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Kenya’s Lake Turkana wind power project is set to record history as Africa’s first largest wind farm, which is aiming to feed 310MW of clean power into national grid. In what is said to be the largest wind farm on the continent, developers of Lake Turkana wind power project has declared having installed 155 of 365 turbines in the past six months, local media The Exchange reported. Phylip Leferink, the general manager of the project, said: “By managing to hoist these turbines within the stipulated time, the team has not only achieved a technological feat, but also navigated through a logistical challenge of getting all the turbines here in Loiyangalani, which is 1,200km from the port of Mombasa.” “This is a clear demonstration that we are on course to launching the largest wind farm in Africa on time,” Leferink added.
The project, which uses the Firefly solar technology that has been designed by US experts, is expected to benefit more than 480 families in the village. Mr John Mashaka, the founder of Mashaka Foundation, says Manila villagers and some neighboring villages will benefit the project free of charge. Manila is one of many villages in the country, which are either not connected to the country's power grid, or lack uninterrupted power supply. Residents in the village have never had access to electricity since its formation, according to Mr Mashaka. He says that although it is very expensive to light up the whole village, they are committed to provide wananchi in the area with solar panels and other equipment that use Firefly solar technology. He says the technology was designed after the US experts visited the village and other parts of the country to establish suitable solar technology that can be used in rural areas.
Sahel and Littoral regions in Senegal, who currently live completely off-grid, will be the beneficiaries of solar generated electricity. The Solar Village Project (SVP), a local non-profit organisation seeking to deploy and manage solar power projects in India and Senegal, is embarking on its second round of rollouts, Solar Business Hub reported. The rollouts will electrify seven villages in the respected regions, who have no access to modern forms of power. Solar Business Hub reported that SVP successfully completed its first project in Senegal in the winter of 2016, the Cisse Masse Solar Village Project. Joe Kselman, Solar Village Project director and founder, recently spoke of this project: “The lessons learned from our initial project in the Cisse Masse Village will undoubtedly guide us during this second round of projects. “The Cisse Masse project demonstrated that the same approach we have used in India, distributing individual solar power systems to every home, works in Senegal too.” He added: “We’re excited to expand our reach for this next round of projects in Senegal, assisting seven villages with a total population of approximately 3,000 people.”
The Federal Government in conjunction with the German Energy Partnership Project yesterday in Ibadan, Oyo State, formally flagged off its independent power supply initiative to all the 40 federal universities in the country with the ground-breaking ceremony of a 10-megawatts solar power plant at the University of Ibadan. Performing the ceremony on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari at the Ajibode Extension location of the University of Ibadan, the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Gozie Anwukah described the event as "an historic occasion in the life of the university and of our nation," adding that it was in line with the national energy policy. "That the project is commencing at the University of Ibadan should not surprise anyone. This is where the story of university education in Nigeria started," the minister stated, adding that the University of Ibadan, with its huge staff and student population, needed six to eight megawatts of electricity.
Following the successful conclusion of a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Erongo Red in September, OCL Arandis Solar Energy has secured land for its solar project. On Monday, the Namibian independent power producer signed a lease agreement for 12.5 hectares of land for 25 years with Arandis Town Council to commence construction of the 3.4MW solar-powered plant in November. The lease agreement, which according to local media, the New Era, excludes the cost of utilities, will generate about N$62 400 ($4,326) in revenue for the municipality per year. OCL Arandis Solar Energy will construct and maintain the solar plant on behalf of Erongo Red. During the signing ceremony of the PPA last month, Erongo Red CEO Robert Kahimise said the power plant is expected to save the regional electricity distributor close to $446,232 a year and an estimated $9.4 million over a 25-year period. The solar-powered plant will be connected to, and synchronised with, Erongo Red’s transmission station.
