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The Nigerian federal government honours its pledge of promoting solar energy by approving an entry price for solar power stations. The Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) has finally reached an agreement with solar developers, endorsing $11.5 cents down from $23 cents per kWh for solar energy sale price. A team of solar developers comprising 14 pioneers are collectively expected to generate 1,125MW of electricity, which will be distributed to the grid through a stepped down transmission network to enable them to minimise levels of transmission losses, reports local media This Day. NBET managing director Waziri Bintube said: “Working in concert with our advisers, NBET developed a form solar PPA to be used in negotiations with these solar power developers. In the course of negotiations, NBET made it quite clear from the on-set that it was not ready to offer any developer the MYTO II tariff as published by NERC."
The agreement was signed on 7 July 2016 to support Eskom's 2016-2020 capital expenditure programme, including investments in new generation, plant refurbishment, transmission lines, and capacity building in excess of $17 billion, the AfDB said in a statement. South Africa has struggled with load shedding and energy reliability. The AfDB said that the ‘jumbo’ loan as it called it, will boost electricity generation in Africa by nearly 10 per cent. AfDB has arranged $965 million through participation arrangements with nine commercial banks, which include: Bank of China, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, CaixaBank, Citibank, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, KfW IPEX Bank, Siemens Bank, and Standard Chartered. The operation represents the largest syndicated A/B Loan arranged to-date in Africa.
South Africa's Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has signed an agreement with France's development agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), for a €60-million credit line aimed at local small-scale green projects. The facility, a collaboration under the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Finance initiative, provides long-term loans on attractive terms for developers who find it difficult to access funding for renewable-energy and energy efficiency projects. The IDC will use the credit line to provide loans directly to small and medium-sized companies according to certain criteria, such as the size of the project and the environmental impact of the project. The facility will also contribute to the creation and preservation of jobs at companies that are highly exposed to rising electricity and energy tariffs.
The Energy Commission in collaboration with West Africa Clean Energy and Environment (WACEE) organized the first ever Ghana Renewable Energy (RE) Fair in November 2015 to educate the general public on Renewable Energy Technologies. The three-day Conference and Exhibition attracted over 1,900 people with 33 companies exhibiting. This year, the 2nd RE Fair comes off at the Accra International Conference Centre in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and in collaboration with the Ministry of Power. The Renewable Energy Fair which will take place from the 9th to 11th of August 2016 from 8am to 5pm daily. It’s a three-day Conference that will run concurrently with the exhibition.
In one of the most ambitious rural electrification projects in Africa that has tapped the use of solar energy, the Kenya government has completed connecting some 4,100 primary schools to power using solar PV systems. The schools have been electrified as part of a determined digital learning program that will see electricity from the panels being used to power learning tablets currently being rolled out in public primary schools countrywide.Under the project a total of 22,249 schools have been connected to power, with 18,074 of those being connected using grid extension, while another 4,175 have been powered by solar PV systems in areas far away from grid power lines, a statement by the country’s rural power body, Rural Electrification Authority (REA) said.
