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Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) disclosed that the electric power generation projects under construction have created close to 50,000 permanent and temporary jobs. The EEP also said these projects that would increase the power supply of the country fivefold and were contributing to skill and knowledge transfer. They would increase the electric generation capability of the country from the current 2,268 MW to 10,000 MW.The EEP External Relations Head, Mesikir Negash said that the jobs were created under the programs for rural electrification, electric generation, and transmission and distribution stations. 8,500 of the jobs were created in relation to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam; Gilgel Gibe III created 6,500 jobs, and the Genale Dawa Dam another 1,100 jobs. Another 22,000 jobs came from the rural electrification program. The Head of EEP external relations also revealed that the performance of the projects currently ranged from the 42% completion of the GERD, to 90% with Gilgel Gibe III in the final stage of completion and ready to start generating power during the coming Ethiopian rainy season.
The Egyptian Electricity Ministry signed a $28 million deal to construct a transformer power station in the Suez Canal region.The project aims to support the country’s increased power demand during the summer months, said Ahmed Hanafi, head of the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company.The transformer project will be funded by the European Union’s European Investment bank.In February 2015, government approved a new law privatising the electricity production, transmission and distribution sectors, which reduces the state’s role in the power sector. The unbundled entities will be seen as independent from each other to ensure a competitive market.In addition to the restructuring of the electricity sector, government secured deals earlier in the year to integrate nuclear, wind, solar and coal into the country’s energy mix while in the process of finalising a 10-year plan that will see an additional 70GW added to the country’s electricity grid. The breakdown includes 8GW from coal and an additional 8GW from renewable energy sources.
The Kathu solar thermal park in the Northern Cape which is part of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Procurement Programme (REIPPP) with an estimated investment over $533 million, will have a generation capacity of 100MW.Equipped with parabolic troughs and a thermal energy storage capacity of 4.5 hours, the plant is set to begin operation in 2018, with the ability to generate enough power to electrify 80,000 households. The EPC contractors – Acciona and Sener – will use local suppliers, as the project is fully committed to contributing to the local community, Acciona said in a statement.
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In a welcome bid to promote solar energy use in Egypt’s industrial sector, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has initiated a project to boost local solar manufacturing capacity in Egypt.Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the UN-backed project will support the local manufacturing of solar energy systems and components for use in Egyptian chemical, agro-food, and textile industries. Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, Egypt’s Minister of Industry, Trade, and Small and Medium Size Enterprises, and UNIDO Director General LI Yong attended the official inauguration ceremony for the project. The new UNIDO project was formally launched last month in Egypt, coinciding with the nation’s first ever Economic Development Conference. A three-day event, the historic Economic Development Conference opened on March 13 in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh. Over 112 countries were represented at the conference, with over 2,000 delegates in attendance.
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Norwegian state-owned development fund Norfund announced it intends to triple its power sector investments within Sub-Saharan Africa by 2020, Reuters reported. The announcement was made at the Norway-Africa Energy Summit, attended by energy ministers from Ghana and Zambia as well as investors and researchers.Norfund is involved in developing hydropower in the Sub-Saharan region together with Norwegian power firm Statkraft and the UK development fund CDC to invest in Globeleq Africa, which intends to install an additional 5,000MW into Sub-Saharan Africa’s energy pool.
On Wednesday, German state-owned development bank KfW announced it has granted South African parastatal Eskom a loan of $339 million (ZAR4 billion) to assist in upgrading the national electricity grid. With the country’s power grid under severe constraint, the loan will be used to connect renewable energy power solutions including wind and solar plants to the national grid to contribute towards achieving a reliable and secure supply of power, KfW said. Norbert Kloppenburg, a management board member at KfW, said in a statement: “The adjustment of the energy supply is a big step for South Africa away from dependency on coal towards a more sustainable electricity generation.”
Tanzania-based Rex Energy Solar has partnered with Solaric, a US-Bangladesh solar innovations company, announcing last week that a new solar power project will provide energy systems to 1.5 million homes by 2020.The Rex–Solaric venture is set to install systems that have seen success in countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, India and Malaysia.This project will provide more than just lighting needs and according to Francis Kibisha, the managing director of Rex Energy, the venture will help create more than 2,500 jobs in the process.The distribution process of the new solar system will encompass the training of local youth by Rex Solar Energy as artisans to install the system and provide after sales services.
Geothermal energy, the flow of heat energy radiating from the earth's core, provides unique opportunities for cost efficient, sustainable food production and processing in developing countries, says a new report published by FAO today. In some developing economies, as much as half of all food produced is lost post-harvest - that's due in part to a lack of affordable energy for food processing, according to "Uses of Geothermal Energy in Food and Agriculture". This makes the use of heat energy for drying foods, pasteurizing milk and sterilizing produce especially interesting for developing countries, where increased food processing can give a boost to food security. Food drying can prolong the shelf life of nutritious foods like fish and vegetables and make them available year-round, including in times of drought. Geothermal energy is also a prime source for heating greenhouses, soils, and water for fish farming, the report says.
