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Kenya, AfDB ink deal for rural electricity grid

More households are set to be connected to the electricity grid after Kenya secured a Sh11.9 billion loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the laying of infrastructure in rural areas. This is the first tranche of Sh72.4 billion ($800 million) expected from the bank in the next five years. Dubbed ‘last mile connectivity’, the project will see the installation of additional transformers and power lines to reduce the distance between the grid and customers. The government looks to raise power connections to 70 per cent of the population in five years, up from the current 30 per cent. The project will be rolled out in the 47 counties and is a fresh attempt to boost the welfare of poor households condemned to use of kerosene and firewood for cooking and lighting.

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East and South join to facilitate power trade

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia has been signed to develop a transmission line which will link to each country’s national power grid. The transmission project which has been termed ‘the ZTK interconnector’ will facilitate trade relations between the Eastern and Southern African Power Pools and provide an alternative solution to the power challenges which each region is currently facing. According to data released by EY in 2013, the transmission line will stretch across 1 600 kilometres and is estimated to cost US$4860 000 000. The connection will not only facilitate trade relations but it could reduce the current electricity tariffs below 10 US cents per unit, according to the Tanzanian Energy and Minerals Minister Sospeter Muhongo. ‘We have signed an MoU for the construction of Kv 400 transmission line. The project will be implemented in phases between 2016 and 2018. ‘Upon completion of the project, we will do away with emergency power producers who are currently selling its electricity at between US cents 30 and 55 per unit’, Muhongo said.


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Renewable Energy: The Untold Story of an African Revolution

Africa is experiencing a revolution towards cleaner energy through renewable energy but the story has hardly been told to the world, says Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Steiner, who had been advocating for renewable energy at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Lima, said Africa is on the right path toward a low carbon footprint by tapping into its plentiful renewable resources – hydro, geothermal, solar and wind.“There is a revolution going on in the continent of Africa and the world is not noticing it. You can go to Egypt, Ethiopia Kenya, Namibia, and Mozambique. I think we will see renewable energy being the answer to Africa’s energy problems in the next fifteen years,” Steiner said in an interview with IPS.Sharing the example of the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, Steiner told IPS that the decision was taken that “if UNEP is going to be centred with its offices in the African continent on the Equator, there can be reason why we are not using renewable energy. So we installed photovoltaic panels on our roof which we share with UN Habitat, 1200 people, and we produce 750,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year, that is enough for the entire building to operate.”

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Kenya: Kengen to Convert Steam Into Water

Kengen has announced plans to tap and purify steam from geothermal wells around Naivasha and convert it into water for flower farms. A senior engineer with the firm Peter Chege said the water can be used in paper making factories, homes and for agriculture. He said some flower farms are using steam to heat their greenhouses, which has increased their production. Chege said Kengen is carrying out a study to determine the amount and economical sustainability of minerals extracted during the drilling of geothermal wells. He said the study will be concentrated around Olkaria and Menengai. Chege said the area is rich with sulphur. He said if in plenty and commercially viable, the mineral could be mined and sold. Chege said drilling of geothermal could be used to extract minerals. "The steam being tapped from the wells has medicinal value because of the presence of brine," he said.

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Rwanda to import 30MW via new transmission project

Rwanda will be importing 30MW of power from state owned generation utility Kenya Power in 2015 to help meet the increasing energy demands, The Africa Report reported on Wednesday. Rwanda has a total generation output of 160MW, just enough to meet the current demand. With the number of consumers increasing they are beginning to struggle to keep up and have to resort to alternative solutions. The new 400 kilovolt (kv) high voltage transmission line will run from Olkaria, the geothermal hub of Kenya, stretch across Uganda through to Birembo in Rwanda. Businesses are facing high electricity costs and unreliable power supply, hindering the growth and development of the economy.

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UNEP Launches New Coalition to Boost RE

The UNEP launched a new coalition to boost renewable energy, dubbed the 1 Gigaton Coalition. The new group will focus on renewable energy initiatives and energy efficiency projects around the world. The name derived from UN research that said greenhouse gas emission reductions would amount to about one gigaton a year by 2020. "Our global economy could be $18 trillion better off by 2035 if we adopted energy efficiency as a first choice, while various estimates put the potential from energy efficient improvements anywhere between 2.5 and 6.8 gigatons of carbon per year by 2030," UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner stated in a press release.

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New trading platform & world-class operations at SAPP

It was recently announced that a new trading platform was to be implemented for the Southern African Power Pool’s (SAPP) energy trading activities. This new trading platform will cater for a day-ahead market, an intra-day market (up to one hour prior to dispatch), and a physical forward market; with a view to incorporating other market considerations in the future. One of the main purposes for the SAPP is to create a competitive regional electricity market for the SADC member states so that all members share in the available energy resources in the region. Some member utilities within the SADC region started trading as early as the 1950s through bilateral agreements mainly between neighbouring countries.