Arandis Town Council is eager to capitalise on the potential economic benefits that come with the construction of the N$80 million solar photovoltaic power plant at the town by OLC Arandis Solar Energy. The municipality on Monday signed a lease agreement for 12.5 hectares of land for 25 years with OLC, that is due to start with construction of the 3.4 megawatt (MW) solar-powered plant in November. The lease agreement - which excludes the cost of utilities - will generate about N$62 400 in revenue for the council per year. About 50 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase, as well as an unspecified number of permanent jobs once the project becomes operational. The solar plant will be constructed and maintained on behalf of Erongo Red, that earlier this month also signed an agreement with OLC. The power plant is expected to save the regional electricity distributor around N$5.8 million a year and an estimated N$127 million over the 25-year period and will generate over 8.3 million KW hours of emission-free electricity per year.
Over 400 women living in rural Tanzania and Kenya seeking to participate within the renewable energy space will soon become beneficiaries of a US fund through a two-year entrepreneurial programme. Energy 4 Impact, a non-profit organisation working with local businesses to extend access to energy in Africa, has been awarded the funds to implement through a two-year programme, which will provide business and technology training and mentorship. In addition, it will provide support for the group to access financing and market opportunities. "The US Department of State the programme is part of the Partnership on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Renewables (wPOWER), launched by the US Department of State in January 2013 to empower women clean energy entrepreneurs across East Africa, Nigeria and India to deliver clean energy access," Energy 4 Impact said in statement.
The long awaited construction of East Africa’s largest solar power plant in northern Kenya is set to commence as Kenya Power agrees to a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement. Power plant developer, Rural Electrification Authority (REA), announced last week that it has concluded a PPA with Kenya Power to sell electricity generated from the solar farm at $0.12/kWh. According to the Daily Nation, REA chairman Simon Gicharu made the announcement when he attended a meeting in Nairobi with officials from China who will be funding the solar project. It is reported that China Jiangxi is the contractor of the project and will be backed by $135.7 million loan from China’s Exim Bank. Gicharu said: “Construction will start anytime from now after we signed a 25-year PPA with Kenya Power on Wednesday.” The 55MW solar farm in the north eastern town of Garissa County will be connected to the national grid and is anticipated to produce enough power to light up 625,000 homes.
Kenyan energy and petroleum ministry cabinet secretary Charles Keter said last week that the government was exploiting locally available energy sources, including off-grid renewables solutions, to achieve this goal. Speaking at the IRENA hosted International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference (IOREC) in Nairobi, Keter noted the various installed standalone and mini-grid renewable energy systems and those under development throughout the country, eNCA reported. Keter highlighted that the country is ready for business and welcomes both local and foreign private stakeholders, to invest in the country’s energy sector. "The conference aims to boost electricity access through the development of off-grid renewables. The conference memo notes that roughly 15% of the world’s population lives without electricity, but off-grid solutions can provide an estimated 60% of the additional generation needed to achieve universal access," eNCA reported.
East Africa's largest solar power plant in northern Kenya is set to add cheap power to the national grid for onward sale to homes and businesses. The Rural Electrification Authority (REA), which is developing the plant, has signed the power purchase agreement (PPA) with Kenya Power to sell electricity from the Sh13.7 billion solar plant at Sh12 ($0.12) per kilowatt hour (kWh) -- about Sh8 cheaper than diesel-generated power. The 55-megawatt solar farm in the north eastern town of Garissa will be fed to the national grid and is expected to produce enough power to light up 625,000 homes. "Construction will start anytime from now after we signed a 25-year PPA with Kenya Power on Wednesday," REA chairman Simon Gicharu said at a meeting in Nairobi with officials from China -- the financier. China Jiangxi is the contractor of the solar firm using a Sh13.7 billion ($135.7 million) loan from China's Exim Bank. The REA had in March announced that construction would start in July but suffered delays, partly because of prolonged talks for the PPA with Kenya Power.
