project, the largest of its kind in the world, comprises the 140 MW Olkaria IV and the Olkaria I units 4 and 5, each with a capacity of 70 MW.

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Kenya’s Sh13b wind power project finally hit the skies in Nyandarua

Residents with the support of their leaders, gave consent to the Sh13 billion Kinangop Wind Park (KWP) project.With a capacity of 61 megawatts (MW), the project has been dubbed as the largest wind-powered-development in the country and is part of the plan to meet the promised 5,000MW. The journey has been long and bitter for the locals and investors with area leaders at one time issuing the latter with a 14 day notice to leave the area. Earlier, leaders in Kinangop and Naivasha where the project will be based, had accused the investor of failing to involve the locals.A meeting in June this year ended in disarray with locals claiming the wind turbines could affect their health adding that they were taking away huge tracks of land. The issue of compensation was raised and as the storm continued to brew it split leaders from Nyandarua County down the middle. But after months of negotiation and finger pointing, the pending issues have since been ironed out. The investor has committed already Sh270 million towards community projects as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

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Tanzania: Shot in the Arm for Energy Sector Projects

THE United States government, through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), has promised to provide 78 million US dollars to support the development of high impact investment projects in the energy sector, it was announced yesterday. The agreement was signed on Friday in Dar es Salaam between the Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Ms Saada Mkuya and MCC Vice-President of Compact Operations, Mr Kamran Khan. Speaking during the signing ceremony which was also witnessed by the US Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Mark Childress, Ms Mkuya said the funds will help the country invest in infrastructure, policy, regulatory and institutional reforms in the energy sector. "Through the grant signed today, the country will mobilise consultants to undertake detailed feasibility studies and other preparatory work on project ideas that are most likely to stimulate long-term economic growth," she said. The studies, according to the minister, will allow Tanzania to fully develop projects to reform the power sector, improve the technical, financial and operational performance of the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) and Zanzibar Electricity Corporation (ZECO) and expand access to electric power in rural areas.

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Botswana: Govt Moves to Ensure Sufficient Power Supply

Gaborone — President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama says government is in the process of procuring Independent Power Producers to ensure long term security of power supply. Delivering his 2014 State-of-the Nation Address on Thursday, President Khama said the procurement was for the construction of an additional 300MW from a Brownfield site at Morupule B site, as well as 300MW from a Greenfield site. The construction of these additional power plants, over the next few years, President Khama said would give the country the capacity to ultimately become a net exporter rather than importer of electricity. In his 2008 State of the Nation Address, the President stated that transforming the nation from an energy deficit to surplus nation had become a new development priority. President Khama said, "We knew from the beginning that this was a mammoth task, which along the way was made all the more difficult by the setbacks we continue to suffer in bringing the Morupule B Power Station fully online." However, with Morupule B capable of producing up to 600MW when at full capacity, supplemented by plants at Orapa and Matshelagabedi to meet spikes in demand, he said government should be able to cater for domestic energy needs.

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Tanzania: Over 1,000 to Access Power in Mbinga Next Year

Dodoma — MORE than 1,100 people in Mbinga district, Ruvuma region, will be connected with electricity next year through the Rural Energy Agency (REA), Parliament was told on Tuesday. This was said by Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals, Charles Kitwanga, when responding to a question raised by Gaudence Kayombo (Mbinga North - CCM) who wanted to know about government plans to distribute electricity in all villages in Mbinga district. Responding, Deputy Minister Kitwanga said the government was implementing power projects under the REA Phase 2, adding that areas to benefit from the project in the district included Mbagamao, Dee Paul Secondary, Kigonsera, Kitanda, Kigonsera Mission, Lusonga, Mkumbi, Utiri, Mkumbi mission, Mkako, Kihaha, Masumuni and Matarawe. He said the project was being implemented under the LTL project, which started in October, last year, and was expected to be completed in June 2015 at a total cost of 4.59bn/-. Elaborating, he said the project involved construction of an 80-kilometre, 33-kilowatt power line and installation of 17 transformers. Meanwhile, Tumbe legislator Rashid Ali Abdallah has asked the government to explain when it would increase the percentage of power access to ordinary Tanzanians.

