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Uganda to Tap Into Mini-grid Potential

Uganda, which relies on hydropower for up to 84% for its electricity generation, is now exploring the option of scaling up mini-grids, both grid-connected and off-grid systems in a bid to achieve at least 26% rural electrification rate with at least 1.4 million home connections by 2022. The rural electrification plan gives priority to renewable energy mini-grid systems. However, the manager in charge of off-grid renewable energy at the state-owned Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Mr, Benon Bena, said faces several challenges that are being addressed by the Ministry of Energy in partnership with Uganda’s development partners and the private sector. The government has shifted focus to mini-grids, especially off-grid systems because Uganda, like many sub-Saharan Africa countries, has scattered settlements, which limit the number of people that can effectively be reached by the national grid.The delay to expand the national grids has on the other hand created a perfect opportunity for off-grid systems such as PV-hybrid (with diesel, small hydro, biomass or wind), PV-hybrid with batteries and PV only with battery systems in boosting access to electricity.

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East Africa: Lamu, Tana River to Benefit From Sh15.9b Solar Power Project

Lamu and Tana River are among 14 energy "underserved" counties set to benefit from a Sh15.9 billion solar power project this year. The Kenya-Off-grid Solar Access Project, which is fully funded by the World Bank, seeks to connect 430,000 off-grid households in the 14 counties. The project's main target is to increase access to energy services in all the specific underserved counties. Lamu and Tana River counties would have 46,695 homes covered with solar power. The project, also intends to ensure 15 secondary schools and 121 Level 2 and 3 health clinics in Lamu and Tana River counties get solar power. 18 county ward administrators and assistant county commissioners offices are among the beneficiaries of the solar power connections in the two counties. 95 solar pumping systems are also expected to be established in the region. The project also intends to provide solar power to the water sector so that places where residents rely on generators to pump water will be replaced with solar power. A place like Kiwayu in Lamu East where the county has a water project powered by a diesel engine will now be substituted with solar which is cheaper. The project, once complete, will make water more accessible to our communities

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Africa: EU, French Agency Launch Africa’s Renewable Energy Project

In order to meet Africa’s constantly increasing energy requirements, support must be provided for mass development of the renewable energy technologies – especially solar energy – that will play such a key role over the coming years, given the recent drop in prices and the emergence of new innovative business models. The parties launched the project today in Geneva Switzerland at the sideline of the African CEO Forum. The EU’s electrification funding initiative, “ElectriFI”, helps to harness and stimulate private sector investment to enhance access to renewable energy. More specifically, it focuses on poorly-served rural populations and regions that suffer from an unreliable electricity service. AFD Group has secured €24 million from the fund to deploy the African Renewable Energy Scale-Up (ARE Scale Up) facility. With the help of the European Union, AFD Group will use this lending facility to partner the early-stage development of innovative electrification projects. While priority will be given to solar energy projects, other technologies (biomass, mini-hydro, etc.) will also be considered. ARE Scale-Up has been designed with a view to unlocking synergies between AFD and its private sector financing subsidiary, Proparco, and rallying stakeholders in both the public and private sectors. Of the €24 million allocation secured from the EU fund

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Ethiopia: Investing in Energy - Promising Development

In order to meet the rising demand of electricity, Ethiopia has continued cultivating its immense potential of renewable energy sources such as hydro power, wind, solar energy and geothermal energy. The nation is the source of several river basins that are helpful to develop electric power- clean power generation. For instance, the Nile, the longest river in the world, gets about 85 per cent of its waters from the Blue Nile which originates from Ethiopia. There are also huge potentials of non-renewable energy resources such as natural gas and coal energy in the nation.The increasing demand of power to commensurate economic growth the country has been pursuing necessitates high investment in the energy sector. Hence, the nation has been working aggressively to increase the power supply reliability and generate foreign currency. It has set the target to reach the generation capacity 17, 208 MW at the end of the second Growth Transformation Plan (GTP-II). As the journey to this target, 4,828 MW from hydro power, 324 MW from wind power, 50 MW from urban solid wastes, 252 MW from sugar factories, 7 MW from geothermal energy, 120 MW from biomass and 87 MW emergency generation, in total 5,670 MW generation capacity was planned at the end of 2008 E.C.

