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Local govt asked to participate in alternative energy planning


Ministry of energy officials and experts from GIZ have urged local government leaders to participate in developing affordable and efficient sources of energy at district level to light up districts instead of the long waiting for the central government to do for them what they can do themselves. The experts and energy officials said local governments developing energy sources would increase access to energy by Ugandans. Only 17% of Ugandans have access to electricity with over 90% relying on wood and charcoal for cooking, ironing, lighting and heating.


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Tanzania: Designing Improved Cookstoves for Tanzanians


Improved cookstove designs reduce the use of firewood in rural communities, countering deforestation, soil erosion and food insecurity. They also ensure cleaner combustion than in traditional open-fire cooking, reducing harmful indoor pollution. CHEMA Programme, a Tanzanian NGO that works in the rural Kagera region, develops stoves that are designed to be a good match for available fuel resources and local people's cooking habits. It aims to preserve the environment, produce energy from organic waste and empower women and girls by alleviating their daily tasks.


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Rwanda's first utility scale solar PV plant to be commissioned


The Rwandan government is set to commission the first utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) plant at eastern Rwanda's Rwamagana district in August 2014 The project, with a production capacity of 8.5MW, has commenced testing, stated local reports. Dutch company Gigawatt Global is the developer of the project, while Norwegian firm Scatec Solar has agreed to operate and maintain the plant.


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KenGen eyes 20.4MW from Ngong wind farm


Kenya Electricity Generating Company will increase power output from its Ngong wind farm by 20.4 megawatts following construction of additional turbines financed by the governments of Belgium and Spain. KenGen is currently generating 5.1 megawatts of wind power from the farm that was commissioned in 2008 comprising of six turbines. “We’re fast-tracking renewable energy projects, comprising wind and geothermal as part of government’s target of adding 5,000 megawatts to the national grid by September 2016,” said Albert Mugo, KenGen’s managing director during an inspection tour at the Ngong wind farm, on Thursday.


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Africa: U.S. Debating 'Historic' Support for Off-Grid Electricity in Africa


With half of the U.S. Congress having already acted on the issue, supporters are now hoping that the Senate will follow suit before a major summit takes place here during the first week of August. That event is expected to include heads of state or representatives from as many as 50 African countries. "We could see an energy revolution that looks similar to what happened with mobile phones - leapfrogging centralised systems altogether and moving towards transformative solutions." -- Justin Guay


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Subukia women find bundle of cash in special stoves


Six years after the Ministry of Agriculture introduced energy-saving stove technology in parts of Nakuru, women are counting gains. In Subukia and Gilgil, a group of women whose members have been trained in the technology is now building the stoves at Sh6,000 a piece – which yields a profit of Sh2,000. The group, Rocket Stove Builder, comprises five small-scale farmers “keen on energy-saving technologies”. The women train a dozen people daily on the benefits of the stove, which they say complements other government efforts to conserve forests.


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Kenya: Strathmore University Goes Big On Solar Power Use


Nairobi — "Kenya sits on the Equator making it a country that has the sun the whole year. But it is a paradox because you have less than 2 percent of solar power installations," muses Professor Izael Pereira Da Silva, Director of Energy Research Centre at Strathmore University. The remaining 98 percent of solar installations, he says, are in countries which are outside the sun-belt. So, where lies the problem?


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Gambia: Renewable Energy Course to Be Integrated in Tertiary Institutions in the Gambia Soon


According to Mr Dodou Gaye, GEF-UNIDO project manager, Gambia had limited expertise in Renewable Energy (RE) thus the need to build its RE capacity had also been accepted and mapped out to be achieved through the establishment of RE courses in the tertiary institutions both public and private. The importance of upgrading the knowledge of the regulators for educational and practising entities could not be overemphasised, he said.


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Rwanda: Eastern Province Turns to Cow Dung for Energy


Rural communities in Eastern Province are quickly embracing use of biogas as a way of cutting the cost of fuel for cooking and lighting. The province, with the biggest cattle population in the country, has seen several households install biogas digesters to take advantage of abundant animal waste to produce clean energy. Biogas is a clean, combustible, renewable gas produced from organic waste such as cowdung. It has provided rural women with cleaner and a more sustainable source of energy for cooking all year round.


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Uganda: Exploit Solar to Reduce Energy Deficit


Despite the immense opportunities associated with solar energy, its adoption in Uganda has been relatively slow. Even as the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development prepares to roll out Phase II of the Rural Electrification Programme, which is financed by the World Bank, it is becoming increasingly clear that hydropower is not a viable option. Government needs to look into other sources of energy, especially solar. This is more urgent, considering Uganda's resolve to achieve middle-income status.