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Rwanda: Govt Gets Rwf4.3 Billion to Scale Up Electricity Access

The Government of Rwanda and the Kingdom of Netherlands yesterday signed €5 million (about Rwf4.3bn) to finance the third Energy Access and Roll out Programme (EARP3). The money will help connect hundreds of households to reliable and cost effective electricity services, Claver Gatete, Minister for Finance and Economic planning said during the signing ceremony in Kigali yesterday. Priority will also be given to public institutions including schools, health centres and administration units. Gatete said access to electricity is one of the priority areas that government has identified under the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS2). "This support is expected to provide 6,500 new connections that will scale up the electrification of households, public institutions and administrative offices," Gatete said. The project is set to be completed by April 30 2015, Gatete added. The ambassador of Netherlands to Rwanda, Leoni Cuelenaere, said access to electricity is very important if Rwanda is to sustain its development ambitions. "Rwanda requires substantial energy to keep the pace of Development and attract more private sector led investments," Cuelenaere said.

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Rwanda Calls On Power Investors

Kigali — Rwanda expects to attract more investors to the energy and infrastructure sector after the two-day iPAD Rwanda Power and Infrastructure Investment Forum that took place in Kigali last week writes AGNES BATETA. "iPAD Rwanda aims to develop investment meetings and to demonstrate the proactive nature of Rwanda to develop the sector efficiently and effectively with a clear strategy for success," Jean Bosco Mugiraneza, the CEO Rwanda Energy Group said in a briefing. The Forum brought together investors, project developers, finance houses, construction and planning companies, technology providers from Rwanda, the region and the rest of the world. Talks centred around transforming Rwanda into a dynamic global hub for business, investment and innovation. "This event aims at keeping the number of delegates between 150 and 200 so that dialogue can be achieved in meetings and a focus on only the key companies relevant to the agenda can deliver cornerstone projects," Mugiraneza said.


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Kenya Power Invest Sh96 Million in Kakamega Power Upgrade

Nairobi — Power supply in Kakamega is expected to improve as Kenya Power conducts a massive operation this weekend to rehabilitate power equipment and network serving the County at a cost of Sh96 million. Managing Director Ben Chumo says the exercise will ensure that the electricity network serving Kakamega County is robust and power supply consistent, to support efforts to minimise power outages occasioned by both planned and unplanned outages. Chumo said the Company will replace 620 wooden poles with 60 concrete poles and refurbish 20 distribution transformers in the county.

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Rwanda: Financial Institutions Urged to Invest in Energy Sector

Financial institutions must invest more in the energy sector for Rwanda to realise its energy potential, experts have said. This will not only increase the country's power generation capacity but also lower the cost of power across the country. The experts were speaking during the closing ceremony of the iPAD Rwanda infrastructure and investment forum in Kigali, on Tuesday. According to the experts, banks, insurance and the country's pension fund should play a leading role in financing the energy sector. "The involvement of banks in financing the energy sector is critical given the fact that the sector is capital intensive and requires long term loans. The private sector is ready to invest in the sector for as long as banks are willing to cooperate," Edourd Ndayisaba, the Energy Private Developers vice-chairman, said.

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Rwanda: New Solar Source to Light Homes

A new solar power project dubbed, "Wakawaka virtual grid power," has been launched in the country to boost access to electricity. The system, launched in Kigali on Tuesday by Waka Waka Group, serves to charge mobile phones and supply power for other equipments of low voltage. The first of its kind, the 'Waka Waka' virtual grid power' was developed in 2010. Maurits Groen, the founder and chief executive of Waka Waka, said the solar energy is affordable and will help end reliance on candles, especially by people not connected to electricity grid. I found that over Rwf26 million was being spent each year for candle lights and I came up with the idea to develop an efficient and affordable solar powered light, he said at the launch.

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Rwanda electrifies 50 000 homes through $68 million power project

Rwanda had 50 000 households connect to the national grid for the first time in the Kirehe, Kayonza, Rwamagana, Ngoma, Gatsibo and Nyagatare districts, Venture Africa reported. This success story is owed to the 4 year $68 million power project, implemented by the Rwanda Energy Group who partnered with various private companies. According to Venture Africa, this was revealed at a validation workshop which was focused around the correlation of the country’s socio-economic development and the electrification project. In depth discussions were held around the impacts which the project had on the socio-economic status. Epimak Rutingama, a social economists involved in the impact assessments of the project said that benefits were seen in income generation, health and education. ‘The survey showed that users of electricity were considerably better off than the non-users with regard to their socio-economic status and living conditions. Socio-economic status and living conditions of household heads as measured by different variables appear to be strongly associated with using electricity which resulted in a greater level of satisfaction with their life situation’, Rutingama said. Ventures Africa reported that Odette Uwamariya, Provincial Governor, said that the project increased electrification from 11 percent to 22 percent.