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Morocco, Here comes the Sun: Solar Power Finance for the 21st Century

Solar power, along with other renewables, needs better access to finance if it is to meet its potential as a facilitator of decarbonisation and climate change mitigation. But in the 21st century, how are governments and financial institutions approaching the financial challenge of supporting solar energy growth worldwide? Solar power, along with onshore and offshore wind, is one of the most mature and promising renewable energy sources available. And because solar photovoltaic (PV) panels work well in small off-grid applications as well as medium-sized and larger projects, it is also particularly well-suited to the decarbonisation efforts of developing countries, many of which have access to ample reliable solar resources. But as with any green energy source, access to finance for new projects is essential to push solar adoption to new heights, as recognised in a recent report published in January by trade association SolarPower Europe.There will always be some households and businesses with enough spare cash to be able to self-fund solar PV projects,” the report noted. “But finance is what will allow solar to be accessible to a maximum number of power consumers and application segments if sufficiently attractive business models and projects can be put forward.

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Mali to Receive US$25mn Loan to Build Solar Photovoltaic Plant

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Board of Directors has approved a concessional loan of US$25mn to fund the Segou Solar PV Project, which is set to be Mali’s first utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant. The project will be funded by the Program for Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP) of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), with co-financing from the AfDB (US$8.4mn) and International Finance Corporation (US$8.4mn). The project consists of the design, construction, and operations of a 33 MW Power Plant. The transformational project will lead to a direct increase in the country’s installed capacity from a renewable resource and will generate 52.7 GWh annually (approximately 10 per cent of the current generation capacity) over 25 years for a lifetime output of 1,316.75 GWh. Introducing utility-scale solar PV as an energy source will enable Mali to harness its abundant solar energy potential, diversify the country’s energy mix, and increase access to cleaner energy for its citizens. The project’s specific business model is a potential energy game-changer for Mali and indeed for all of West Africa. The project is a demonstration of the significant role that concessional climate finance can play in mitigating project specific risks and in addressing barriers that would otherwise hinder private sector involvement in renewable energy projects.

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Kenya, Africa’s Green Energy Challenge: Mega Projects, Off-Grid or Somewhere in Between?

A 310-megawatt wind farm sprouting up in a remote, barren landscape near Lake Turkana in northern Kenya has the clean energy world buzzing — and for good reason. Africa’s largest wind farm, with 365 towering turbines, is creating more than 500 stable jobs in an impoverished area where goat herding is often the only work available. It will boost Kenya’s electric grid capacity by about 15 percent, at a far lower cost than the imported oil the local utility now uses. And when it begins producing juice next year, it will signal to investors and companies that big clean energy projects like this are viable in sub-Saharan Africa. “The impact we’re having makes me feel quite proud, frankly,” says Phylip Leferink, general manager of Lake Turkana Wind Power, who was all smiles when I met with him because the 142nd turbine had just been installed. Megaprojects like these are deeply important for solving sub-Saharan Africa’s colossal energy access challenges at the pace governments there want. But they are not the complete answer.

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Morocco: How Morocco tapped into Africa's Renewable Energy Potential

Providing reliable, affordable and sustainable access to energy has become a core focus of the international development community and is the seventh goal of the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Roughly 1.2 billion people, or 17 percent of the global population, are energy poor, meaning that they have no access to electricity. Meanwhile, more than 2.7 billion people, primarily in developing Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, rely on fuelwood and other traditional biomass sources for cooking. Morocco’s experience with solar power offers key lessons for policymakers elsewhere in Africa who are seeking a robust pathway for addressing energy access challenges.Electricity plays an essential role in advancing social and economic development goals. Yet across Africa, an estimated 600 million people still lack energy access. In 38 of the 49 sub-Saharan African countries, at least half of the population lives without electricity. The region’s overall electrification rate is about 35 percent, with large disparities between urban (63 percent electricity access) and rural populations (19 percent access).

