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Africa is quickly adapting to modern renewable energy sources, and could more than quadruple renewable energy use to 22 per cent e by 2030, up from five per cent in 2013, says a new report. Dolf Gielen, the director of innovation and technology at the United Arab Emirates-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which produced the report, says Africa is currently among the leading markets for modern renewable energy sources. “Today Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa are among the leading markets [of renewable energy], but many smaller countries also have ambitious targets,” notes Gielen, quoting IRENA’s Africa 2030: Roadmap to a renewable energy future report released last month (5 October).
The African Biofuel and Renewable Energy Company (ABREC), an international organisation founded by African states and financial institutions to promote the continent’s transition to clean energy, has launched a crowdfunding platform for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in the Sub-Saharan renewable energy sector. The new platform – ABREC.FinanceUtile – was developed jointly with French crowdfunding platform FinanceUtile and, unlike traditional crowdfunding platforms, will provide more than simply access to finance. It is intended to support entrepreneurs in the renewable energy space by facilitating the transfer of know-how and technology, while also boosting access to reliable electricity generation in sub-Saharan Africa.
The 8.5 megawatt (MW) power plant in Rwanda is designed so that, from a bird’s-eye view, it resembles the shape of the African continent. The plant is also evidence, not only of renewable energy’s increasing affordability, but how nimble it can be. The $23.7m (£15.6m) solar field went from contract signing to construction to connection in just a year, defying sceptics of Africa’s ability to realise projects fast. The setting is magnificent amid Rwanda’s famed green hills, within view of Lake Mugesera, 60km east of the capital, Kigali. Some 28,360 solar panels sit in neat rows above wild grass where inhabitants include puff adders.From dawn till dusk the computer-controlled photovoltaic panels, each 1.9 sq metres, tilt to track the sun from east to west, improving efficiency by 20% compared to stationary panels. The panels are from China while the inverters and transformers are from Germany.
The International Consortium for Africa (ICA) has said it will support the continent to achieve its target of producing 300GW of power from renewable energy sources by 2030. The members of the group say such a feat could be the game-changer for Africa. At the ICA’s 11th Annual Meeting jointly organised by the German government (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) at its Abidjan Headquarters on November 16 to 17, 2015, the members said access to finance for investment in renewable energy projects was less of a challenge than the availability of well-prepared, bankable renewable energy projects to develop.
The Kenya International Investment Conference is set to take place in Nairobi on November 23-25, showcasing investment opportunities. The country is already attracting a multitude of global investors and over the past 12 months, we have seen a rise in interest in the agribusiness, ICT, apparel and textiles, leather, renewable energy, property, tourism and logistics sectors. To further build on this interest, KIICO 2015 will highlight these key growth areas as well as find solutions to challenges hindering faster growth in investment. The theme is 'Think Investment - Make It Kenya'. The main focus area for the conference will be renewable energy. The opportunities to invest in sector are manifold, including wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydro, and bio-gas. Kenya plans to increase installed capacity by 5,000MW in the next three years with renewable energy sources being the main contributors. Access to cheap energy has played a major role in the growth of businesses, industrialisation and consequent economic development of nations. The energy sector continues to grow by leaps and bounds in recent years, with installed electricity capacity increasing from 1,600MW in 2009 to 2,298MW in 2015. The government plans to increase this generation capacity to 23,000MW by 2030. A critical component of this sector is renewable energy.
Untapped renewable resources in Kenya could reduce electricity costs in the country and drive growth. This is according to a newly released report by the the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) climate change mitigation and adaptation organisation. According to GIZ, if solar, wind and biomass resources are harnessed correctly, they could have the potential of bringing down the cost of electricity to between $0.07 and $0.12, (Sh7.17 and Sh12.31) per kWh. This will be a drop from the current charge ranging from $0.12 and $0.22 (Sh12 and Sh22.57) per kWh for hydropower and between $0.25 and $0.30 (Sh25.64 and Sh30.77) per kWh for diesel generated electricity. The report added that this could cut production and electricity costs in the country's industrial sector and hotels by 50%. According to another report released by a delegation of Germany Industry and Commerce in Kenya, the country has sufficient solar exposure all year round, estimated at 4kWh to 6kWh per square metre per day.