Resources and energy specialists WorleyParsons has successfully closed out two key renewable energy projects, with a third still underway, and a fourth close to completion. WorleyParsons was awarded a contract in Q4 2014 to provide Project Management services to Lake Turkana Wind Power’s wind farm project in Kenya. The company has since deployed management teams on site in the Loyangalani District, Marsabit West County, in the Turkana region.
“Investing in the power sector in Africa can be very lucrative and we have the success stories to prove it”, says Evan Schiff, event director of African Utility Week, taking place in Cape Town from 12-14 May. During the largest yearlypower and water conference and expo on the continent, a high-level finance and investment forum will specifically focus on project finance, risk management, IPPs and case studies. Schiff said: “$42 billion a year will be required to meet Africa’s energy demand by 2040, including a private-sector financing increase of up to ten times the current levels. In order to achieve this governments and business must work together and fresh approaches will be vital.” He added that private equity fund raising for Africa increased by 136 per cent in 2013 to $3.3 billion, up from $1.4 billion a year earlier. Greater private sector participation and competition has been encouraged through power sector reform and long-term power purchase agreements through the state utility or other credible off-takers. IPPs are considered a solution to persistent supply constraints. It is also exciting to see that intra-African investment is gaining momentum. African investors nearly tripled their share of FDI projects over the last decade, from eight per cent in 2003 to 22.8 per cent in 2013 according to EY’s latest attractiveness survey.”
On Monday US-based Dutch owned power company signed two global grants for a solar power project in Burundi 65 miles from the capital of Bujumbura, East Africa. Gigawatt Global (GWG) who is a partner of Power Africa and Power Africa‘s Beyond the Grid sub-initiative, is receiving financial support from Power Africa via the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the Energy and Environment Partnership (EEP), a coalition representing the British, Finnish, and Austrian governments. The funding amounts to $1 million to develop a 7.5MW solar field which is expected to boost the country’s power generation by 15%. GWG claims that the solar plant will generate enough power to electrify 60,000 households at a total cost expected to reach $20 million.
Biogas is changing people’s lives in Tanzania where over 90 percent of the population relies on wood-based fuel for domestic use as households amass firewood and charcoal for cooking, and lighting. While most urban areas depend on charcoal, the setting in rural villages gears for firewood and the task of fetching is almost exclusively left for women and girls. Cooking on inefficient traditional open fires daily has serious repercussions for women's lives related to health, safety, economic circumstance, as well as the destruction of the natural environment on which millions of Tanzanians depend.
East African countries must diversify their energy mix beyond hydro and incorporate mini-grids for greater rural electrification, according to a jointly published report released today, ‘A Clean Energy Vision for East Africa: Planning for Sustainability, Reducing Climate Risks and Increasing Energy Access (2015)’. The East African Power Pool (EAPP) has the potential to play a major role in driving energy investments in the region, but its heavy focus on large dams such as the Gibe III Dam, puts the region at high risk from climate change. The report recommends the EAPP shift its priorities to include a much greater proportion of renewable energy sources like solar, geothermal and wind, and to take greater account of climate risks to large hydropower projects. Currently, about a quarter of electricity generated in EAPP countries comes from hydropower, and with future investments creating a greater dependence on hydropower. The EAPP has identified hydropower projects that will almost double the EAPP’s current installed capacity; an estimated 60% will come from Ethiopian hydropower generation alone.
M-KOPA Solar today announced that it has connected over 20,000 off grid homes in Uganda to affordable solar power. The 'pay-as-you-go' energy service provider for off-grid homes, is now expanding its distribution nationwide and targeting to add 50,000 more homes by the end of 2015. Jesse Moore, Managing Director and Co-Founder, M-KOPA Solar, says, "We are very proud of the M-KOPA III solar home system and our success to date in Uganda. Together we are helping Ugandans get rid of kerosene, improve their standard of living and save money all at once. It's a win-win for everyone." M-KOPA Uganda has added more than 20,000 customers in the past 15 months. According to Anthony Weremaka, General Manager, M-KOPA Uganda: "In Uganda M-KOPA is now connecting over 500 new homes to solar each week, and even bigger growth lies ahead. We have nearly 100 terrific staff and 200 sales agents across the country who earns a good income selling M-KOPA products and services.
A new report by Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC) tags Africa as the leader of renewable projects investments over the Middle East. The report says some African countries are moving to renewable energy to help solve their acute power supply problem with Nigeria leading the way in value of projects in biomass and solar, South Africa for wind power, Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) for hydroelectric, and Kenya for geothermal project investment. Timetric estimates that more than half of the $717 billion of power generation projects planned or underway in the 21 countries studied are from Africa. African countries account for $413 billion of the total value. Solar and biomass projects in Nigeria account for $32.9 billion and $1.2 billion respectively making the country the leader of the 21 countries studied in these sectors. Solar energy is also being promoted through locally developed projects allowing investors to receive a tariff return by feeding power into the grid. Across Africa hydropower is making a push with the DRC projects valued at $11.2 billion.