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Nigeria: Green Energy Tech on the Rise

The National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) has declared that in partnership with an indigenous technology firm, Tido Tech International, they are planning to establish a national climate innovation centre, aimed at advancing green energy technology in the west African country. Local media THISDAY cited a statement from NAPTIN’s acting director general, Ahmed Nagode, confirming that a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of the climate innovation centre was recently signed between the two companies. It is reported that the main objective for the establishment of the centre is to foster a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) framework in the promotion of green energy technology in Nigeria.both parties would identify key stakeholders that could work with it in the establishment and effective operation of the centre, clearly define the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in the project, undertake a feasibility study on the operations of the centre with a view to identify a suitable business model for its operation, as well as identify sources of funds for the operation of the centre

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Mali to Receive $25 Million Concessional Loan to Build Utility-Scale Solar Photovoltaic Plant and Transform the West African Energy Market

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Board of Directors has approved a senior concessional loan of $25 million to fund the Segou Solar PV Project, Mali's first utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant. The project, one of the first in Sub-Saharan Africa, consists of the design, construction and operations of a 33 MW Power Plant. The transformational project will lead to a direct increase in the country's installed capacity from a renewable resource and will generate 52.7 GWh annually (approximately 10% of the current generation capacity) over 25 years for a lifetime output of 1,316.75 GWh. The project will be funded by the Program for Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP) of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), with co-financing from the AfDB (US $8.4 million) and International Finance Corporation (US $8.4 million).

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Algeria's Clean Energy: Huge Potential, Huge Ambition

Algeria is known for its oil and gas, but take a quick look at a world map, and you’ll see that its mountains and Mediterranean coastline mean huge wind energy potential. Add in its large surface area and desert topography, and the country enjoys huge solar energy potential as well. In fact, Algeria’s wind resources are estimated very large due to the size of the country with an estimated capacity of 35 THW per year, also the Mediterranean North is characterized by a coastline of 1200 km coastline and a mountainous field with microclimates, what gives the giving the country a high potential of Wind development.In addition, Algeria has the largest solar field in the world and the largest capacity of the entire Mediterranean basin, with a territory composed of 86% of the Saharan desert, 2000 hours of average annual sunshine. The energy generated by solar power would represent 5000 times the Algerian consumption of electricity.

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Gambia: AfDB’s SEFA to Support The Gambia’s Energy Growth

The African Development Bank (AfDB), as part of the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), approved a $995,000 grant for the development of renewable energy in The Gambia. The funds will assist The Gambia in facilitating private investment in green mini-grids through the creation of an enabling policy. It will support the preparation of appropriate policy and regulatory framework, develop technical standards and guidelines, carry out feasibility studies and structure a tender process to attract the most suitable investors, according to the AfDB. At this time of transition, we are pleased about assisting The Gambia in attracting investments into clean energy mini-grids. These will be key to providing energy to all rural households and businesses, thus laying the foundations for sustainable economic development.

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Tanzania: AFD to Fund SMEs in Tanzania

Tanzanian small and medium-sized (SMEs) will see a credit line of $12 million from the French Development Agency (AFD). The AFD is providing the funding for projects that involve renewable energies and energy efficiency. This partnership with the Confederation of Industries of Tanzania (CTI) is part of the agency's Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Finance (Sunref) program. The funds will be channeled through banks in the country and those banks will aid AFD in identifying projects eligible for the program.The project will also provide technical and institutional capacity building, including on legal and regulatory issues for the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, PURA, Gambia’s regulator, and NAWEC its national power utility.

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South Africa: Solar energy saves costs in South African retail sector

Johannesburg-based Vukile Property Fund has stated that through dedicated energy efficiency projects, it has saved nearly 3 million kWh of electricity, equivalent to over ZAR3 million ($231,000) in costs. The Property Fund owns a direct retail-focused portfolio in South Africa and an indirect portfolio of Real Estate Investment Trust. CEO of Vukile Property Fund, Laurence Rapp, stated that energy efficiency has been an emphasis across the company’s retail-focused portfolio, because of the multiple benefits it provides. According to a company’s press release the firm has retrofitted 800 light fittings while upgrading its buildings.The release further stated that the corporation has also installed solar photovoltaic (PV) panels at its properties. The installations have the capacity to generate 1.274MW of solar energy, generating around 2,089MWh annually.

