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  • SOUTH AFRICA: Soltrain initiative delivers two solar heating systems
  • CAMEROON: “Solar maternity” construction project launched
  • KENYA: Kalpataru, Sieyuan and Nari will transport Olkaria’s geothermal energy
  • SA wind industry to promote economic growth
  • KENYA: CDC Group invests $66 million in Malindi’s 52 MWp solar project
  • Solar hybrid systems to power Senegalese communities
  • SOUTH AFRICA: Nedbank issues green bonds for renewable energy
  • NIGERIA: The European Union invests heavily in renewable energies
  • Zambia: 34MW Ngonye solar PV plant comes online
  • Kenya’s Farmers Battle Drought through Biodiesel Made from Cotton Waste
  • Renewable energy fund achieves $227m in Africa
  • TANZANIA: Ngozi geothermal power plant construction to start in 2021
  • The Best Thing Tesla Has Done This Year Is In Eritrea
  • WEST AFRICA: World Bank releases $200 million for off-grid energy
  • Kenya signs US $65m deal for construction of Menengai III geothermal power plant
  • CAMEROON: Memve’éle and Mekin dams to start operating in 2020
  • GE invests in West African energy systems
  • CAR: World Bank allocates $54 million for 25 MW solar project in Bangui
  • Kenya to add 600MW of new wind capacity over next six years
  • ETHIOPIA: Bill to encourage private investment in geothermal energy

  • SOUTH AFRICA: Soltrain initiative delivers two solar heating systems

    South Africa, Africa’s largest coal producer and the eighth largest in the world, with 262 million tonnes, is trying to begin its energy transition to reduce its carbon footprint. Two recent projects, promoted by Soltrain, a solar thermal initiative, are good examples. The first part of the projects involves the Junction Campus in Witwatersrand (Wits), South Africa’s most prestigious university, located in Johannesburg, Gauteng Province. Here, the university campus (14 buildings with 1,103 rooms) has been equipped with a solar heating system. The 600 m2 installation, fixed on a central roof, is equipped with Austrian solar collectors on a surface of 10 m2. This system covers the entire demand, which amounts to 94,000 litres of hot water per day, including kitchens, laundry, cleaning and other domestic uses. Since the implementation of this system in October 2018, complaints of hot water failure have been reduced by 98% on campus. The university has also realised significant electricity savings. Over the next 20 years, the manufacturers of the solar heating system estimate the savings achieved to be close to 2.5 million euros.

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    CAMEROON: “Solar maternity” construction project launched

    Thirteen maternity hospitals will soon be connected to solar energy in Cameroon, thanks to an initiative by the former French Minister of the Environment, Ségolène Royal. The maternity hospitals will be powered by solar energy produced by each of the 13 municipalities selected and run by women members of the Cameroonian branch of the Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA-Cam): Bikok, Mbengwi, Mayo-Oulo, Mayo-Darle, Ngoyla, Afanloum, Andeck, Dzeng, Kon Yambetta, Doumé, Fokoué, Angossas and Garoua Boulay. The launching ceremony took place on May 13, 2019 in Bikok, a locality in the Central region, in the presence of Ségolène Royal, the Cameroonian Minister of Energy, Urban Development and Housing (and former head of REFELA), Célestine Ketcha Courtes and the French Ambassador to Cameroon, Gilles Thibault. The overall objective of the initiative is to strengthen the energy system in the health centres of the beneficiary municipalities. It will guarantee their energy autonomy with a project management of renewable energy production and distribution technologies. It is therefore planned to improve the quality of the electricity supply service in order to guarantee better medical conditions during delivery phases. The activities are often disrupted by untimely power cuts; incidents that have an impact on the number of deaths recorded during births.

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    KENYA: Kalpataru, Sieyuan and Nari will transport Olkaria’s geothermal energy

    The population of the western counties will soon consume electricity produced from a much greener source than before: geothermal energy. To this end, three companies have been chosen by the authorities to quickly install the Olkaria-Lessos-Kisumu high-voltage line. These are the Indian company Kalpataru Power Transmission and two Chinese companies, Shanghai Siyuan Electric and Nari Group. In the coming months, they will build a 220 kV/400 kV high-voltage line 300 km long. This will replace an existing 132 kV line that was suffering from electricity losses. The Kenyan authorities estimate that the future infrastructure will save up to 2 billion Kenyan shillings (close to $20 million) per year. Most importantly, the Olkaria-Lessos-Kisumu high-voltage line will lift the counties of western Kenya out of their dependence on hydropower, which has been stagnating recently due to drought, lowering river flows and reducing the production capacity of the Sondo Miriu (60 MW) and Turkwel (106 MW) hydroelectric power stations. The new high-voltage line will transport energy from the Olkaria geothermal site in the Rift Valley to western Kenya. The Olkaria-Lessos-Kisumu high-voltage power line construction project comes at a time when Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), Kenya’s largest electricity producer, is about to commission the 165 MW Olkaria V geothermal power plant.