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AfDB issues a risk guarantee for Kenyan Transmission Project

The African Development Bank (AfDB) signed an agreement with Kenyan state-owned transmission company Ketraco, to provide funding for the development of the Lake Turkana Wind Power interconnection in Kenya. The EUR 623 million project which was to begin operating in 2011 has been delayed due to the high risks involved in the transmission process. The AfDB financed a partial risk guarantee to the value of EUR20 million for the transmission project. This should now reach completion in 2017, enabling the transmission of the wind farm’s first 50MW of generated power. The wind farm is expected to produce a total output of 310MW. Director of Lake Turkana Wind Power, Carlo Van Wageningen said that if the transmission line is incomplete once the plant begins generating power, the guarantee will help mitigate any risk at that point.

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Nigerian Renewable sector receives US$200 million from German KFW

The German Development Bank (KFW) funded a facility worth US$200 million towards driving small and medium enterprises involved in renewable energy projects in Nigeria. Following this announcement, Renate Von Bodden, leader of the German delegation, addressed the Bi-national Commission’s meeting announcing that the KFW had set aside funds for an additional facility valued at EUR 5 million which would provide technical support for the Nigerian energy sector. She added that Germany has the capabilities to facilitate the growth of the renewable power sector in Nigeria however the issue of polio eradication was hindering the development of the industry.

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West Africa: A Solar Revolution in West Africa's Villages

In many off-grid villages in West Africa, solar power now provides energy for lighting, cooking and street light. Some remote communities are beginning to embrace: solar power. Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali are ideally suited to solar photovoltaic power: every year, they receive up to 3,000 hours of intense sunlight, which could be harnessed to provide much-needed energy to isolated communities. Rural connection to the national power grid in these countries is expensive and a logistical minefield. But there is a realistic solution, which some remote communities are beginning to embrace: solar power. Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali are ideally suited to solar photovoltaic power: every year, they receive up to 3,000 hours of intense sunlight, which could be harnessed to provide much-needed energy to isolated communities. Supported by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), 14 villages across the region - Hon, Koussoukpa, Sirakorola, Tinkaré, Bilinga, Bougouré, Fili, Kalsagado, Kayéré, Kire, Son, Yallé, Ziga, Leba - now have access to life-changing solar power.

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Dutch firm seeks to connect green entrepreneurs to 600 investors

Twelve SMEs with environment-friendly innovations are set to showcase their products to over 600 international investors at the end of a 16-week workshop by Humanist Institute for Corporation (Hivos) and Growth Africa. The winner will receive Sh11 million as capital at the end of the training, which begins on January 15 to April 30 next year in Nairobi. The programme seeks to empower small and medium enterprises with innovations on climate-change mitigation by offering financial, advisory support and training. The training will cover business modelling and strategic planning; products and services and market access development; business partnerships including multinational companies, NGOs and governments; and financial modelling and valuations for investment, case writing and pitching to investors. At the end of the workshop, the entrepreneurs will be connected with over 600 investors on Venture Capital for Africa’s online platform in order to secure financiers, development partners and business to business partnerships.

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Agri sector benefits from solar in the Northern Cape

The agricultural sector in Kakamas will be benefiting from clean energy to run their Abattoir and Butchery in the Northern Cape, South Africa. Manufacturers of solar power technology, SolarWorld, have installed the Kakamas abattoir and butchery with a SolarWorld solar system by SolarTrends which will generate around 95 kWp (kilowatt-peak). This is the first South African abattoir to generate solar power for its cold-storage system, SolarWorld said in a statement. The system is located in a field behind the abattoir installed with 405 Sunmodule Plus SW 250 poly solar modules which will feed straight into the national grid, reducing the abattoirs traditional energy consumption by 60 percent, SolarWorld said in a statement. The town of Kakamas has been supported by its rich agricultural heritage for decades and by installing modern energy systems which has a life span of 25-30 years, they can drive the industry to new heights, contributing significantly to the upliftment and growth of the town.

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Gambia: GEF, Unido Conduct Training On Curriculum Development

The Ministry of Energy, in collaboration with UNIDO and GEF, recently conducted a three-day curriculum development training in renewable energy at the regional education office in Kanifing. Speaking at the opening ceremony, the director of National Environment Agency, Madam Ndey Sering Bakurin, said the Gambia Government in partnership with GEP and UNIDO, is implementing the project, with one of its key components being capacity building, which includes curriculum development training. According to her, renewable energy is also considered clean energy, because it does not produce toxin or pollution that are harmful to the environment in the same manner that non-renewable energy does. She noted that much of the world today is converting to renewable energy sources as means of providing power to homesand business in order to function more environmentally friendly.