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Uganda is set to increase renewable energy projects

The Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Norwegian power company, W. Giertsen Energy Solutions for the development of renewable energy projects.Under the MoU, renewable energy projects (including solar power plants, solar water pumping systems, and hydro-solar hybrid power plants) will be implemented specifically for rural areas by having off-grid and mini-grid systems, the Monitor reported. In this regard, UEGCL will also work with the Rural Electrification Agency in some of these rural projects.The partnership will also explore the option of having pilot off-grid solar solutions targeting mainly community facilities such as health care centres and schools. On completion of a successful pilot project, the idea could be sold to government and rolled out under different national programmes, media reported.

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Africa: World Bank Report puts Focus on Africa and Sustainable Energy Needs

A world Bank report on sustainable energy finds that South Africa is among the world’s emerging leaders on renewable energy and access, but much of sub-Saharan Africa lags in developing the policies and regulatory framework to build a sustainable energy futureThe RISE (Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy) report is the first of its kind in grading 111 nations on three main areas of energy access, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. It is designed to be a helpful tool for governments and policy specialists to improve access to sustainable energy. The report was produced as a contribution to the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.As many as 40 percent of Sub-Saharan African countries in the RISE report have shown limited attention to the policies needed to accelerate energy access, the authors note. Exceptions include Kenya, which has a strong policy framework, as well as Tanzania and Uganda.

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Africa: Turning Sunshine to Energy ‘More Possible, Less Expensive’ Than Ever

A “solar revolution” is coming to Africa, comparable in scale and importance to the rapid surge in mobile phone use on the continent two decades ago, predicts the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency. Fast-dropping costs for solar power, combined with plenty of sun and a huge need for electricity on a continent where many are still without it, means solar has huge potential in Africa. Africa’s solar potential is enormous. The continent gets 117 per cent more sunshine than Germany, which today has the highest installed solar power capacity, It has never been more possible and less expensive for Africa to realise this potential.both grid-connected solar power and off-grid solar energy now offer cost-competitive means to meet rising energy needs and bring electricity to the 600 million Africans who currently lack access. Innovations, including better transmission and storage for solar power, and new payment systems, also mean using more solar power in Africa could boost economies and create jobs for millions of people across the continent.

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Zambia: World Bank’s Scaling Solar brings power to Zambians

Building on previous success, the government of Zambia has signed agreements for a second mandate with Scaling Solar, a programme that is spearheaded by the World Bank.The international financing institution announced that the winning developers and relevant Zambian government agencies are in the process of concluding their agreements, which are expected to be finalised in May 2017.The Bank stated that on Tuesday its board of directors approved a package of financing and guarantees for one of the two winning bidders and will review the same for the second winner in the coming weeks.The Scaling Solar programme has been established to help developing countries procure low cost, privately financed solar power.This is Zambia’s second engagement with Scaling Solar and it follows successful auctions held in May 2016 for two solar PV plants of up to 50MW each that attracted some of the world’s top renewable energy developers.

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Zambia: Zuwa Solar’s Bwana Mkubwa Solar PVc

Zuwa Solar Ltd. is constructing an 80–120 MW solar PV power plant, the Bwana Mkubwa Solar PV project, on the surface of old copper ore tailings dams on mines operated by First Quantum Mining and Operations Ltd. in Zambia.The site presents us with a number of advantages with respect to both solar conditions, suitable ground conditions, and proximity to the grid, while also eliminating the need to remove any existing vegetation from the site.The Bwana Mkubwa Solar PV project has been developed using “Smart-from-the-Start” principles. Smart-from-the-start renewable energy development encourages the use of low value and degraded land with the objective of minimizing impacts on wildlife, valuable agricultural lands, or potentially high-value commercial and residential land. Smart-from-the-Start development also emphasizes that solar PV development be constructed as close as possible to load centers in order to minimize the need for significant new transmission grid development as well as to keep losses to a minimum.The Copperbelt Province is Zambia’s most densely populated region that also boasts the country’s largest electrical load due to the mining and industrial development in the area. The Bwana Mkubwa fulfils all the requirements for a Smart-from-the-Start solar PV project.

