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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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Cameroon: Accessing Modern Energy - ECCAS, CEMAC Fine-Tune Regional Policy

High-level energy experts from the ten member countries of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) are currently seeking ways of federating their efforts to maximize enormous energy potentials which it has in view of providing the population with modern energy. They began meeting in Yaounde yesterday October 14 to finalise a regional policy code-named, "ECCAS & CEMAC White Paper: Regional policy for universal access to modern energy services and economic and social development," for its eventual endorsement by the Ministers of Energy of the sub region when they converge on Yaounde next Friday October 17. The document drafted thanks to an initiative of ECCAS and CEMAC with technical and financial support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

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Algeria: New, Renewable Energies, Key for Successful Sustainable Development

Ghardaia — Development of new and renewable energies, considered as key for successful sustainable development in Algeria, was the main theme of the third International seminar on New and Renewable energies Tuesday in Ghardaia (600-km south of Algeria). The participants insisted on the role of renewable energies, especially solar and wind energy, in meeting the needs of populations living in isolated regions, stressing the contribution of such energies to the achievement of harmonious development in the country's south, mainly in Saharan agriculture. Noureddine Yassaa, the manager of the Renewable Energies Development Centre (CDER), stressed the importance of new and renewable energies as a "vital source" for Algeria's energy future, underlining the ambition to reach a large-scale use of clean and renewable energies, instead of fossil energy, and to ensure their availability for everybody, at competitive prices.

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Kenya: Cheaper Energy Could Spur Industrial Revolution

KenGen says it has commissioned 140 megawatts of geothermal energy to be fed into the national power grid. This is part of a 280MW project in four power plants that the company has been putting up and will go a long way to boost the country's installed electricity capacity to over 2,000MW. The company will not stop there. Because the wells it sunk yielded much more power than initially expected, it will put up an additional 70MW, bringing the total to 350MW of geothermal to be newly added to the grid. The net effect of this is that the cost of electricity in the country will gradually reduce as geothermal increasingly becomes the source of electricity consumed, which is considerably cheaper than diesel power plants. However, it is an Expression of Interest notice in the dailies on Thursday that should generate even more excitement. In the EoI, KenGen is seeking to set up industrial parks in Naivasha near its power plants where industries will be fed directly from Ol Karia at considerably cheaper prices.

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22 African innovators access funds for off-grid rural electrification

Four local Tanzanian firms are part of a group of 22 African innovators who have received $400 000 grants from the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) Power Africa Off-grid Energy Challenge: Round II to help enhance rural electrification. At a presentation ceremony held in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday and presided over by Energy and Minerals Minister, Professor Sospeter Muhongo and US African Development Foundation (USADF) President and Chief Executive Officer, Shari Berenbach, the four local firms were among 60 applicants of a Power Africa Off-grid Energy Challenge: Round II Winners. “I congratulate our four local companies and urge them to use the grant fruitfully,” said Prof Muhongo who paid tribute to USA based technology firm, General Electric Inc. and United States Agency for International Development for supporting the initiative. Prof Muhongo said the government has given priority to rural electrification to reduce poverty which is mainly caused by lack of access to electricity.

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Tanzania: Rural Electrification Drive Gets Major Boost

FOUR local firms have received 400,000 U$ (over 600m/-) grants from United States African Development Foundation to help enhance rural electrification. At a presentation ceremony held in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday and presided over by Energy and Minerals Minister, Professor Sospeter Muhongo and USADF President and Chief Executive Officer, Shari Berenbach, the four local firms were among 60 applicants of a Power Africa Off-grid Energy Challenge: Round II Winners. "I congratulate our four local companies and urge them to use the grant fruitfully," said Prof Muhongo who paid tribute to US based technology giant, General Electric Inc and United States Agency for International Development for supporting the initiative. Prof Muhongo said the government has given priority to rural electrification to tame poverty which is mainly caused by lack of energy.

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Sudan, Djibouti and Kenya Set to Benefit From Ethiopia's Power Supply

Addis Ababa — Ethiopia has connected its power grid with Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti in order to supply the countries with cheaper and cleaner hydropower processed electricity. The Ethiopian Electric and Power Corporation (EEPCo) said on Monday that Ethiopia is currently exporting 195 megawatts of electricity to the three neighbouring countries, earning millions of dollars in return. According to the state utility, Ethiopia is currently exporting 100MW of electricity to Sudan, while Djibouti and Kenya are being provided with 35 and 60 MW respectively. As well as creating foreign currency, EEPCo said the power exports will also bolster Ethiopia's economic ties with the three East African nations. Kenya and Sudan are planning to import a total of 400 and 300MW a month of electricity. Ethiopia has earnt around $40 million this year from the export of electricity to Sudan and Djibouti alone.