The Jigawa State government has signed a 80 mega-watts plant deal. It was gathered the 80 MW power plant will generate an estimated 200,000 MWh of clean, renewable energy per year, enough electricity to power over 200,000 Nigerian households. The project represents an investment of approximately $USD 150 million. The project will sell electricity at 11.5 US cent per kWh. NSPDL plans to begin construction in 2017, with operations beginning a year later. The project will bring investment and contribute to local job creation with the potential to catalyze long-term growth in Jigawa State and the broader region
In East Africa, a wildlife research and ecotourism conservancy has recently installed an off-grid microgrid, which has since replaced a heavy duty diesel generator. The Loisaba Conservancy, comprising of 56,000 acres of land, will use this clean power system to power a commercial laundry, swimming pool, kitchen, business services, lighting, cooling, and other facility loads. According to the manufacturer of Aqueous Hybrid Ion batteries and energy storage systems, Aquion Energy, the microgrid, which was funded, designed, installed, and integrated by SolarAfrica, consists of two independent systems, each of which has 106kWh of Aquion batteries paired with a 37kW solar array. The conservancy CEO, Tom Silvester, said: “We embrace the idea of living lightly on the earth, minimising our carbon footprint and maintaining a clean, safe, and sustainable environment.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are interested in investing in renewable energy technologies will now receive soft loans from the French Development Agency through Diamond Trust bank (DTB). Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) and DTB have signed a credit agreement worth Shs 33bn to finance green energy projects in the country. Yves Boudot, the regional director for AFD in East Africa, said the soft loans are accessible to businesses interested in investing in technologies such as small hydroelectric power generation, geothermal, biogas, and solar. "This technical and financial offer is particularly important to bringing additional solutions to achieve the diversification of energy resources in East Africa and help the region to move towards sustainable energy solutions that are technically, economically and financially viable," Boudot said. Varghese Thambi, the managing director of DTB, said the partnership will boost energy efficiency.
Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) is set to erect two hydro-electric dams on the Genale-Dawa and Dabus rivers. Upon completion, they will have a 672mw combined energy generation capacity. This will be a sizeable contribution to the existing 5,000mw circulating in the national grid, and come at the cost of close to 1.1 billion birr.For the Genale-Dawa River, this is not the first dam. With a total project cost of 451 million birr secured from the Chinese Exim bank, 80pc of the Genale Dawa III dam project is now completed. The new Genale Dawa dam, Genale Dawa VI, is planned to generate 248mw, while the remaining 424mw will be generated from the Dabus river - a north-flowing tributary of the Abay River in southwestern Ethiopia.
The upcoming East African Power Industry Convention (EAPIC) in Nairobi, Kenya will focus on how the region can harness the opportunities presented by geothermal power to enhance access to energy, especially among rural communities. "There is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing geothermal. It's an amazing source of base load, renewable energy, but we have to take a realistic approach to how it's developed," said Amanda Lonsdale, the institutional and commercial development advisor for the East Africa Geothermal Energy Facility (EAGER). "Geothermal has to compete with traditionally less expensive energy sources such as hydro and gas for its position in a region's base load, so it's unlikely to become the dominant source for base load power, but it could displace more expensive, less clean sources," she said.
Kenya has signed a power purchase agreement with Ethiopia in a deal that will see Kenya receive 400Mw of hydro-power in the next eighteen months. Work on the 500kv power line which will be used to transmit the power is already underway with contractors on site. Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn showed keen interest in the investment made by Kenya in clean energy saying that geothermal energy is clean, green and its carbon footprint on the environment is minimal. This emerged when the Ethiopia Prime Minister, the First Lady Roman Tesfaye and his delegation visited Olkaria Power plant in Naivasha as part of their tour of the country. KenGen Managing Director Abert Mugo hailed the PM’s tour of Olkaria, noting that energy-related projects topped the agenda of the bilateral discussions, which also dwelt on the review of progress on the ongoing LAPSSET projects, among others.
The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved 200m US dollars from the International Development Association for Tanzania Rural Electrification Expansion Programme. A newly approved loan for the programme will connect 2.5 million poor households in rural areas to the national electricity grid over the next five years. The Programme aims to build on the recent achievements of expanding nationwide access to 36 per cent in 2014. In addition, the Programme will scale up the supply of renewable energy in rural areas while strengthening sector institutional capacity. "Access to electricity is critical to extend economic opportunities and reduce poverty," noted Bella Bird, World Bank Country Director in Tanzania, who also covers Malawi, Burundi and Somalia. "This programme not only offers the opportunity for many more Tanzanians to have access to power in their homes and businesses, but also enables small power producers to access finance to invest in production, including with renewable energy sources," she added.