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Rwanda Sets Record Again - Largest Solar Project in East Africa

Rwanda has done it again; Ignite Power is the largest solar financing company in Rwanda. Rwanda citizens now have the most Affordable Solar Home Systems in Africa, 30% more affordable than Kenya, 40-70% more affordable than any comparable product in Rwanda. IGNITE POWER has the fastest scale up in Africa with a connection rate of close to 250 homes (1,500 people) per day in Rwanda. Rwanda is leapfrogging into the future of energy with such initiatives. Rwanda is not unaccustomed to setting the record in the solar energy sector. In 2015, Rwanda set the record for the largest solar power project in East Africa, with the Rwamagana solar power plant in Aghozo-Shalom village. Although the record was later broken by Uganda's 19 million USD Soroti Solar plant, Rwanda is now back on the lead, with the 38 million USD Ignite Rwanda solar project. In order to fuel its economic growth, Rwanda's target is to substantially increase its energy supply from 190 MW in 2016 to 563MW in 2018. While at the same time increasing access to electrification to 100% of households and public institutions with a combination of 48% on grid and 52% off grid energy supply solutions. The target set out in the Rural Electrification Strategy by the Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA) is to achieve 70 % of electricity access by 2017/2018. Of this, at least 48 per cent of the households will be either connected to the national grid or own an off grid large Solar Home System which is capable of providing the same electricity as the national grid. 22 per cent will own a smaller off grid system consisting of 4 light bulbs, phone charging point and a radio. This initiative is driven by public-private partnerships.

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Nigeria: USAID Supports Renewable Energy Development

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced a grant commitment of $767,512 to support the development of renewable energy in Nigeria. The funds, which are aimed at the development of solar micro grids in 25 communities across the country, were received by a local private company, Community Energy Enterprises Limited (CESEL).Power Africa and United State Trade Development (USTDA) will witness and announce their support at the MoU signing as this project is an example of Power Africa support for the addition of 60 million new electricity connections for African residential consumers. Power Africa, a US-government-led initiative, will provide funding support to the CESEL for a feasibility study that would assess the rollout of 25 solar microgrids in rural and peri-urban communities across Nigeria totaling up to 10MW and connecting over 10,000 households. The benefiting communities include those that are completely off-grid and those that have had no access to electricity for more than 10 to 15 years.The communities include Brass in Bayelsa State, Magboro in Ogun State, Ilaje and Igbokoda in Ondo State.

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South Africa Amongst Nations Taking Lead in Clean Energy: World Bank

South Africa is one of a range of developing countries that have emerged as leaders in the global race to switch to sustainable energy by 2030 according to the World Bank.Some 40 percent of 111 countries surveyed by the World Bank had strong policies to improve people's access to reliable and affordable energy, make industries and homes more energy efficient, and increase countries' use of renewable energy.They include China, India, Vietnam, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey, which have emerged as leaders alongside developed countries.But richer developed countries must do far more to promote energy efficiency or global warming will continue longer with serious consequences.We are in a race against time to reach our 2030 energy goals and to get there we will need a lot of investment and a lot of money - both private and public.The energy goals are enshrined in a set of international sustainable development goals (SDGs) agreed in 2015 to curb poverty and end hunger.Giving people access to power creates jobs, improves healthcare and education, and makes communities safer to live in. The energy goals also underpin the 2015 Paris climate change agreement to keep global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by reducing emissions.