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Kalahari GeoEnergy discovers geothermal potential in Zambia

A Zambian exploration company has recently announced the discovery of potential commercial geothermal energy deposits in the Bwengwa River region, Zambia. Kalahari GeoEnergy has been exploring various areas for geothermal energy since 2010. The company implemented the ‘Bwengwa River geothermal target’ which includes the Bwanda, Gwisho and Namulula thermal springs which form part of the Kafue Trough, a 14 000 kilometre m2 area stretching over a sedimentary basin. The research data recovered showed potential generation capacity of 10MW geothermal power, the figures were going to undergo further analysis to confirm this, Kalahari said in a statement. The results showed that the fluids within the basin were 150 C and higher, providing a shallow, lateral reservoir which is ideal for commercial development. Experts at Kalahari Energy said that the geothermal gradient and reservoir geothermometers indicated optimal temperatures for geothermal power production. The company will continue with its exploration assessments well into the second quarter of 2015 where they will commence drilling further wells to determine whether the area is favourable to conduct a feasibility study.

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East Africa: LG Donates Solar-Powered Fridges to West Pokot County

LG Electronics has donated five solar-powered refrigerators worth Kshs 2.2 million to West Pokot County through World Vision Kenya targeting. The donation targets seven health facilities currently experiencing challenges maintaining a cold chain system for laboratory of reagents, pharmaceuticals and vaccines. The health facilities will each receive a fridge that will provide fridges to store vaccines and other medical equipment with the aim of improving immunization coverage among children under five years and pregnant and lactating women. The new refrigerators were developed in response to absence of power supply in some areas, erratic power supply and extended power cuts in most parts of the country that often leaves home appliances such as refrigerators ineffective.

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Rwanda Govt to hand over biogas projects to local authorities early next year

Districts should take full ownership and management of bio-gas projects if they are to realise their objectives and benefit Rwandans, James Musoni, the Minster for Infrastructure, has said.“We need to come up with a clear document on standards, especially how bio-gas digesters should be constructed as soon as possible. This will make it possible for the central government to hand over the projects to districts early next year. It is important that districts to take full ownership of these projects and set aside budget allocations for them,” Musoni said. He added that there is need to ensure consistence in the way “we implement infrastructure projects so that the projects benefit citizens”. Musoni was speaking during a two-day retreat attended by officials from the infrastructure and local government ministries, policy-makers, governors and district leaders in Kigali on Sunday. The meeting discussed mechanisms of expediting infrastructure projects in the remaining three years to implement second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II) projects.

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West Africa: Workshop Validates Baseline Report On Renewable Energy

The Ministry of Energy, in collaboration with the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), Thursday convened the National Baseline Data Report Validation Workshop at the Paradise Suites Hotel. Held within the context of the development of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency National Action Plans, it was organised "within the framework of sustainable energy for all." This exercise was part of the overall process for the development of NREAP and NEEAP for The Gambia, and takes place against the backdrop of efforts to encourage advancement in energy access, renewable energy and energy efficiency in the ECOWAS region.

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Rwanda: BRD Extends Rwf8 Billion for Construction of 4MW Plant

Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) has signed a long-term loan agreement worth Rwf8 billion with Rwanda Mountain Tea (RMT) for the construction of a four Megawatts (4 MW) Hydro power plant in Nyabihu District, Western Province. The move aims at boosting government's efforts to generate 563Megawatts of electricity by 2017. The loan facility will go toward the construction of the second phase of the Giciye II hydro power project worth Rwf11.4 billion which will add 8MW to the national grid when combined with the already operational Giciye1 power project. The signing ceremony took place at the project's site in Nyabihu over the weekend. Alex Kanyankole, the Chief Executive Officer BRD, noted that the energy sector requires joint efforts from the public and the private sector to be able to realise the country's dream of generating enough power to fast-track economic development.

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Zambia: Renewable Energy Tariff Policy Coming

The Government will soon develop a tariff policy for the utilisation of renewable energy resources in the country, a Government energy expert has said. Stakeholders in the energy sector have been calling on Government to come up with attractive and cost-reflective tariffs to attract investors. Acting director of energy in the ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development Arnold Simwaba said Government would come up with a supportive policy and institutional framework to facilitate for the development of the energy sector.