Energy and power industry influencers attended the first East African donors’ coordination meeting in Ethiopia recently, dedicated to promoting geothermal investments. The conference was also organised to highlight the importance of improving access to equity or other funding sources and therefore play a catalytic role in establishing geothermal energy as a strategic option in power expansion planning for the region. While addressing delegates, Commissioner for infrastructure and energy Dr Elham Ibrahim noted the need to increase the deployment of geothermal projects in efforts to increase the rate of energy access in Africa especially with the growth in populations. She further stated that to increase the rate of energy access that could be achieved with reliable and competitively priced modern energy such as geothermal. The Commissioner also touched on Agenda 2063 (a global initiative to optimise use of Africa's resources for the benefit of the African continent) and the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). She noted that on the road to achieve an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, the first ten year plan, where energy is taken to be one of the major enabling aspects, has been elaborated.
Taking place in London for the first time, the Africa Energy Forum 2016 (AEF) which runs from 22-24th June, is set to highlight the huge renewable energy growth that is underway to meet the continent's increasing energy needs. With a growing population and recent economic progress Africa is seeing its energy demand soar. This calls for a rapid increase in supply on the continent and all forms of energy must contribute in the decades ahead. Africa therefore has a unique opportunity to pursue sustainable energy development as a basis for long-term prosperity. In its recent report entitled 'Africa 2030: Roadmap for Renewable Energy Future', the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) observed the region is richly endowed with fossil-based and renewable energy sources. However, it noted that the continent's continued reliance on oil and gas, along with traditional biomass combustion for energy will bring considerable social, economic and environmental constraints. Tackling today's energy challenge on the continent, the report noted, requires a firm commitment to the accelerated use of modern renewable energy sources.
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Leaders of three key climate change negotiating blocks have called for more global use of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The African Group of Negotiators (AGN) represents 54 African countries while LDC has 48 members and Aosis encompasses 44 small island states. The climate change negotiators noted the importance of Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) launched last year as an encouraging development towards the fight against climate change. AREI which got a pledge of US$10 billion in financial support as a starting point for up-scaling renewable energy worldwide, was launched at the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change held in Paris, France in November 2015. Seyni Nafo, the chairperson of the African Group of Negotiators, said Africa has taken a lead in renewable energy use. He said with a mandate from 54 African heads of state, the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative was launched with the transformational goal of ensuring universal energy access to all Africans and adding double current electricity generation through renewables beyond 2030.
Kenya has been ranked second behind only South Africa for clean energy investment in Africa and sixth globally. Kenya’s renewable energy potential is vast; already the world’s 8th largest producer of geothermal energy. Stakeholders and partners from across the global renewable energy sector are always on the lookout for the next growth market. Increasingly Kenya is featuring higher and higher on their list of where this could be. From investors to developers and service providers there’s a real belief that Kenya’s renewable energy sector is on the brink of sustained, long-term growth. German bank, Deutsche Bank has earmarked a US$500million fund dedicated to investing in renewable energy locally. International investors are typically looking at investment rates of return of 12.5% and above on projects emphasises Eugene Obiero, Senior Manager at CAMCO Clean Energy, a company focussed on financing renewable projects across the continent. Speaking at the panel briefing, Charles Muchunku, Chairman, Kenya Renewable Energy Association emphasized that the key objectives of industry stakeholders should be to improve the business environment for renewable energy in Kenya and to develop infrastructure so that renewable power can feed into the main grid. He further highlighted the need for adequately addressing policy challenges within this nascent industry particularly around land rights.
East African Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EACREEE) which will be based at Makerere University has been launched. The Centre will champion promotion of sustainable energy development in East Africa by improving access to modern services, energy security and mitigating negative environmental impacts. The centre will also create economies of scale as well as a competitive sustainable energy market and business sector in the East African Community in addition to attracting potential public and private investors in the region. The decision to establish the centre was adopted at the 9th Meeting of the East African Community (EAC) Sectorial Council on Energy in April 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya, the Ministers of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda adopted the project document.