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Rwanda: Private Sector Should Take the Lead On Energy Production

ONE OF the major concerns cited as an impediment to the realisation of Rwanda's development goals, as spelt out in Vision 2020 and EDPRS II, is the shortage of energy that's badly needed to power the growing economy. Industrialists and the business community in general have decried irregular and low power supply, which is affecting their efficiency and growth. This is a view that government shares which is why it has devised several strategies to help address the problem. While some skeptics doubt the country's ambitious energy projections, the World Bank has given the country a clean bill of health in terms of the capacity to meet the energy targets as envisaged in the medium term projections.

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Africa: Academic Energy Research 'Neglects Needs of the Poor'

Energy research in academic journals is skewed towards big, pricey tech projects and Western scientists' agendas, researchers have said. This means that simpler technologies and social research into behaviour that could empower the poor and address their challenges are being overlooked. This follows a recent ongoing debate on the pages of Nature after Benjamin Sovacool, director of the Centre for Energy Technologies at Aarhus University, Denmark, wrote in July about the results of his study on 15 years of peer-reviewed literature in three leading energy technology and policy journals. Less than 2.2 per cent of those studies investigated human behaviour and energy demand, he found. Another finding was that few energy studies were by developing world researchers, with almost 90 per cent of authors from Europe or North America.

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Tanesco engineers to get Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) training locally

The Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) will cut down the cost of sending its engineers and technicians abroad for training, after the Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA) through its Kipawa Institute of Information and Communication Technology introduced a course in Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). anesco Deputy Director for Hydro-electric Power Generation, Eng. Anthony Mbushi, made the announcement yesterday during the closing ceremony of a one-month training conducted by VETA Kipawa Institute of ICT on PLC to 14 engineers and technicians. He said that for many years, Tanesco has been incurring high expenses of sending its engineers and technicians abroad, especially in Germany and Norway for learning PLC without being aware that the training can be efficiently done by VETA. “The training had been provided by people we have contractual relationship in providing service to our company, as such, they wouldn’t like to give us all the technical skills as they wanted to retain their service to the company,” he said.


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Grid connection delays financial close of South Africa’s renewable energy IPPs

Recent delays in the financial close for the third bid window projects of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) has led to concern. The REIPPP currently has 26 projects that have already been connected to the grid following three bid windows during which more than 60 renewable energy projects were selected to proceed. The concern arises from the fact that financial close has been delayed for the third-bid-window projects due to “grid connection issues”. The preferred bidders were identified in October 2013 and financial close was initially scheduled for 30 July 2014, ahead of the 18 August closing date for submissions under the fourth bid window. However, the Department of Energy subsequently announced that it was finalising a staggered financial close protocol, which should be concluded in November this year.

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Nigeria, 22 Others Get U.S.$2.2 Million Grant to Boost Renewable Energy

Abuja — NIGERIA and 22 other African countries have secured a total grant of $2.2million to boost renewable energy in their respective economies. The fund is under the Power Africa Energy Challenge scheme, which aims to provide electricity access to 20 million households and businesses across Africa. Each country is expected to receive $100,000 each for the power project.. Already, General Electrics, Africa; the United States African Development Foundation (USADF); and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), at weekend, jointly announced the 22 winners that bided for the second round of the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge.

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Tanzania: Millions of Homes to Get Power Next Year

More than 14 million Tanzanians will be connected to the National Grid by June, next year, when most rural village homes in the country get lit up through the ongoing rural electrification project. The Commissioner for Energy and Petroleum Affairs, Mr Hosea Mbise, said that 30 per cent of the country will be connected to the main grid before June, next year. He also said that 50 per cent of Tanzanians (more than 23 million residents) throughout the country, should be enjoying electricity services by 2025. "We are recording steady progress which should be credited to the Rural Energy Agency (REA) efforts whose network of gridlines crisscrossing the country is slowly but surely lighting up Tanzania, especially in the remote parts," added Eng. Hosea.

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Kenya drops fixed tariffs for small power plants

The government is seeking to drop the fixed tariffs offered to investors of small renewable power plants and opt for bidding to lower the cost of wholesale electricity prices, ultimately lowering bills for homes and businesses. The auction system will be a departure from the current scheme where investors in small power plants of less than 50 megawatts are offered a pre-determined price on which they sell their electricity to Kenya Power. The bidding process applies to larger power plants and is line with the government strategy to cut power bills by more than half by 2017. The Energy ministry Wednesday started the search for a consultant to develop auction rules that will guide investors keen on renewable energy. “We are moving from a system where investors had a pre-set tariff to a bidding scheme where the government will deal with an investor offering the lowest tariffs,” said a top official in the Energy ministry. “It is in line with the government aim of reducing consumer tariffs. The target is to lower the bulk tariff to seven US cents (Sh6.22.) per unit.”