The off-grid lighting and household electrification sector will help light up close to 100 million homes by 2020.The event, which was hosted by the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) and the World Bank Group (WBG), highlighted “global efforts to improve energy access for those without reliable, grid-based electricity by promoting clean, quality off-grid lighting solutions,” the Lighting Association said in a statement. Koen Peters, Executive Director of GOGLA highlighted: “This was the first year the conference was held outside of Africa, signifying that the industry is coming of age. "
Nigeria has managed to attain power generation and supply of over 4,000mw after almost one month of sliding to less than 3,500MW. Specifically, daily average energy generated in the country stood at 4,245.00MW while energy sent out was 4,165.01MW. Also, the country's total daily energy generated of 101,903.66 mega watts per hours is less than the 104,784.26 mega watts per hour. The decrease in power supply in the country has been attributed to the inability of the Egbin power plant to produce up to full capacity dropping from 813mw to 660mw. "
In East Africa, the Ugandan government has instructed the public power facility, Uganda Electricity Generation Company Ltd (UEGCL), to oversee the completion of hydro power projects over the next three years in attempts to decrease power tariffs. UEGCL chairman Dr Stephen Robert Isabalija explained that the cost of power produced by independent power producers (IPPs) today stands at more than $11 cents/kWh whereas power generated by UEGCL is sold at $1.2 cents/kWh.The Ugandan government's latest move to ensure the completion of hydro power projects is part of a target to sell power from generation plants at no more than $5 cents/kWh.Bujagali Energy, which was listed among the successful IPPs, owns and operates the 250MW Bujagali Hydroelectric Power Station."
Japan is ready to support geothermal development activities in Ethiopia, according to Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Speaking at a relevant workshop Tuesday, JICA Representative Mayumi Hayashi said the government of Japan is ready to support Ethiopia to generate more geothermal energy. JICA has finalized maps for 22 geothermal sites in Ethiopia, the representative added. Hayashi stated that Japanese companies will come to Ethiopia to invest in the energy sector Japanese Business Alliance for Smart Energy (JASE) General Manager, Shuji Kimura said on his part the collaboration in the energy sector will continue."
Standard Bank has financed 40% of the 1,760 MW renewable energy capacity operational in South Africa. All these projects were auctioned under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPP), and attracted interest from national as well leading international developers. The Bank has also financed an additional 800 MW capacity which is yet to be commissioned. Some of the project developers successfully participating in the auctions include; Scatec Solar, SunEdison, Acciona, Abengoa Solar, and Enel Green Power. Some of the major lenders to the selected projects are the African Development Bank, KfW, Norfund, the International Finance Corporation, Industrial Development Corporation, and the Development Bank of Southern Africa."
Chase Bank and the French Development Agency signed a €10 Million (Sh1.12 billion) loan agreement to finance green energy projects in Kenya. Chase Bank chief executive Paul Njaga said funds will be lent to businesses that want to invest in renewable energy technologies projects such as small hydro, biomass, biogas, solar, geothermal and other energy efficienct measures. "This is a 12-year facility and will therefore address long term funding requirements in energy projects. The total committed amount is €30 Million (Sh3.37 billion), of which €10 Million will be available immediately for lending," he said. AFD's regional director Boudot Yves said the credit line also comes with a technical assistance program that will be managed by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers. "This technical and financial offer is particularly important to bring additional solutions to achieve the diversification of energy resources in the East African region and help the region to transition towards sustainable energy solutions that are technically, economically and financially viable," he said.
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A Public Benefit Organisation in the Western Cape, Camphill Village, officially inaugurated phase II of its 60kW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, making this South Africa’s first grid-independent dairy. Camphill Village, which provides care and employment to local intellectually disabled adults, produces organic cheese, yoghurt and fresh milk that is sold to the mainstream market, which generates an estimated monthly income of ZAR200,000 ($14,546). The solar generated power will be used to process over 28,000 litres of organic milk into the various products. Camphill village: Uplifting local community The solar PV project has been developed and funded by a group of industry sponsors from Germany, Switzerland and South Africa who have been gathered together by the Germany-based Rays of Hope Foundation. Among the project contributors was South African solar inverter manufacturer First Solar who installed the 732 PV modules. Nasim Khan, Vice President of Business Development for First Solar in Africa said: “Camphill Village is an outstanding example of enabling people to gain independence by employing them in a social enterprise.