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    SA wind industry to promote economic growth

    Recent data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) puts Africa in third place with 8.4% growth in renewables capacity, which is largely made up of wind. According to the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), South Africa is spearheading this sector forward, contributing to greater social and economic growth. SAWEA Chair, Mercia Grimbeek, explains that the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REI4P) “continues to be the most exciting wind energy opportunity globally. Many countries are looking to learn from SA’s experience and leapfrog to the next development level. It is the innovative technology that the African power sector needs". Also commenting, Janek Winand, managing director of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy in South Africa, who will be speaking at this year’s Windaba conference, noted: “With the promising development of the Integrated Resource Plan [IRP] potentially leading to continuous smooth procurement, coupled with the potential capacity to expand and build a supply chain locally, South Africa is poised to serve the sub-Sahara region. Furthermore, South Africa has become a centre of competence for project development and is geared to spread beyond borders.”

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    KENYA: CDC Group invests $66 million in Malindi’s 52 MWp solar project

    Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC Group) has decided to invest $67 million in the Malindi solar project. With an expected capacity of 52 MWp, the system is being developed by Malindi Solar Group, an ad hoc company created by Globeleq, an independent power producer (IPP). Jeremy Hunt, the British Prime Minister of Foreign Affairs, has recently toured the African continent, where he visited Kenya. In this East African country, he announced a series of investments, including in the Malindi solar project, which has received about $66 million. Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC Group), the British government’s development finance agency, is contributing $50 million and its partner, Globeleq, an independent power producer (IPP), the remaining $16 million. All in the form of a loan refundable over 16 years. The solar project is led by Malindi Solar Group, a company created ad hoc by Globeleq. The latter, 70% owned by CDC and 30% by Nordfund, will build a 52 MWp solar park in Malindi, a coastal town in southeastern Kenya.

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    Solar hybrid systems to power Senegalese communities

    The total output capacity is 2MW, the storage capacity 2MWh. The plants will enable Senegal to supply power for very isolated sites and to diversify its energy mix. DHYBRID has been selected by the French EPC company and main contractor Omexom, the energy brand of the VINCI Energies Group, for these projects because of their scalable technology platform as well as the global track record in hybrid installations. “Senegal is working towards the continuous expansion of renewable and energy storage systems and we are particularly proud to be part of this transition. That our scalable system has been selected by Senelec and Omexom as their technology platform is a great milestone in the development of DHYBRID,” said DHYBRID CEO, Benedikt Böhm. According to a company statement, the total project will generate enough power to cover the annual needs of 140,000 people and will avoid atmospheric CO2 emissions amounting up to 19,000 tonnes per year, equivalent to the emissions of a car driven 135 million kilometres. It will be part of a €26.8 million ($30 million) investment, financed by the German bank KFW and Senelec, the national electricity company of Senegal, consisting of the hybrid sites and an additional 15MW PV installation.

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    SOUTH AFRICA: Nedbank issues green bonds for renewable energy

    In the coming months, one wind farm and three solar farms will be built on South African soil. They will be financed by Nedbank. To this end, the South African bank launched green bonds at the end of April 2019 to raise $117 million. The operation, however, generated close to $380 million in offers, or a subscription rate of 300%, in less than two weeks. A little overwhelmed by the success, the bank’s managers nevertheless explain that the operation was such a success, because the money was to be used to promote the development of renewable energies. For Bruce Stewart, head of the bank’s debt markets origination, the green bond issue was “widely subscribed, demonstrating investors’ appetite for good quality assets, for environmentally friendly or socially and governance-oriented projects. These bonds were listed on the green segment of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). They were conducted in accordance with the green bond principles of the International Capital Market Association and the Climate Bonds Standard.