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Kenya: Five Kenyan Firms Win Clean Energy Challenge

Nairobi — Boma Safi Limited, Kitui Industries Limited, Pfoofy Power & Light Limited, SCODE Limited and Sollatek Electronics Kenya Limited are the Kenya winners of the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge. They will each receive a grant of $100,000 (Sh8.9 million) for initiating off-grid solutions that deploy renewable resources and power socio-economic activities. They join a list of 22 winners from Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania who beat a field of nearly 300 entries and will also receive grants of $100,000 each. The Off-Grid Challenge is part of Power Africa, a President Obama initiative to increase access to reliable, affordable, cleaner and more sustainable power in Sub-Saharan Africa. Boma Safi's winning entry was a proposal to use its tested distribution system to roll out five energy hubs in Kenya's rural regions, aggregating sales and increasing the distribution of solar lanterns and efficient cookstove products. Kitui Industries Limited is proposing a "small-scale industrial revolution" by using cotton seeds from local farmers to produce bio-diesel fuel which is then sold along with multipurpose engines at a discount to the surrounding community.

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Kenya: Embu Unveils Mega Wind Power Plans

Embu county has finalised plans to construct one of Kenya's biggest wind-farms. The Sh7 billion (US$78.3m) projects will occupy 72 hectares of land around Kianjiru Hill in Mbeere South sub-county, Embu Governor Nyaga Wambora said. US energy firm, 4 Seasons Wind-power, will finance the project expected to generate 36MW of electricity in the first phase. Governor Wambora said the county government has offered the land for the project, and will in return own at least 10 per cent of the project. "We will increase electricity connection across the county and also create more jobs," he said.

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50 areas across Tanzania to capitalise on geothermal energy potential

With 650MW of potential geothermal capacity, untapped resource deposits have been identified in 50 different areas across Tanzania. The Tanzanian government is considering the exploitation of its abundant geothermal resource as a last solution to ensure sustainable and affordable energy for their country, reported Daily News Tanzania. Assistant Commissioner for Renewable Energy in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Mr Edward Ishengoma, addressed the audience at a two-day geothermal training, saying that the last attempts to slow down the devastating effects of climate change was to embrace renewable energy,

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Rising electricity prices is good news for solar energy users

Amid rising petrol prices and threats of interest rate hikes, there’s one ballooning cost that solar energy users don’t need to worry about: increasing electricity prices. To the dismay of householders and businesses alike, Eskom and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) are in discussions that could result in yet another hike in electricity prices – by as much as 12.69%. While this comes as no surprise, it is still painful news for a country where a constrained grid and unstable energy supply is restraining economic potential.

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Nyabarongo Hydro Power Plant in operation

Monday 27 October -The New Times has revealed that the Nyabarongo hydro power plant in Rwanda has been switched on. The announcement was made at the monthly community work (Umuganda) on Saturday attended by employees of the Ministry of Infrastructure and affiliated agencies. The 28MW project has been feeding back into the national grid since Monday this week. Pratap Chandra Dutta, an engineer at the plant told local media on the weekend that ‘We have enough water to run the turbines … we are set to generate power in a day or two’. Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Energy Group Ltd, Mugiraneza Jean Bosco echoed this by saying that power generation will commence on Monday this week, although the official commissioning will only take place in November. The 28MW project is situated on River Nyabarongo in Mushishiro, where $100 million has been invested since the start of construction in 2009. The Minister of Infrastructure James Musoni, has set October 31st as the deadline for the full 28MW to be fed back into the national grid.

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Africa’s power infrastructure seeks improvement before it can reap any benefit

Sub-Saharan Africa is the proud holder of 7 out of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world. A significant contributor to this positive economic growth and development in Mozambique, Nigeria, DRC, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia is increasing access to electricity. However, with these relevant economies facing rapid increasing populations and poor infrastructures are a hindrance on continued progress. “The problem of inadequate electricity supply is multifaceted: it includes a lack of generating capacity, rundown existing stock and limited transmission and distribution infrastructure,” according to the International Energy Agency’s 13 October Africa Energy Outlook report said AFKInsider reporter. The report revealed that South Africa was in possession of half of the current grid-based power. “In conversations with the major vendors of infrastructure, they say that they focus primarily on that Southern African area because that’s where the business is,” James McCray, senior research analyst with Navigant Research told AFKInsider.