US-based multinational technology company Microsoft, has announced its plans to operate its global fleet of data centres using 50% renewable power by 2018. Rob Bernard, Microsoft’s chief environmental and cities strategist, made the announcement during a conference last week in California. In addition, the tech company plans to boost its use of renewable power for its data centres to 60% by the early 2020s, Computer World reported. This announcement was made on the same day that US technology company Apple Inc joined 77 corporations committing to 100% renewable energy, under the RE100 global initiative. According to Computer World, Microsoft has powered its global operations, which include manufacturing, licensing and logistics, on 100% renewable energy since 2014. Bernard explained in a written post on Microsoft's Green Blog the day after delivering his keynote address: "The world is experiencing the very real effects of climate change, including extreme weather, droughts, air quality problems and the warming of our oceans.
The Bank of Industry (BoI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a $2million cost sharing agreement that would see the replication and scaling up of the solar energy projects in more communities across the country following the success of the first phase of the project. Under the agreement, the BoI would make a commitment of the sum of $1.4 million as debt financing for the project, while the UNDP would make grant contribution of $600,000. Acting managing director of the Bank, Mr Waheed Olagunju, stated yesterday during the signing of the agreement at the UNDP office in Abuja that its contribution and the UNDP grant would be deployed to provide solar energy solution in states where both BOI and UNDP have existing collaboration. "This partnership between BoI and UNDP is quite symbolic since it will assist in the provision of energy which is very vital for the achievement of inclusive and sustainable growth and development by addressing the myriad of challenges that have stalled the progress and prosperity of its citizenry at the bottom of the pyramid, significantly of which is access to clean and sustainable modern energy services," he stated.
President of the United Nations Climate Change Summit, COP21, Segolene Royal, announced last week that funding has been raised for 240 renewable energy projects in Africa. The project list, which represents a total capacity of 45GW, will receive funding under the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, SeeNews reported. According to media, the projects include 62 solar energy projects with a combined capacity of 6GW; 16 projects for a total of 5GW of wind energy; 13 projects or 7GW of geothermal energy; 58 hydroelectricity projects (20GW); 35 projects combining more than one technology (1GW) and 4 national strategies for adding 8GW solar and wind energy.
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TU.S. Trade and Development Agency awarded a grant to Sierra Leonean power producer, Solar Era Holdings (SL) Limited, to facilitate the development of a solar photovoltaic (PV) plant and a PV-thermal hybrid project near Bo, the second largest city in Sierra Leone. The development agency noted in a statement that the projects will contribute towards a reliable generation output, while expanding the rate of energy access across the country – only 13% of the population currently has access. Present at the signing, Sierra Leonean Minister of Energy Henry Macauley commented: "We are proud to embark on such a renewable energy project, which will help us as a country exit from the statistics of 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa without electricity.”
Namibia's regional power supplier, Erongo Red, concluded a PPA with the IPP, from which the utility will be obligated to buy the power generated over a period of 25 years. The renewable energy firm plans to construct a 3.4MW solar power plant in Arandis and construction has been said to begin in November this year, reports the New Era. It is reported that Erongo Red CEO Robert Kahimise, said the power plant is expected to save the regional electricity distributor close to N$5.8 million ($446,232) a year and an estimated N$127 million ($9.4 million) over a 25-year period. Kahimise said the signing of the PPA marks yet another important milestone for the company, adding that Erongo Red is continuously seeking ways to make power supply more affordable.
International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group has announced its partnership with the DFID, aimed at facilitating the deployment of off-grid and embedded solar systems in commercial and industrial sectors in the West African country. The IFC announced in a statement explained that the ultimate goal is to help corporates and SMEs to have better and more reliable access to electricity, utilising the country’s abundant solar resources. In addition, this will contribute to Nigeria’s sustainable economic growth and greenhouse gas emission reduction objectives. Through this partnership, IFC’s Off-Grid and Embedded Solar Market Development and Finance Programme, and DFID’s Solar Nigeria Programme, are launching a new initiative in Nigeria for solar market development and finance, the finance corporation stated. Explaining the objectives of the new programme, the IFC said: “One of its major components will be to provide technical support and possibly financial instruments to local financial institutions. “This will help them develop business solutions for the emerging solar market especially solar PV technology investments in Nigeria.”