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    NIGERIA: The European Union invests heavily in renewable energies

    The European Union has decided to mobilise €195 million through two operations. On the one hand, an EU loan of €165 million for this West African country, which was recently announced at the inauguration of a solar tree at the headquarters of the European Union delegation in Abuja, the country’s capital. “A very large number of people do not have access to affordable energy options. The European Union has set aside €165 million, complemented by other financing opportunities for Nigerian companies to promote better use of renewable energy in the country,” said Ketil Karlsen, the European Union’s Ambassador to Nigeria. No details have yet been given on how the European Union intends to invest the €165 million. However, to promote people’s access to electricity, this investment should be used to support companies that invest in off-grid in Nigeria, particularly in solar energy. In the home solar kits sector, many women are offering their autonomous solar systems in rural areas. The second investment of €30 million will come from a facility provided by the Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI), an investment fund that supports the private sector in providing unserved areas with electricity. It is actually an investment facility that this European Union financial institution makes available to companies in Nigeria.

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    Zambia: 34MW Ngonye solar PV plant comes online

    The 34MW Ngonye solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, which is located in Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone, has commenced operations. Located in the south of Zambia, the plant, which is being developed by Enel Green Power (EGP), is part of the World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar programme carried out by Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). In June 2016, the project awarded EGP the right to develop, finance, construct, own and operate the plant. The Ngonye solar plant, which is owned by a special purpose vehicle, 80% held by EGP and 20% by IDC, is supported by a 25-year power purchase agreement signed with Zambia’s state-owned utility, ZESCO. Once fully up and running, the facility is expected to produce around 70GWh per year, while avoiding the annual emission of over 25,600 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. “Through this project, we are boosting the government’s ambitious push to improve access to electricity throughout the country, while diversifying its generation mix to hedge against severe drought and climate change effects. This successful project also confirms that effectively-designed development programmes, like Scaling Solar, are key to attracting private renewable investments in Africa," said Antonio Cammisecra, head of Enel Green Power.

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    Kenya’s Farmers Battle Drought through Biodiesel Made from Cotton Waste

    Recent years have been particularly tough on Kenya’s farmers. The country has endured three consecutive seasons of below-average rainfall. Last year, the government declared a national drought emergency for 23 of the country’s 47 counties; 13 are under drought emergency so far this year. This erratic rainfall is part of the reason nearly 3 million people are food insecure in the country. While irrigation systems could help provide a more stable source of water, they currently cover only six to eight percent of Kenya’s land. Some farmers, though, are gaining access to them through a novel source of power—biodiesel made from crushed cotton seeds. Taher Zavery runs a cotton-ginning factory in Kitui, a semi-arid county in central Kenya. He manufactures biodiesel by crushing the cotton seeds separated from cotton bales during ginning. By using waste instead of growing crops specifically for biodiesel (as other biodiesel-for-agriculture projects in Africa have), he has been able to produce quite a lot of fuel without adding to the problem of food scarcity. So far, he has provided loans for and supplied 105 biodiesel-fueled water pumps to nearby cotton and food crop farmers, with help from a USAID grant. The project has helped improve farmers’ incomes in the face of erratic weather. Abel Mutie lives about 12 miles from Kitui on a five-acre plot. He supplements his salary as a teacher in the local primary school with income from his farm. While he previously used a petrol-based water pump, the biodiesel-based pump offers several advantages.

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    Renewable energy fund achieves $227m in Africa

    An investment fund focused on the development of renewable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa, Frontier Energy II, has achieved final close at $227 million. The capital raised so far has been mainly invested in East Africa, but the fund is expected to increase its investments into other countries in sub-Saharan Africa in the medium term. The Danish fund manager, Frontier Investment Management, started its first renewable energy fund in 2011 with $70 million in capital, which it fully invested in six years. It achieved a $116 million first close of its second fund in 2017, and two years later has reached a $227 million final close in excess of its $200 million target, with a $58 million investment from Allianz, one of the world's leading insurers and asset managers. Allianz’s global head of private debt and opportunities, Dr Sebastian Schroff, commented: “Our investment in the fund is an important addition to our Africa investment strategy and our global renewable energy portfolio.

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    TANZANIA: Ngozi geothermal power plant construction to start in 2021

    New developments on Ngozi’s geothermal project. The construction of the plant, located in the Mbeya region of western Tanzania, will begin in 2021. The director of the Tanzania Geothermal Development Company (TGDC), Kato Kabaka, recently spoke out in this regard at a workshop for members of the Tanzania Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Minerals. “The government is currently finalising the process of amending the law that will facilitate the development of geothermal energy in the country,” said Kato Kabaka. He added that the authorities have already invested more than 20 billion Tanzanian shillings (US$8.7 million) in the construction project for the Ngozi geothermal power plant. This investment was used to acquire drills for the installation of geothermal wells on the project site. Kato Kabaka also pointed out that the Tanzanian government plans to develop seven geothermal projects between 2021 and 2025. They will be located in Songwe and Luhoi in the lower Rufiji River, as well as in Kiejo-and Mbaka, in Lake Natron in the heart of the Mbeya region. Once completed, the plants will produce 200 MW.