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ERA licenses 9 renewable energy projects

An additional 9 renewable electricity plants, some under the Global Energy Transfer for Feed-in-Tarrifs (GET-FiT) programme, have been licensed to generate 132.7MW to boost Uganda’s transformation into an upper middle class country. Eight power plants had been shortlisted under the first phase of the programme. Cumulatively, the projects will supply 108.5MW to the national grid as they go online starting in 2015 to 2018. Uganda needs to generate 42, 000 MW of electricity from all hydro sources, the petroleum and gas sources, geo-thermal and nuclear sources using uranium to become an upper middle income country by 2040. “With the growing demand for electricity, estimated at between 10 –12% per annum in the short to medium term, Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) will continue to focus the regulatory thrust on expansion of generation capacity,” Dr. Benon Mutambi, the ERA boss told reporters at the ERA house during an electricity sector update. Donors such as Norway, the European Union, UK’s DFID, Germany and the World Bank have committed €70m (about sh245b) as guarantee scheme to enhance the bankability of the power plants.

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Rural communities benefit from off-grid wind joint venture

Earlier this week ABB and Vestas announced their joint venture towards electrifying off-grid communities in rural Kenya. The announcement was made at the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) in Copenhagen where the project will operate as part of Vesta’s Wind for Prosperity Initiative. The combination of both companies’ expertise will head power technologies and grid integration solutions for rural off-grid in communities in Kenya. The agreement stipulates that Vestas wind turbines together with ABB micro grid power stabilisation will have the ability to create reliable generation systems which are conducive to areas with poor infrastructures. “We are proud to partner in the Wind for Prosperity development programme” said Claudio Facchin, head of ABB’s Power Systems division. The Wind for Prosperity Initiative is a commercial business model designed to provide affordable and reliable wind generated power to remote communities. These prices are said to be lower than the popular diesel option.

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Gambia: Training On Energy Reforms Underway

The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Momodou Njie on Tuesday presided over the opening ceremony of a two-week training on 'energy reforms' and training of technicians on solar PV systems at the Regional Education Office in Kanifing. Speaking to participants at the opening, PS Njie stated that, the training could not have come at a better time, when solar technologies are in widespread application throughout the country. According to him, solar is used in homes, schools, health facilities, information, communication and technology centers, as well as in industries. "Solar energy is an important energy resource and renewable for that matter; and as such has been a very vital vehicle for increasing access to energy for many applications. Solar photovoltaic has the advantage of being designed and deployed in different unit sizes to meet the demands of different people in various circumstances," he asserted.

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Solar firm receives $2.5m to light up EA

Uganda-based Dutch solar asset finance firm SolarNow has received $2.5 million from Novastar Ventures and Acumen as equity funding to help promote solar technology in East Africa. Providing a range of modular 50-500 watt solar home systems and direct current appliances through a franchise model to mainly rural customers in Uganda, the Fund will also help the firm expand into Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda next year. READ: New wind, solar technology to boost access to power in region SolarNow chief executive Willem Nolens said the firm plans to focus on fulfilling the growing demands of its customers and expand to underserved areas of the country, as well as into other East African markets. “Our business has high working capital demands. The more we sell, the more money we need,” Mr Nolens said.

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Kenya: President Kenyatta Launches World's Biggest Geothermal Power Plant At Olkaria

Naivasha — -Kenya today set a world record with the commissioning of the largest single geothermal power plant generating 140MW that will reduce the cost of electricity in the country by 30 percent. President Uhuru Kenyatta officially commissioned the Olkaria IV power plant today and oversaw the uploading of the massive power into the national electricity grid. The historic event now opens the path for a reduction in the cost of production of goods which will ultimately lead to a lower cost of living. The increased quantity of geothermal power will lead to lesser dependence on electricity produced using heavy fuel generators in many parts of the country. The reduced use of heavy fuel in generating electricity will reduce the cost of power to consumers by 30 percent in the next month, meaning that a household that used to pay Sh1000 monthly will in the next month start paying Sh700.

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World Bank to earmark $100m rural electricity transformation

A World Bank mission is in the country to put final touches onto the third phase of Electricity for Rural Transformation (ERT III) project, the task team leader has said. “We are perusing through the project proposal. We have visited some parts of the country and our prayer is to have the final decision taken by the end of this mission on October 20,” said Mits Motohashi. Speaking to the New Vision on the sidelines of a send-off dinner for the outgoing task team leader for ERT II, Somin Mukheji at Tamarai restaurant in Kololo, Mits explained that the third phase is expected to cost about $100m. “An indicative project cost of $100m has been proposed and discussed between World Bank and the government of Uganda. It will be the Bank's board of directors to take the final decision. But as a task team leader, I will play my role to present and defend the project for approval,” he noted.

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