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Rwanda to Benefit From Euro Two Billion EU Energy Grant

Rwanda is one of five beneficiaries of a Euro 2 billion grant from the European Union that will be used to woo private investments into sustainable energy projects. The grant was jointly signed yesterday in New York by EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso, President Paul Kagame and heads of state from the other beneficiary countries, including Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia and Togo. Rwanda's portion of the fund, which was unknown by press time, will be managed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and will be reserved for private investors with worthwhile energy development projects. "The grant looks at attracting more investment. Suppose there is a local or foreign company that seeks to invest Euro 2 million in sustainable energy, their project will be assessed and, if approved, the Ministry of Finance will provide a certain percentage of the funds required,"

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Off-grid solar services company acts as mini utility in East Africa

Off-grid energy services company M-Kopa announced this month it has signed up 100,000 households to its mobile phone-enabled solar service and is adding a further 2,500 a week throughout East Africa. The pay-as-you-go model, launched in 2010, allows rural customers access to a solar panel product that taps into cell phone networks for daily or weekly billing cycles, and customer alerts. M-KOPA operates as a tiny utility, aggregating and building out solar projects, said industry analyst Gigaom. In April this year the company had 300 employees, it works with another 700 people — independent entrepreneurs and shop owners — who sell its solar products across Kenya and has a 24-hour customer call center staffed by 100 employees.

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Egypt: Tariff for Electricity Generated By Renewable Energy Announced

Cairo — The cabinet's economic committee has studied and revised the tariffs for electricity generated by renewable energy, Egypt's Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker said on Saturday, announcing the awaited tariff. The tariff was divided into five segments, Shaker said, starting from 84.8 Egyptian piasters (0.12 U.S. dollars) per kilowatt hour for domestic use, reported Reuters. The price of the electricity in the highest segment stood at 102.5 Egyptian piasters per kilowatt hour. This segment will be allocated for projects operated by 20 to 50 megawatt. Shaker said consumer citizens will pay for the percentage of electricity generated from renewable energy from the total amount of electricity generated. The cabinet will annually determine this percentage and it will be added to the monthly electricity bill.

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Gambia: Promoting Renewable Energy for Productive Use in the Gambia

The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), in partnership with the GEF/UNIDO 4 project, has given a new lease of life to the promotion of renewable energy at its Private Sector and Renewable Energy Forum held on Tuesday at the Ocean Bay Red Croc Hotel in Cape Point, Bakau. Launched in The Gambia by the Energy Ministry some two years ago, this four-year project being implemented in The Gambia by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) is a sub-regional exercise being funded from the Global Environment Fund (GEF). This project is deemed especially important as The Gambia, like many other countries in the sub-region, will continue to face enormous problems if an outlet is not found to free the country from depending on excessive use of biomass and imported fossil fuels for energy generation.

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Ethiopia Exporting 170MW Power to Neighboring Countries

The Ethiopian Electric Service (EES), a company leading the service delivery, said the nation is currently exporting 170MW power to neighboring countries. Sudan, Djibouti and Kenya are the three countries being provided with 100MW, 60MW and 10MW of electricity respectively, EES Executive Officer, Biteweded Gebrealif, told Walta Information Center. Ethiopia's current cumulative power generation capacity stands at 2370MW, which according to the officer is enough to meet the national demand. The power disconnection that occurs in the country is not because of power shortage but due to problems in the installation of power carrying grids, he said. The power is being exported at night, a time with no peak power requirements, and on the basis of a program designed not to jeopardize local consumption, he indicated.

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KenGen adds geothermal power to grid

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has added a further 70 megawatts of geothermal power to the national grid, pointing to lower electricity bills from reduced reliance on costly thermal power. This brings to 210MW the total steam power connected to the Kenyan electricity network from the multi-billion shilling Olkaria geothermal project—whose total capacity is 280MW. KenGen added the first batch of 70MW in July and a similar amount in August from the from the Sh115.4 billion ($1.3 billion) Olkaria project billed as Africa’s largest steam development. “We are looking at overall savings of about Sh28 billion per year in fuel cost charges when the final 70MW comes online in November,” said Energy secretary Davies Chirchir.

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Africa: Reliable Energy Critical to Sustainable Development in Africa - UN

Dr Kandeh Yumkela, Special Representative and Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative of the United Nations, said reliable energy was critical to sustainable development in Africa. Yumkela said this on Monday in Abuja at the Bamanga Tukur International Legacy lecture series. According to him, the value of energy on the African continent cannot be underestimated. He said that cheap, affordable and sustainable energy was critical to drive the economy of the African continent. Yumkela stressed the need for good political leadership that would evolve policies to reform energy system across the continent. This, he added, would evolve the right institutions and investment in infrastructure that would be long lasting. He said Africa had lots of energy resources which could be effectively utilised if the right political leadership was in place to evolve corresponding policies.

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