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has awarded a US$856,000 grant to Solar Era Holdings (SL) Limited to support the development of a solar photovoltaic (PV) plant and a PV-thermal hybrid project near Bo, says a release from the United States Embassy in Freetown yesterday, adding that the new plants will support more dependable power generation and improve energy access in Sierra Leone. "The United States is proud to help bring new sources of renewable energy to Sierra Leone," U.S. Ambassador John Hoover is quoted to have remarked at the signing ceremony. "This project supports President Koroma's Recovery Priorities and helps to lay the groundwork for sustainable economic growth for all Sierra Leoneans." The release says Albert Smith, Solar Era's Director of International Business Development, signed the grant agreement along with Ambassador Hoover. Mr. Smith is quoted to have explained that, "by delivering power in Baoma Chiefdom to the Bo-Kenema transmission line, this project will play a key role in the economic development of the region."
Zimbabwe’s Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development Minister, Sithembiso Nyoni, has this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Shandong Dejian for the development of solar milling plants in various farming areas. According to local media the Herald, under the MoU the Chinese company is expected to conduct a feasibility study of which its report would be tabled before Cabinet for implementation. The execution of this project is anticipated to aid farmers in rural areas to add value to their produce, stockfeed manufacturing and also engage in irrigation activities, media reported. Shandong Dejian general manager, Wang Hongbing highlighted that his company was also involved in a solar milling plant project in Zambia and assisting farmers in maize processing. Hongbing said: “We have also signed MoUs with Malawi, Mozambique and Uganda to implement the project.”
Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm in the Eastern Cape commenced commercial operation, feeding clean power into the national electricity grid. The wind farm, which comprises of 31 turbines and has a 95MW generation capacity, will not only contribute towards strengthening the grid, but towards uplifting the surrounding community as well. According to The Herald, it was agreed that 2.1% of revenue will be earmarked towards socio-economic development and rental of the land where the turbines are sited. According to local news agency, eNCA, the farm was the dream of the founder of Watt Energy, the late Mcebisi Mike Msizi, and his family welcomes its realisation. His widow, Florence, said at the inauguration: “Even my husband in his grave, the dream is coming now, because the project now is over.” Speaking at the inauguration, Deputy Energy Minister Thembisile Majola said the project was a milestone in the department’s drive to establish a viable energy mix for the country.
The government of Lamu County is reported to have endorsed the project of a wind farm that is anticipated to cost Sh21 billion ($207 million). It is reported that the county government was opposing the development because the investors had not clarified as to where and how the affected people would be relocated. However, on Wednesday, Lamu deputy governor Eric Mugo stated that to date sufficient consultations have been conducted by the investor and the project will now go ahead. Media reported that Mugo said this during the handing over of a Sh9.1 million ($89.948) goodwill cheque to 26 farmers by the investor. The wind farm project is said to be led by a consortium of three companies including renewable energy firm Elicio from Belgium, the World Bank through the International Finance Corporation and a Kenyan firm, Kenwind Holdings Ltd. “No one has ever opposed the wind power project. Our only problem was on how well our people's interests were going to be addressed especially the issue of compensation. “I understand we had problems of communication but we have reached a consensus with the investor,” Mugo stated.
Global renewable energy investments are increasingly showing low capital input with a high generation output, according to a newly released report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). “Renewable energy investments of $313 billion accounted for nearly a fifth of total energy spending last year, establishing renewables as the largest source of power investment. While spending on renewable power capacity was flat between 2011 and 2015, electricity generation from the new capacity rose by one third, reflecting the steep cost declines in wind turbines and solar PV,” the IEA said in statement. According to the Agency, global energy investment fell by 8% in 2015, with a drop in oil and gas upstream spending outweighing continued robust investment in renewables, electricity networks and energy efficiency. Total investment in the energy sector reached $1.8 trillion in 2015, down from $2.0 trillion in 2014, according to the World Energy Investment 2016 (WEI 2016). IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, said: “We see a broad shift of spending toward cleaner energy, often as a result of government policies.