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Kenya will start exporting power to Uganda following the recent increase in production from geothermal sources. This is a deal under the Northern Corridor Infrastructure Power pool, in which the three heads of state of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda agreed that the country can start off with 30MW. The power will be transmitted through a new high voltage line linking the two nations. The grand 400KV regional electricity power exchange line will run from Olkaria in Kenya through Uganda to Birembo in Rwanda. Uganda and Kenya are already connected by older lines. The latest project will add to the new sections. Kenya is currently self-sufficient in power generation after more than 280 MW was added to the grid last year from various geothermal projects in the Rift Valley. Geothermal sources generated 1,476.66MW while hydro generated 1,018.08MW and thermal sources generated 485.26MW. Kenya has been tapping the geothermal resources in the Rift Valley as part of its broader ambition to add 5,000 Megawatts to its electricity output by 2017. That will add to the country's existing capacity of about 2,152 MW. It has close to 3,000 MW of proven geothermal energy in the Rift Valley.
The India-Africa Summit has raised hopes of increase in co-operation in many areas. One area that stands out for its great potential is renewable energy. Of course one reason for this high potential is that the overall international environment is most favourable for rapid progress of renewables. Low-income countries are supposed to get a major share of development assistance under the green fund and one of the main avenues for using these funds would be in development of renewables. However there are specific reasons why co-operation with India will be favourable and more suitable for most countries of Africa for development of renewables compared to say co-operation with one of the developed countries in Europe or North America. The reason is that India and Africa share somewhat similar conditions for development of renewables like solar and wind energy in remote and rural areas including deserts, hilly and forest areas. Many of these areas are expensive and difficult to cover by conventional centralized grid systems. On the other hand, decentralized renewal energy systems comprising of a mix of renewable energy sources most suitable for local conditions can be very useful.
German-based multinational conglomerate, Siemens, in a consortium with the construction company Isolux Corsan, has been awarded by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation and the Kenya Electricity Transmission Co. to develop a 1,000km high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line between Ethiopia and Kenya. The project, known as the Ethiopia-Kenya Power Systems Interconnection Project, will transmit environmentally friendly hydroelectricity from Ethiopia to Kenya. The project, which is estimated to cost $450 million will be financed by the World Bank and the African Development Bank, is scheduled for operation in Q4 of 2018. According to Siemens, the transmission system has a capacity of 2,000MW and will link the two converter stations located in Kenya and Ethiopia with a direct current +/-500-kilovolt overhead line. Isolux is responsible for the construction, installation, and equipment in the converter and AC substations.
The online tool, which is available in Excel, helps perform functions such as determining how renewable energy could satisfy the country’s future energy demands, assessing the impact of individual behavioural change, quantifying fossil fuels to be imported in the future, identifying pathways to achieve emission reduction targets and determining how to reduce emission with high level of economic growth. It can also quantify the volume of fossil energy to be imported, identify the best ways to reduce its emission of GHG while promoting a high level of economic development without affecting the environment. Jogeeswar Seewoobaduth, the divisional environment officer at the Ministry of Environment, Sustainable Development, and Disaster and Beach Management, explains how the tool works: “For example, people travelling by car daily can use this tool to learn how much petrol they can save and how much GHG they’ll not emit by taking the bus that goes from their homes to their places of work.”