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Namibia: Local Solar Plant to Boost Power

The Minister of Mines and Energy Isak Katali says the Omburu solar power plant will improve the supply of electricity to the entire country and not only to the Erongo Region. It will be the first and largest utility-scale ground-mounted photovoltaic power plant and will feed power into the power grid for 25 years. The 4.5 megawatts plant will produce about 11 025 megawatt-hours of clean and reliable electricity per year. It will feed carbon-free electricity into NamPower's national grid, doing away with the production of 5 537 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

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Kenya: Final Olkaria Project Phase Linked to National Grid

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has connected the Olkaria I unit 5 to the national grid, paving the way for the completion of the 280 Megawatt geothermal power project. The unit, still being tested, is now feeding 52.5MW of electricity to the national grid and marks the final phase in what is seen as a major step toward significantly lowering the cost of electricity in East Africa's largest economy. "On Monday we achieved a major milestone on the 280MW project when unit 5 was synchronized with the national grid. This is the last of the four 70 MW units in the 280 MW geothermal project," KenGen CEO Albert Mugo said. He added that final tests were ongoing to ensure system stability. In essence, it means that we are now close to the full 280 MW even as we continue with load tests for unit 5," Mugo said. The Olkaria 280MW project, the largest of its kind in the world, comprises the 140 MW Olkaria IV and the Olkaria I units 4 and 5, each with a capacity of 70 MW.

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Kenya’s Sh13b wind power project finally hit the skies in Nyandarua

Residents with the support of their leaders, gave consent to the Sh13 billion Kinangop Wind Park (KWP) project.With a capacity of 61 megawatts (MW), the project has been dubbed as the largest wind-powered-development in the country and is part of the plan to meet the promised 5,000MW. The journey has been long and bitter for the locals and investors with area leaders at one time issuing the latter with a 14 day notice to leave the area. Earlier, leaders in Kinangop and Naivasha where the project will be based, had accused the investor of failing to involve the locals.A meeting in June this year ended in disarray with locals claiming the wind turbines could affect their health adding that they were taking away huge tracks of land. The issue of compensation was raised and as the storm continued to brew it split leaders from Nyandarua County down the middle. But after months of negotiation and finger pointing, the pending issues have since been ironed out. The investor has committed already Sh270 million towards community projects as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

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Tanzania: Shot in the Arm for Energy Sector Projects

THE United States government, through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), has promised to provide 78 million US dollars to support the development of high impact investment projects in the energy sector, it was announced yesterday. The agreement was signed on Friday in Dar es Salaam between the Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Ms Saada Mkuya and MCC Vice-President of Compact Operations, Mr Kamran Khan. Speaking during the signing ceremony which was also witnessed by the US Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Mark Childress, Ms Mkuya said the funds will help the country invest in infrastructure, policy, regulatory and institutional reforms in the energy sector. "Through the grant signed today, the country will mobilise consultants to undertake detailed feasibility studies and other preparatory work on project ideas that are most likely to stimulate long-term economic growth," she said. The studies, according to the minister, will allow Tanzania to fully develop projects to reform the power sector, improve the technical, financial and operational performance of the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) and Zanzibar Electricity Corporation (ZECO) and expand access to electric power in rural areas.

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Botswana: Govt Moves to Ensure Sufficient Power Supply

Gaborone — President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama says government is in the process of procuring Independent Power Producers to ensure long term security of power supply. Delivering his 2014 State-of-the Nation Address on Thursday, President Khama said the procurement was for the construction of an additional 300MW from a Brownfield site at Morupule B site, as well as 300MW from a Greenfield site. The construction of these additional power plants, over the next few years, President Khama said would give the country the capacity to ultimately become a net exporter rather than importer of electricity. In his 2008 State of the Nation Address, the President stated that transforming the nation from an energy deficit to surplus nation had become a new development priority. President Khama said, "We knew from the beginning that this was a mammoth task, which along the way was made all the more difficult by the setbacks we continue to suffer in bringing the Morupule B Power Station fully online." However, with Morupule B capable of producing up to 600MW when at full capacity, supplemented by plants at Orapa and Matshelagabedi to meet spikes in demand, he said government should be able to cater for domestic energy needs.

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Tanzania: Over 1,000 to Access Power in Mbinga Next Year

Dodoma — MORE than 1,100 people in Mbinga district, Ruvuma region, will be connected with electricity next year through the Rural Energy Agency (REA), Parliament was told on Tuesday. This was said by Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals, Charles Kitwanga, when responding to a question raised by Gaudence Kayombo (Mbinga North - CCM) who wanted to know about government plans to distribute electricity in all villages in Mbinga district. Responding, Deputy Minister Kitwanga said the government was implementing power projects under the REA Phase 2, adding that areas to benefit from the project in the district included Mbagamao, Dee Paul Secondary, Kigonsera, Kitanda, Kigonsera Mission, Lusonga, Mkumbi, Utiri, Mkumbi mission, Mkako, Kihaha, Masumuni and Matarawe. He said the project was being implemented under the LTL project, which started in October, last year, and was expected to be completed in June 2015 at a total cost of 4.59bn/-. Elaborating, he said the project involved construction of an 80-kilometre, 33-kilowatt power line and installation of 17 transformers. Meanwhile, Tumbe legislator Rashid Ali Abdallah has asked the government to explain when it would increase the percentage of power access to ordinary Tanzanians.

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