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Ugandan Off-Grid Solar, Low-Cost Internet Access Poised for a Growth Spurt

Uganda has joined the ranks of Sub-Saharan national governments launching ambitious off-grid solar power campaigns. In addition to the anticipated, broad-based benefits to society and the environment, the Ugandan government’s recently announced off-grid renewable energy initiative should boost the fortunes of local, entreprenuerial solar start-ups, such as ARED (African Renewable Energy Distributor) and Village Power. Incorporating solar PV and battery-based energy storage, ARED’s mobile solar kiosks provide low-cost Internet access, mobile phone charging and a growing range of public information services in a growing network of rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Employing a micro-franchise model that only requires payment of a small, one-time fee, qualified franchisees own and operate mobile solar kiosks in partnership with ARED. Having proven its technology, installations are on the rise, which is opening up new business and creating new employment opportunities in rural communities, according to the company.

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Benin Turns to Biomass

In conjunction with the UNDP, the government of Benin will implement a biomass project to generate power. The initiative, which also encompasses the development of isolated mini-grids for the distribution of energy produced, is part of the national policy to mitigate the impacts of climate change. This project will build on significant private sector investment in the installation of four gasification plants with a total capacity of 4 MW. These four pilot centers will initially generate 76,651 MWh, a production that will stabilize thereafter around 24,498 MWh. The UNDP will provide the government of Benin support in establishing institutional policy and regulatory framework. The country produces 8 million tons of agricultural waste per year, only 55% of which is used. Through this project, the government plans to upgrade the remaining waste usually left in the fields.

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Kenya to invest $2.1bn in power network

Kenya’s Rural Electrification Authority (REA) said this week that it will invest $2.1 billion in the country’s electricity supply network over the next five years.The money has been earmarked to develop sufficient infrastructure that will connect all the public facilities such as churches, health centres, trading centres, mosques and public primary schools.the connection initiative will extend to include tea buying centres, coffee, factories and processing plants, police posts, water project and boreholes, secondary schools, institutions of higher learning, and vocational training centres. The plan focuses more on the use of renewable energy for provision of electricity to areas that are far away from the national grid. This is expected to enhance industrialization and emergence of cottage industries. since 2006, the energy authority, through its electricity connection programmes, has bumped up access from 30% in 2006 to 70% in 2016.The 2016/17-2020/2021 strategic plan targets to electrify the remaining public facilities and households within their vicinity by June 2018 and then focus on households

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Uganda: Govt to Extend Renewable Energy Countrywide

Government is tapping into renewable energy resources to be able to extend power to off the grid areas in Uganda. Government is setting up renewable energy policy framework which sets policies for increasing uptake of renewable energy in the country. The overall objective of this policy is to make renewable energy an alternative for energy sources. A standardised power purchase agreement for renewable energy projects of up to 20 megawatts to reduce on the transactional costs involved in small projects.The government is also supporting association of renewable energy providers to scale up their work and also address major challenges in the market such as the poor quality of products and build technological capacity. One such provider is Village Power. The firm's solar solutions for rural electrification provides affordable, sustainable and reliable electricity to off-grid areas and facilitate access to clean light, safe water, communication, information, medication and various business opportunities.

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Nigeria: U.S Energy Project Adds 30,000 New Solar Connections in Nigeria

The U.S energy project known as "Power Africa" has added 30,000 new solar connections in Nigeria. The U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington said in a statement in Abuja on Monday. U.S. through its Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) had in 2016 signed an agreement with Lumos, an off-grid electricity provider to enhance provision of solar electricity to homes and small businesses throughout Nigeria. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lumos was also a recipient of catalytic funding through OPIC and the Africa Clean Energy Finance initiative, a partner with the U.S. State Department. The funding provided crucial start-up capital for 30 innovative clean energy projects across 10 African countries. The envoy, accompanied by the Director, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission, Mr Michael Harvey, had during a visit to customers of Lumos in Abuja stressed the need to expand electricity access in Nigeria. Lumos has added 30,000 new solar connections in Nigeria since the beginning of the partnership," he said. Symington, who also visited Beam Clinic and Maternity Centre, Trinity Clinic, and selected retailers, said his visit was to better understand how access to solar energy had improved their businesses and service delivery.