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    The Best Thing Tesla Has Done This Year Is In Eritrea

    Areza’s 1.25MW grid and Maidma’s 1MW set-up have brought reliable power to 40,000 people, and crucially, local businesses. The systems have displaced diesel generators freeing the new mini-grids’ customers from fluctuating diesel prices, burdensome maintenance and reduced air quality. “Our hope is that access to reliable electricity will support wider economic growth in the region and social development,” said Theo Guerre-Canon, project manager, Solarcentury at the time of the project’s commissioning. “For example, there’s a clinic in Areza that will now benefit from uninterrupted electricity. A similar solar-and-storage system in the Philippines, also using Tesla batteries, is enabling local fisherman to freeze their catch and sell it further afield. "The Eritrean project presents a model for rural electrification, and Solarcentury is in discussions about similar projects across Africa,” added Guerre-Canon. Whether you're a dyed-in-the-wool Tesla fanboy, or you love to hate them, it's impossible to ignore the scale of the opportunity for Tesla and its peers. Or the scale of the impact they can make.

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    WEST AFRICA: World Bank releases $200 million for off-grid energy

    The World Bank has decided to release more than $200 million, or a little over €179 million, to expand access to off-grid electricity in West Africa. The decision was approved on April 17, 2019 by the World Bank’s Board of Directors. The deliberation is part of the project to implement the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP). The latter is financed to the tune of $150 million by credits and grants from the International Development Association (IDA, a World Bank institution that provides interest-free or low-interest loans to poor countries). Nearly $75 million will be provided in the form of a grant from the Clean Technology Fund. The World Bank’s action therefore makes it possible to support the West African Development Bank and the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the electrification process in the sub-region. A total of 19 countries should benefit from this financing, the main objective of which is to improve access to electricity.

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    Kenya signs US $65m deal for construction of Menengai III geothermal power plant

    Kenya’s independent power producer (IPP) Sosian Energy has signed a deal worth US $65m with Chinese company Kaishan Renewable Energy Development, a subsidiary of Zhejiang Kaishan Compressor, build the Menengai III geothermal power plant in the Rift Valley in western Kenya. The project has the necessary permits for the construction, operation of the plant and sell the electricity to Kenya National Power. Under the contract the Chinese company has been tasked to drill geothermal wells and install pipes to transport steam to run the turbines of the geothermal power plant. Zhejiang Kaishan has also won an US $18m contract to operate and maintain the future Menengai III geothermal power plant for a period of 14 years. Upon completion the geothermal plant is projected to produce 34 MW of power. Sosian Energy, the owner of the plant, is one of the three PPIs selected for the development of the Menengai geothermal project. The other PPIs selected by the public company Geothermal Development Company (GDC) are: Orpower Twenty Two and Quantum Power East Africa. The three geothermal power plants under development will produce a total of 105 MW. This energy will be sold to Kenya Power, the company that provides the electricity utility. Moreover, the Quantum Power East Africa is set to receive a loan of US $29.5m from AfDB for the development of the power plant while the The Climate Investment Fund (CIF) (part of the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) has also committed US $20m towards the project .

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    CAMEROON: Memve’éle and Mekin dams to start operating in 2020

    The Cameroonian Minister of Water and Energy presided over a “power-up” ceremony of the Memve’ele hydroelectric dam on April 16, 2019. This made it possible to inject 80 MW into the interconnected grid in the south Cameroon region, according to the engineers in charge of operating the dam. “There is a 90 KV line from Ebolowa to Mbalmayo. We will therefore supply 80 MW from Memve’ele to Djop substation and transit to Mbalmayo. Then Eneo (National Electricity Distribution Company, editor’s note) will redistribute them to households,” they said. Construction of the Memve’ele hydroelectric dam began in January 2013 and is expected to be completed in 2017. The postponement of the delivery date is justified by the delay in the construction of a 30 km transport line, which separates the site of the dam from the city of Yaoundé. This infrastructure, with a total capacity of 211 MW, is built on the Ntem River, in the locality of Nyabizan, a village located 300 km from Yaoundé, the political capital of Cameroon and close to the border with Equatorial Guinea. The dam is being built by Sinohydro, a Chinese company specialising in the hydropower sector. In 2017, the Cameroonian government contracted a debt of nearly €371 million with Exim Bank of China to finance part of the dam.