Africa could easily be growing at double-digit GDP rates if we solve this problem of energy,” – were the words of the newly elected and eight president of the Africa Development Bank – Akinwunmi Adesina (past Nigerian Minister of Agriculture). He also mentioned that solving the continent’s acute power shortages is one core focus of the bank in coming years. This is understandable and justifiable in a continent that houses about 1.4 billion people, with 600 million of these people having no access to any form of electricity as well as millions of others whose livelihood continues to be threatened due to epileptic power supply. As a single country of about 65 million people, France alone generates four times more electricity than all 47 sub-Saharan African nations combined with a population of about 805 million people. Spain’s power consumption has also been compared to the overall consumption of sub-Saharan Africa. In the wake of an emerging continent like Africa in terms of productivity and growth, an efficient power sector remains a pivotal tool to salvage the growth being witnessed.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved $121 million loan and grant for Uganda to increase access to electricity in rural areas. The multilateral institution allocated $100 million loan and mobilised a $21 million grant from the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) window of the European Union-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (EU-AITF) for the project. AfDB said the money is expected to facilitate economic growth, improve livelihoods and allow access to social services in rural areas as public institutions get connected to the national grid. Only 14 per cent of Ugandans nationwide and 7 per cent in rural areas have access to reliable energy source. Limited access to electricity and high energy costs hold back economic development, entrenching inequality.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group private sector lender, is providing $5 million to help increase access to energy in Tanzania by developing a market for mini-grids. Lutengano Mwakahesya, the Director General of Tanzania’s Rural Energy Agency said last week, “We have an urgent task ahead of us to increase energy access in Tanzania. Mini-grids are a key part of the solution, so this program with IFC is an essential step to improve the quality of life of households, demonstrating the role of the private sector.” This latest project aims at bringing affordable, off-grid renewable energy to households and businesses in rural Tanzania. Basically, a mini-grid is made up of solar modules, a battery bank, and hybrid inverter. The Vienna-based International Energy Agency (IEA) says sub-Saharan Africa off-grid population is forecasted to rise from 600 million to 698 million people in 2030. IEA estimates that in order to achieve universal electricity access, mini grids will have to provide more than 40% of the new capacity needed by 2030 with the market potential for mini-grids to be US$4 billion per year.
Zambia’s state-owned power company Zesco, announced that China’s Sinohydro will commence construction of a 750MW hydropower plant in Zambia in December. This development comes at a time when the continent’s second largest copper producer is battling with production due to a deficit in power supply. In August, Zambian power providers and local mining companies agreed to cut power supply to local mines by 30% due to the country’s power deficit. The sector would be supplied with 70% local power generation and 30% imported back-up power at a higher cost. The drop in power supply could cause the copper industry’s production to drop below 700,000 metric tonnes, this is according to Robert Liebenthal, a Lusaka-based independent economist. A Zesco spokeswoman, Bessie Banda, told Reuters that Sinohydro will construct the Kafue Gorge Lower Power station at an estimated cost of $2 billion over an estimated period of four years.
In its quest to generate more reliable, climate-friendly electric energy, Kenya has become the first country in the world to make use of temporary geothermal wellheads, which are currently injecting an extra 56 megawatts into the national grid. According to engineers at the Kenya Electricity Generation Company (KenGen), it takes a number of years to construct a single geothermal power plant, because it has to be fed by steam from several wells, which are often drilled and left open for years awaiting completion of the main plant. "We are taking advantage of these single wells to generate power using the steam, which would otherwise have gone to waste while the main plant is being constructed," said Johnson Ndege, the Chief Engineer in charge of wellheads at KenGen.
Google Inc. has agreed to buy a 12.5 percent stake in what is expected to be Africa’s largest wind project, Kenya’s Lake Turkana, from Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems. The Danish company said on Tuesday that Google will purchase the stake once the project is completed in 2017 for an undisclosed amount. The 310-megawatt Lake Turkana wind park, controlled by Lake Turkana Wind Power Ltd., is set to produce 1.4 terawatt hours of electricity a year, or about 15 percent of Kenya’s electricity needs, based on current generation capacity, Vestas said. “We are making a commitment to invest in Lake Turkana because it makes financial sense, but also because it has the potential to have a massive impact on Kenya’s grid, helping to spur the deployment of renewable energy in one of the world’s fastest-growing countries,” said John Woolard, Google’s energy vice president. The nearly $1 billion private-and-public-sector joint-venture wind project offers the scale of infrastructure that international organizations say Africa needs for the continent to unleash its vast economic potential.
Government has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with a British Company (Sunbird Bio Energy) for the establishment of a $150 million sustainable bio-ethanol plant expected to produce 120 million litres of ethanol a year and 33 megawatts of electricity. The United Kingdom described the partnership as a positive step in strengthening UK-Zimbabwe trade and investment relations. The deal, a culmination of the business delegation that came to Zimbabwe in February, is expected to increase fuel blending to E20. Government will initially have a 10 percent stake which will be increased progressively over 10 years to 51 percent. The plant will be established in the Mushumbi Pools area in Mashonaland Central early next year. Ethanol will be produced from cassava and electricity from biomass. The MOA was signed by the ministries of Energy and Power Development, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development and Sunbird.
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