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Clean energy firm releases Sh1.75bn for small ventures


Small green energy ventures in Kenya will benefit from a Sh1.75 billion funding by private sector financier Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) that has just announced its third phase of interest-free loans and grants. The fund is targeting 25 small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) with between Sh21.9 million and Sh131.5 million ($1.5 million). The fund, under the Renewable Energy and Adaptation to Climate Technologies (React, Round 3) programme, will be managed by consultancy KPMG and is open to firms from all five East African Community countries for the next two months.


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Tanzania: U.S.$500 Million Set Aside for Rural Power


Dar es Salaam — Tanzanian government is on course to start second phase of supplying electric power to rural areas all over the country following a successful implementation of the first phase. The rural electrification project which is being implemented by the Rural Energy Agency (REA), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Energy and Minerals is expected to spend Tsh850 billion ($512.05 million).


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SACCOs could manage rural electrification

GOVERNMENT wants communities to form savings and credit cooperative societies (SACCOs) to manage electricity distribution following encouraging results from pilot projects, according to a top energy official. Gabriel Hatega, Board member Rural Electrification Agency, said: “We have demonstrated this model in two districts and the results are noticeable, we want more cooperatives to be formed to manage the different power line networks which have been constructed.” Three SACCOs in Bundibugyo, Pader and Kyegegwa districts are managing electricity distribution lines in their respective areas. “We want more cooperatives to manage electricity power networks using the cooperative model,” Hatega explained.


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Gambia: Training of Trainers On Renewable Energy Held

Edward Saja Sanneh, Energy Minister, has said the main objective of GEF/UNIDO project is to develop and promote a market environment that would stimulate investment in renewable energy based mini-grids for productive uses in the rural areas in The Gambia. This is in line with the ministry of energy's policy of providing clean and sustainable energy to all and the government blueprint document, the Programme of Accelerate Growth and Employment (PAGE), which are all geared towards reducing poverty. Minister Sanneh was speaking during the opening ceremony of a five-day training of trainers on renewable energy expert held recently at the GTTI premises by the GEF/UNIDO 4 project in The Gambia.

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Biomass Shift Cementing a Bright Future at Messebo

The Messebo Cement Factory is expecting to table 460 million Br net profit for 2014, with the reports for the last month to be collected after the end of the fiscal year on July 8, 2014. The company is also looking towards cost cuts, with the change of energy source from coal to biomass. The company, the first to shift from petroleum to coal, is already well underway in its 109 million Br energy shift project in favour of biomass from sesame hay – a turnkey project it awarded to APEC, an Austrian company Messebo produces four kinds of cement, including Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC), Portland Pozzolona Cement, (PPC), Portland Limestone Cement (PLC) and Low Heat Cement (LHC). The company sold 2.4 billion Br worth of these products, said Getachew Equbay (Eng.), chief executive officer of the company.


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Namibia: Biofuel Boost for Cement-Maker

Manufacturing cement is energy intensive and can be a burden on the environment. Namibia's Ohorongo Cement plant has come up with an environment-friendly innovative solution with a competitive edge. Blackthorn can grow to as high as seven meters (23 feet) and form impenetrable thickets. But the harvester rips through it, turning the bush into wood chips. They are used for fuel by Ohorongo Cement, Namibia's only cement manufacturer, giving it a potential edge over some of its competitors on the world market. Biofuel accounts for 30 percent of Ohorongo's energy needs; eventually the company wants to raise this figure to 80 percent.


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Electrify Africa bill and energy poverty

An interesting article published by ‘The Breakthrough’, an organisation with the mission to “accelerate the transition to a future where all the world’s inhabitants can enjoy secure, free, and prosperous lives on an ecologically vibrant planet,”. According to the article, lack of electricity in Africa remains one of the biggest barriers to the region’s development and prosperity. About 600 million people living in Africa are considered ‘energy poor’. Energy poverty, a lack of affordable, reliability electricity affects billions worldwide and is not just related to those who are not grid connected, but to whose grid connections are sporadic and unreliable.


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Kenya: REA to Connect Public Institutions Countrywide to Electricity Grid

The Rural Electrification Authority will roll out projects across the 47 counties to connect all public institutions to the electricity grid, according to chairman Simon Gicharu. He said all shopping centers countrywide will also be sup- plied with electricity in the process so as to boost economic expansion. "We will ensure that all public institutions across the country are connected to electricity so that many households can tap power from such institutions nearby," Gicharu told The Star yesterday. "If many households are connected to power in the next few years, we will be assured of job creation for the youth and poverty eradication."