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    GE invests in West African energy systems

    US industrial giant GE has plans to install and upgrade energy supply systems in Benin and Ivory Coast. GE Renewable Energy will build two new energy distribution systems in Benin and upgrade three substations in Ivory Coast as a commitment to energy access in West Africa. The Paris-headquartered renewables subsidiary of United States industrial giant General Electric (GE) has secured agreements with both countries to upgrade their systems at a time when lack of access to power, or unreliable access is one of the major factors holding back industrialisation and economic development across the continent. As such, there has been a big drive for investment in this area, led by institutions such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), which has made power supply one of its ‘High 5s’ goals and which recently invested in mini-grids in Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its work this year has also included feasibility studies for electricity co-operatives in Nigeria and Ethiopia and renewable energy in sub-Saharan Africa. Earlier this month, AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina used a speech in Washington, DC, to call for greater investment from the US, highlighting energy as a key sector.

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    CAR: World Bank allocates $54 million for 25 MW solar project in Bangui

    The Central African Republic (CAR) is to build a solar power plant. It will be located near the capital Bangui. The project has just received support from the World Bank. The international financial institution signed a $45 million loan agreement in Washington, D.C., with the Central African Minister of Economy, Planning and Cooperation, Felix Moloua, and the Minister of Finance and Budget, Henri-Marie Dondra. The solar power plant, scheduled to start construction in August 2019, will have a production capacity of 25 MW. The Central African government, which considers access to electricity to be a national emergency, is placing the solar project within the framework of the National Plan for Peace Recovery and Consolidation (RCPCA). The capacity of the Bangui solar power plant could be extended to 70 MW in the future. The CAR remains one of the African countries lagging behind in terms of population access to electricity. According to Moussa Ousman, Director of Energy at the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Hydraulics, the country has an electrification rate of 4% throughout its territory, which covers an area of 623,000 km². According to this official, the capital, Bangui, has a 20% electrification rate. There are regions at the other end of the spectrum that do not exceed 1%. The situation in these rural areas is simply not good. To address this situation, the government has set up the ambitious 2015-2030 Investment Project, one of the stages of which has just been completed with the construction of the 25 MW solar park project and the rehabilitation of the Boali II hydroelectric plant, currently under way.

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    Kenya to add 600MW of new wind capacity over next six years

    Kenya has announced plans to add up to 600MW of new wind capacity over the next 6 years with the aim of boosting access to power across the country. According to GE Renewable Energy Regional Executive for Sub-Saharan Africa Deo Onyango, there is a huge opportunity for wind energy sector and if utilized will see the country add between 50MW and 100MW of wind every year for the next five-to-six years. On the demand side, for sure there is a continued increase in demand for power with industry, with the population and with access as well. We however expect to see a slowdown of the government accepting PPAs on solar, said Deo Onyango. He further acknowledged that feed-in tariffs in Kenya had reduced to about 11 cents per kilowatt hour from 12 cents/kWh five years ago, though the government recently set a price cap of around seven cents/kWh. 70% of the nation's installed electricity capacity comes from renewable energy sources. The percentage more than three times the global average. The transition to fully renewable energy could further boost the population's access to the national power grid and reduce manufacturing production costs.

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    ETHIOPIA: Bill to encourage private investment in geothermal energy

    A new wind is blowing over the geothermal energy sector in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Energy Authority has just submitted a draft law to the Council of Ministers for approval. It concerns the facilitation of registration and licensing of geothermal project development permits. In concrete terms, this bill recommends classifying geothermal resources into two categories based on their energy capacity. Tier 1 resources are those that can be used to generate electricity. Category II includes geothermal resources used in agriculture, industry or the medical sector. Three different licences will be granted corresponding to the different stages of the geothermal energy exploitation process. For the initial phase, a two-year non-renewable recognition licence will be issued. In order to carry out exploration work, an exploration permit will be granted to the proponents for a period of five years with the possibility of renewal in two-year increments. Finally, well-field (steam) development licences will be issued for 25 years or a production concession with an option to extend for an unspecified period. The bill has every chance of being validated by the Council of Ministers since the Ethiopian government is in favour of the development of renewable energies and geothermal energy in particular. Ethiopia could produce up to 10,000 MW of electricity from this green energy source.

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