A new report by the global auditing firm, PriceWaterHouse Coopers (PwC) says that new renewable off-grid technologies, in combination with innovative business models and mobile payment systems, hold the key to rural electrification and creating universal access to power. The PwC report says, a new approach which better recognises the part that off-grid technology can play is needed, adding that new approaches to beyond the grid electrification need to be adapted to achieve the UN 2030 target of electricity for all. It also noted that policymakers need to get out of a top-down mindset and support the role that a range of renewable energy off-grid technologies and new business models can play, adding that advanced renewable technologies and storage solutions could also threaten the existing business models of power utilities across the African continent in the future. According to the report, “Energy transformation means the time is right for policymakers to reappraise their approach to energy access. On current trends, two-thirds of the world’s population will remain without electricity by 2030, which is the target year to achieve the newly agreed post-2015 UN Sustainable Development Goal of universal access to energy.”
According to the latest annual Renewables 2016 Global Status Report by REN21, Kenya ranks in the eighth position among the largest geothermal energy producers in the world, putting the east African country among the top green energy economies. The report further states that by the end of 2015 the amount of geothermal energy in Kenya's national grid had expanded to a total of 600MW. The analysis stated that geothermal now accounts for over a quarter of the country's total power capacity of 2,333MW. Government officials have in recent years renewed their interest in geothermal energy to reduce the economy's use of expensive electricity from diesel generators and to boost the country's competitiveness. It is said that the country has an untapped potential of 10,000MW of steam energy in its Rift Valley basin where a series of exploration works are ongoing. About 280MW of steam power was fed to the grid in 2014 from the Olkaria fields in Naivasha that helped to cut the share of thermal power, easing power bills by about 30%.
Zambian Minister, Siliya and AfDB representatives will discuss modalities of supporting local entrepreneurs seeking to develop renewable energy projects. Siliya said her Government is keen on working with the AfDB to empower local entrepreneurs of small and medium enterprises with the capacity to explore avenues of how the power deficit hit country could generate renewable energy. “Zambia has the political will to make sure that renewable energy projects work and I will in the next two weeks be meeting officials from AfDB to put this vision into reality,” Siliya told the audience. She announced that her Government has shortlisted 15 private companies to undertake solar power infrastructure development projects across the country. During the same discussions, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Director for Knowledge Policy and Finance, Henning Wuester said there was need to build the local financial capacity of African states to implement off-grid electricity power projects. He noted that institutions such as AfDB, with its strategy on lighting up and powering Africa as enshrined in the High 5 vision of President Akinwumi Adesina, were better placed to support the continent realise the goal of producing renewable energy.
The African Renewable Energy Fund (AREF) announced that it successfully reached its target of $200 million in committed capital to support small-to-medium-scale projects. The fund is targeted at supporting sustainable private-sector led economic growth in renewable and alternative energy generation. The fund held its first close of $100 million in March 2014 and since that time has been investing capital in grid-connected development stage renewable energy projects, including small hydro, wind, geothermal, solar and biomass projects. The African Development Bank (AFDB) and its Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) are AREF’s lead sponsors, with equity investment of $25 million and $25.5 million respectively. SEFA committed an additional $10 million as Project Support Facility (PSF) to structure early stage bankable deals. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) also makes the list of top sponsors with its $4.5 million contribution. In total, the AfDB-mobilised a package of $65 million, providing a solid foundation for attracting capital from commercial and institutional investors to the renewable energy segment in Africa. With the current attention and surge of investors in renewable energy in Africa, the potential of the continent is more evident, positioning it as a likely gold mine. Africa is endowed with substantial renewable energy resources; over 300 gigawatts of hydro power capacity, a significant amount of geothermal potential, and abundant biomass, solar and wind potential.