More than 76% of Swaziland’s current electricity supply comes from imports predominantly from South Africa, according to the IRENA report. The country’s power import tariffs doubled between 2009 and 2012 and are expected to continue rising. With increasing power tariffs and the cost of renewable technology dropping, the renewable sector is becoming a more cost competitive market in Swaziland. IRENA director-general Adnan Z. Amin said that: “Renewable energy is no longer just the best choice socially and environmentally, it is also the best choice economically for many countries in many parts of the world.” Amin continued: “It has never been cheaper for Swaziland to reduce its electricity costs, increase its energy independence and improve energy access through the rapid deployment of renewable energy.” Swaziland is part of IRENA’s Africa Clean Energy Corridor initiative which aims to meet Eastern and Southern Africa’s increasing power demands with renewable power. Situated in-between the borders of South Africa and Mozambique, Swaziland could use the existing infrastructure to capitalise and grow its renewable power and potentially sell its surplus power as revenue.
Morocco’s Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) and Abu-Dhabi based renewable power company Masdar have entered into a partnership to design, supply and install 17,670 solar home systems throughout 940 villages in West African Morocco. Masdar claims that once the installation of the solar homes is complete together with additional electrification initiatives, 99% of rural Morocco will have access to electricity by 2017. The Solar Home Systems will be deployed by Masdar Special Projects – a division of Masdar Clean Energy. Masdar will provide maintenance and operational training over an initial two-year period which will then be taken over by ONEE. The government of Abu Dhabi will be responsible for the funding of the project. The power partnership will identify local service providers to install and maintain each 290 watt solar panel home system. According to director general of ONEE Ali Fassi-Fihri, the rural electrification project meets the Moroccan government’s objective for the development of marginalised areas through development of basic infrastructure.
Zimbabwe: Firms Encouraged to Set Up Own Power Plants
Kenya will become the second country in the world, after the Gambia, to adopt a national action plan to guide its implementation of the initiative. Over the past year, with assistance from the SE4ALL Africa Hub, the country has been working to address gaps in its policy, regulatory, and legal framework inhibiting investment in renewable energy. These efforts have culminated in the development of two key documents, an action agenda and an investment prospectus. The two documents will be adopted at a workshop scheduled for 12 and 13 March in Nairobi. The action agenda outlines the various actions that Kenya will put in place to achieve the set goals in renewable energy resources, energy access, and energy efficiency projects and to create conducive environment for investment, while the investment prospectus highlights priority projects proposed by stakeholders. Despite government initiatives to improve electricity access in rural areas, which have brought power to more than 23,000 public facilities in the past five years, just a third of households have access to electricity.
The world is currently being challenged by severe climate change that resulted from the inappropriate use of energy. Thus, countries across the world are now looking for various alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal among others. In fact, these energy sources have multiple benefit apart from combating climate change. They help to maximize power or electricity supply. In most developing countries like ours, where biomass is main source of energy particularly in rural areas, alternative energies are of huge significance. Ethiopia's ambition to build a green economy is grounded in the country's potential for and belief in a sustainable growth model for developing countries. In response to the growing demand of energy for the realization of the overall development in particular and in a view to responding to the ever worsening global warming in general, Ethiopia has been taking steps to utilize various sorts of renewable energy and the country has already followed a relatively green and sustainable development path, and most of the power generated in the country already comes from renewable sources, mainly hydro power. For many years, most of the energy demands of Ethiopia for cooking, heating, and lighting had been met from biomass. Petroleum products including gasoline, diesel and kerosene accounted for less than 7 per cent of the country's energy supply, according to some statistics.
Southern African cement manufacturer PPC has partnered with energy services company HVAC to relieve pressure off the national electricity grid through predictive production software. The international energy service company has supplied PPC’s Hercules plant in Pretoria with technology that assists in monitoring power consumption and production levels to ensure production at peak times is done efficiently. Commenting on the software purchase, Egmont Ottermann, group energy manager at PPC, said: “We have been working with HVAC since 2006, constantly trying to optimise the performance of our equipment so we can minimise electrical costs. Essentially, this software helps us monitor factory production and silo levels to ensure stock levels are high enough for us to switch off a unit during peak times.”
In conjunction with President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, a Dutch energy company has completed work on and started operation of a solar power facility in Rwanda. The 8.5 megawatt solar project comes after completion of a wind energy “farm” in Kenya, hydro-electric dams in Tanzania, a geothermal power plant in Ethiopia, among other projects, and will boost Rwanda’s ability to provide its citizens with electricity by 6 percent, which translates to power for about 15,000 homes.Sub-Saharan Africa is a land of great promise and resources, such as timber, minerals, water and fertile soil. A key factor needed to develop these resources is lacking, however. That’s reliable electrical power. Without it, businesses and economies cannot develop, and in many areas community life stops after dark. Greater private sector investment such as the solar farm project in Rwanda will provide for sustained, equitable economic growth.
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