The Zimbabwean IPP, Utopia Power Company Limited, is reported to have stated its intentions to construct a solar power plant in Q4 2016, at an estimated cost of $18 million. Local media reported that the IPP expects to begin feeding the power generated into the grid by the second half of 2017. The company is said to have recently been awarded an electricity generation licence by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority and was also granted an investment licence by the Zimbabwe Investment Authority in December 2015. Commenting on the development was the company’s managing director Shongwe Ndoro, stating that the project has attracted the attention of serious local and international players that will work as strategic partners, both from a technology and funding perspective. “This points to the fact that Zimbabwe remains a good investment destination,” Ndoro noted.
South Africa has officially opened its latest wind farm – an 80MW facility in Noupoort, the eastern Karoo region. Situated in the Umsobomvu Municipal Area located 10km east of Noupoort in the Northern Cape, Noupoort Wind Farm spans 7,500 hectares and comprises thirty five 99m-high wind turbines. All 35 turbines of the R1.9 billion wind farm are now producing clean renewable electrical energy to meet the needs of almost 70,000 average South African households. Noupoort Wind Farm achieved its commercial operations date on schedule and on budget, according to the projects operator Mainstream Renewable Power. Mainstream’s Group finance director, Terry Ryan, said: “Today is of note because it is the first Round 3 wind farm to reach commercial operation. This is Mainstream’s fourth renewable energy project to reach commercial operation in South Africa. “We also developed and built the Jeffrey’s Bay Wind Farm as well as the Droogfontein and De Aar solar power facilities from Round 1. And we’re currently building two wind farms near Loeriesfontein in the Northern Cape which are on track to start operating in December next year.
Zimbabwean Independent Power Producer (IPP) Utopia Power Company Limited is set to construct a 15 megawatt solar plant in Bromley 48km east of Harare at a cost of $18 million. Construction is expected to start in the fourth quarter of this year with power generated being fed into the national grid by the second half of 2017. The company was awarded an electricity generation licence by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) recently and was also granted an investment licence by the Zimbabwe Investment Authority in December 2015. Utopia Power Company managing director Mr Shongwe Ndoro said the company was currently finalising agreements with local and international technical and financial partners. "The project has attracted the attention of serious local and international players that will work as strategic partners, both from a technology and funding perspective. "This points to the fact that Zimbabwe remains a good investment destination," he said.
Solar power project dubbed Solar Nigeria, which has been initiated by the DfID, has announced having achieved the above mentioned figure between January and June 2016. Nigeria’s local media This Day reported that according to a media statement from the agency, the result has kept up to speed with the record that was set in Q1 2016 when 49,000 homes received solar lighting or power systems through the Solar Nigeria programme. According to the statement, more than 45,000 of these homes are located in states within northern Nigeria, and are all said to have received solar systems supplied on full commercial terms. The terms are based on either the householder paying cash, taking a loan, or renting the equipment. The programme’s communication officer, Genevieve Bosah, described that the solar systems include everything from single bright lamps through to solar home systems that are able to power multiple lights, a television and fan in the households.
Solar Nigeria, a solar power initiative of the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DfID) has disclosed that businesses it supported have been able to provide more than 92,000 Nigerian homes with solar lighting or power systems between January and June 2016. The programme said more than 45,000 of these homes are however located in states within northern Nigeria, and that all the systems were supplied on full commercial terms, with the householder paying cash, taking a loan, or renting the equipment. According to a statement from the programme's communication officer, Genevieve Bosah in Abuja, the solar systems include everything from single bright lamps through to solar home systems that are able to power multiple lights, a television and fan in homes they were deployed. It said the result has kept pace with the record that was set in the first quarter of 2016 when 49,000 homes received solar lighting or power systems through the programme. "It brings the total of homes equipped with support from Solar Nigeria and its partner programme Lighting Africa to 182,000 since mid-2015," said the statement.
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