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Uganda: 'Invest in Solar Plants for Sustainable Power'

Businesses that are struggling with high power bills have been advised to begin thinking of investing in solar energy plants to have a cheap and sustainable energy source for future needs. While closing a one-week training course for solar electricity technicians adivced businesses that are run on energy should begin thinking of investing in solar power plants because this is the future source of energy to power them. Solar electricity can power anything run by hydro-electricity. We have seen villages powered using solar electricity, fish factories, Islands, it depends on the investments and this is the future for Uganda.She added that in Europe, countries such as Germany are now switching to wind energy because electricity has proved too costly and for a developing country like Uganda with growing energy demands. Therefore citizens should be looking at exploiting solar energy for heating water, pumping water for irrigation rather than depending on fossil fuels that have adverse effects on the environment.The country is wasting away a cheaper, cleaner and sustainable natural source of energy which majority of Ugandans can benefit from. This is the way to go. The whole country is wasting this natural resource because we do not know how to tap it. We have many solar panels but people are gambling with them. This is a God-given opportunity, but we need more people who have knowledge and skill in solar technology.

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Kenya: REA’s Sh6.4 Billion Electricity Project for Rural Areas to Kick off this Month

The Sh6.42 billion power project for rural areas will begin this month, the Rural Electrification Authority has said. REA is targeting 16 counties where 591 public facilities and 35,460 households will be connected. The project is funded by a $63.465 million (Sh6.42 billion) loan from the Arab Bank for Economic Development, Abu Dhabi Bank for Development, Saudi Fund for Development, OPEC Fund for Development and the Kenyan government.The project is targeting five blocs: the Nyanza-Western, North Rift, South Rift, Mt Kenya, upper and lower Eastern, and Coast.So far five contracts have been awarded for each of the five regions, and now doing the mobilisation. Nothing has started yet but in the process of initiating the project.The authority is currently undertaking another 55 megawatt solar power project to boost power in rural areas. There are two ways to look at electrification in the rural areas. In terms of coverage of consumers, nationally it can be said that about 30 to 40 per cent has been covered. But in terms of public facilities, only about 70 per cent has been covered. The solar project, in the outskirts of Garissa town, will be financed by the China Exim Bank through a soft loan to the Kenyan government. The project is estimated to cost Sh13.8 billion, and will provide cheaper renewable energy to consumers in the rural areas and boost the national grid which generates 2,400 megawatts. In its five-year strategic plan, REA intends to spend Sh208 billion to increase power connections in rural areas.

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Kenya Ranked ‘Least Toxic’ and Lauded for Green Energy

Kenya has been praised for clean air, consumption of energy production and production of renewable energy. These factors make Kenya the world’s “least toxic” country. Kenya was followed by Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Cameroon, Zambia, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda and Somalia had no data.The data was obtained from the International Energy Agency and World Health Organization. Data was used by renewable energy firm The Eco Experts to rank the most toxic countries. Some countries are not mentioned. In a report released in September last year, the International Energy Agency praises Kenya for passing a law requiring new buildings to be fitted with solar water heating systems, improving air quality. Kenya aims to eliminate kerosene use in households by 2022, and improved biomass cook-stoves are already relatively available in urban areas. The report says the most toxic countries include Saudi Arabia, which recorded the world’shighest air pollution. It was followed by Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Turkmenistan, Libya, Kazakhstan, Trinidad andTobago. The report further says Africa faces many developmental and environmental challenges rooted in poverty. This is a source of a grave health burden on the population with air pollution from the energy sector increasingly a leading risk factor, it says. The report has attributed the deaths to outdoor pollution at more than 210 000 per year in 2012 and are less than half of those attributable to household air pollution. But the report notes concentrations of outdoor pollution are low in most areas relative to other world regions. “...but the emissions intensity of new economic activity is high,” it says. The major sources of outdoor air pollution include old and unregulated vehicles, smoke from indoor and outdoor cooking with biomass. Others are dust from dirt roads, coal-fired power generation and unregulated burning of wood and waste.

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