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Tanzania: IPTL Now Generates Power At Full Capacity

THE Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) plant is now generating 100MW, which is its installed capacity and the management is planning to embark on expanding the facility. IPTL/Pan African Power Solutions (PAP) Company Secretary and Chief Counsel, Mr Joseph Makandege, said this while briefing reporters in Dar es Salaam on the progress in implementation of the Company's commitment on power output. "In June 15th this year, IPTL's power generation plant located at Tegeta area, reached its full installed capacity of 100MW.


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Tanzania: In Tanzania's Switch From Firewood to Biogas, Men Step Up and Women Get a Break

Njombe — Aloycia Mndenye has often tried to convince her husband to help her collect firewood in the forest - but her efforts always failed because he considered it a woman's job. So, despite shouldering many responsibilities, Mndenye, a 32-year-old farmer at Lunyanywi village, in the Njombe region in Tanzania's southern highlands, spent two hours every day collecting firewood to meet her family's energy needs. "It was very exhausting, to be honest, I had to go longer distances to get enough stock. Nights are very cold here sometimes (and) the temperature drops to freezing point," she said. But ever since she installed a manure-fed biogas plant two years ago as part of a project supported by Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), there's been a gender shift in responsibility for the family's energy needs.


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Africa: Power Africa Forms U.S. Bridgehead in Hoped for Boom Market

Launched by President Barack Obama in Cape Town one year ago, the Power Africa initiative has been making bold claims about its early successes in a campaign to boost Sub-Saharan Africa's (SSA) installed generation capacity by some 10GW and connect some 20m more homes and businesses to the grid by 2020. Power Africa claims it will make some $7bn available in financial support and loan guarantees from 12 government agencies, led by the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), Overseas Private Sector Investment Corporation and US Trade and Development Agency (TDA). It aims to 'de-risk' projects, to facilitate the inflow of some $15bn in private sector investment into an initial six target countries - Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Liberia and Ghana - although US officials emphasise that all of SSA is equally open to receiving support.


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Africa: Clean Energy Most Cost-Effective


"From off-grid LED lighting to 'Skinny Grids,' we can now provide energy access with a fraction of the amount of power we used to need. More importantly, we can unlock affordable initial interventions - like lighting, mobile phone charging, fans, and TVs plus a small amount of agro processing - to help people get onto the energy ladder today rather than forcing them to wait decades for a grid extension that may never come ... It's important to understand that we aren't just imagining this clean energy market growth - it's already happening." - Justin Guay, Sierra Club According to a new report from the Sierra Club, off-grid renewable energy is not only better for the climate and the environment; it is also more cost-effective in increasing access to electricity.


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Ethiopia's Electric Power Export Growing - Minister


Ethiopia's effort to create power integration in Eastern Africa consolidates its economic benefits and the capacity to generate power, Alemayehu Tegenu, Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister, has said. The Minister said the power integration not only strengthens the relations among the countries, but also increases the foreign currency earning of Ethiopia. As a result, the country has earned over 32 million USD during the past nine months, the minister disclosed. The mega power projects Ethiopia has been building and the growing power demand of the countries in the region shows that the benefits Ethiopia gets from those would grow continuously, Alemayehu elaborated.


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West Africa: Liberia, Others Have Renewable Energy Policies


A representative from the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREE) has remarked that The Gambia, Cape Verde, Ghana, Liberia, Niger and Senegal have specific Renewable Energy (RE) policies in place. Hyancinth Elayo, a Cape Verde national made the disclosure to delegates at the recently concluded 3rd National Renewable Energy (RE) dialogue forum. The two-day synergy with the theme; Policy for Small Scale Renewable Energy Regulation', which was jointly organized by PURA and NARUC, was held at a local hotel in Kololi last week. He said 12 out of the 15 ECOWAS member states refer to Renewable Energy in their Energy Policies or Electricity bills, while three other member states in Cote D'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau and Togo do not address Renewable Energy in their Energy Policies or Electricity Bill.


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Rwanda: Optimism, Hope As Rukarara II Hydro-Power Plant Is Launched


A modern micro-hydropower plant has been inaugurated in the rural Uwinkingi Sector, Nyamagabe District. The 2.2 Megawatt power station is tipped to help improve economic activities and transform the lives of area residents. Rukarara II, whose construction works were started in early 2011, is already connected onto the national grid. The construction of the plant cost Rwf8.9 billion. The construction was funded by the government in partnership with the Belgian Technical cooperation (BTC) and the European Union.


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