A programme that’s making South Africa the top destination for green-power investments across the continent and the Middle East is not only easing an electricity crisis: returns are beating those in bonds and stocks. The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme secured about R196bn since 2011 and will attract another R550bn by 2020. With state-guaranteed contracts to buy the power over the next decade - and annual returns of as much as 20% - the project is a treasure trove for money managers and private equity companies seeking growth in an economy struggling to avoid a recession and the risk of a credit downgrade to junk. An index of rand-denominated debt has lost 23% over the past year in dollar terms, the biggest decline among 31 emerging markets. “It’s very hard to see getting stable returns like that in other asset classes where there’s a lot of uncertainty and yields are relatively low,” said Jean-Pierre du Plessis, a portfolio manager at Prescient Investment Management in Cape Town, whose R700m renewable energy fund is up 14% since it started in September. “The majority is long-dated debt linked to inflation, so it suits the liabilities of pension funds and insurers.”
African governments have been called upon to consider shifting policy in the energy sector by investing in industrialisation and providing subsidies on electricity for people in rural areas who are extremely poor. African Management Services Company (AMSCO) Chairperson Ali Mufuruki proposed that governments should consider powering their communities using renewable energy as it is environmentally safe and easier to manage for people in remote areas, besides also being readily available. He said a lot of money is being allocated in budgets on rural electrification, which uses extensive infrastructure just to light up one village when those villages can use renewable energy as an alternative. Mufuruki called on governments to look at investing in green energy as it can lead to greater productivity on the African continent, besides helping these governments move forward at a faster rate.
Africa’s energy revolution, one of the biggest overlooked stories of our time, is poised to change the lives of millions of Africans. The best-known example is Africa’s “leapfrogging” directly to mobile phones, bypassing landline connections and using mobiles to move money, consult farm prices and much more. A less well-known example is Africa’s embrace of renewable energy to leapfrog older power generation technologies, while also reducing the need to extend the national energy grid to remote villages. From an African perspective, renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind power, have two powerful advantages: speed and decentralization. They can be rolled out much more quickly than fossil fuel-fired power plants and they can operate both on grid and off grid.
Key issues affecting electricity and energy supply in Africa currently include dependence on diesel power, erratic electricity grids and insufficient generation capacity. If the current power consumption trends continue, it is estimated that by the year 2030, 655 million people in Africa will be without access to power. Overall, it is estimated that approximately 600-million people in Sub-Saharan Africa currently lack access to electricity. At the heart of Africa’s power sector problem is the fact that insufficient generation capacity and limited electricity supply results in low access. Together with geographic constraints, these are barriers to the development of the electricity market in Africa says Issam Darwish, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of IHS Towers Group. Research also showed that a 680 percent increase in net renewables capacity deployment is required if Africa is to achieve the ambitious goal of 300gW of renewable capacity by 2030 set by the African Renewable Energy Initiative. Moreover while fossil fuels, notably coal, oil and gas, continue to provide a significant quantity of energy to the continent, there is also a need for cleaner and more long-term, sustainable energy solutions to be developed. As a result, renewables must play a greater role in Africa’s energy mix.
The potential to produce electricity from wind turbines in South Africa is significantly greater and much more widespread than initially thought, according to a recent study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Using Port Elizabeth as an example, scientists demonstrated that the supply of wind and solar power could provide a constant stream of electricity. They said South Africa has almost twice the solar resource of Germany, where solar power is close to cost competitiveness. In addition, they remarked that South Africa had outpaced the United States in terms of wind energy in just two years. “The magnitude and cost-competitiveness of wind power in South Africa are on par with that of solar power,” CSIR Energy Centre research group leader Crescent Mushwana said. “[Also], wind and solar power are complementary, with wind supply peaking in the evening and solar power at midday.” Wind and solar projects in Port Elizabeth were used to demonstrate this point. Mushwana said the study had found that the total technical wind power potential in South Africa was 6 700GW, which was large enough to supply the entire world’s electricity demand.
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