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  • Ethiopia builds Africa’s first energy plant that converts trash into electricity
  • Sweden and Kajiado partner to produce electricity, gas from waste
  • Second-generation solar street lighting: Technology evolution and applications
  • Morocco approves two hydropower plants
  • NAWEC signs power supply contract with Karpower
  • Africa included in EIB’s latest funding round
  • Gravitricity sets sights on South Africa to test green energy tech
  • East Africa to explore the micro-utility space
  • Malawi: IPP issues tender for 40MW solar power plant
  • Power Africa launches initiative to boost energy access in Uganda
  • African gas market trends show massive growth expected
  • Seychelles recognised for improved climate and energy strategies
  • Kenya: European bank backs solar growth
  • Mali: Financing approved for Akuo Kita Solar power plant
  • Morocco, Finland table clean energy cooperation
  • AfDB presents bold new electrification strategy
  • EU supports Tanzania’s national energy efficiency strategy
  • Kenya:Centum affiliate firm to get Sh19.5bn for geothermal plant
  • Off-grid refrigerator competition promotes solar energy
  • Solar firm to expand services after Sh2 billion funding deal
  • Ghana to benefit from off-grid solar solutions partnership
  • Zambia: renewable energy generation capacity amplifies
  • Nigeria: Off-Grid Energy Challenge now open for Nigerian developers
  • Mini-grid operator secures $20m equity investment
  • KENYA: Farmers in Kisumu reap big with cost-friendly solar water pumps
  • SustainPower delivers locally manufactured biogas power generator to ibert
  • Egypt: mega solar generation park gains international support
  • AfDB forms partnership to drive off-grid energy investments

    Ethiopia builds Africa’s first energy plant that converts trash into electricity

    Waste management is one of the biggest challenges confronting many African countries. The issue of collection, management and disposal of solid waste still features highly in major towns and cities across the region. Failure to correctly manage waste disposal has often led to flooding and the outbreak of diseases. In Ethiopia, its largest rubbish dump Koshe was for almost 50 years, home to hundreds of people who collect and resell rubbish trucked in from around the capital Addis Ababa. It, however, made headlines last year when it killed about 114 people, compelling the government to rethink an alternative use for the site which is said to be the size of 36 football pitches. Ethiopia has since turned the site into a new waste-to-energy plant via the Reppie Waste-to-Energy Project which is the first of its kind in Africa. This forms part of efforts to revolutionise waste management practices in the country.

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    Sweden and Kajiado partner to produce electricity, gas from waste

    Sweden has partnered with Kajiado County to produce electricity and gas from waste in major towns. The Scandinavian country is targeting total recycling of solid and liquid waste from the county’s urban centres. Areas targeted through International Centre for Local Democracy (ICDL) are Rongai, Kiserian, Kitengela and Ngong. Their waste will be recycledalongside that from Machakos and Nairobi counties. ICDL will implement the project through Umea City's international project on solid and waste water management. Kajiado Deputy Governor Martin Moshisho and Umea City's Mayor Margaretta Ronngaren signed the deal in Sweden last week. "The partnership will run into millions of shillings. We have now started to craft a master plan that will guide the exact amount of funds to be availed to Kajiado County," said Moshisho. "From our preliminary talks, it will definitely be more than Sh300 million."Moshisho said the project had suffered a lull last year due to political uncertainty. "We are now back on track with the new confirmation of funding from Sweden," he said. Umea City's Head of International Affairs, Cathrin Alenskar, confirmed that targeted waste will be from the rapidly growing towns.

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    Second-generation solar street lighting: Technology evolution and applications

    Strong technical evolutions have taken place in the field of solar street lighting with the rise of solar and LED technologies. These technological innovations include ten years lifespan batteries, smart battery and lighting management systems (such as no black-out function), anti-theft features and easy plug-and-play installation.This evolution is a real game-changer for many public and private applications as solar powered street lighting becomes a viable option. The market uptake of these products will contribute towards a more sustainable and smart city with solar-powered products, lower greenhouse gas emissions and enhanced connectivity.Off-grid solar systems such as solar street lights have been designed and available on the market for more than 40 years. However, their price and performance limited their market uptake. First generation solar street lights were made of conventional solar panels on top of a pole associated with a lead-acid battery (either buried, at the bottom or on top of the mast), a charge controller and a lantern.

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    Morocco approves two hydropower plants

    French renewable energy producer, Voltalia has obtained permits for the development of two hydropower plants with a capacity of 9.8MW and 7.2MW, respectively in Morocco. This was revealed during a Photovoltaica congress of renewable energies in Marrakech. Delivered by the Moroccan Ministry for Energy, the permits relate to two hydropower plant projects that will be located in the Middle-Atlas region. According to the renewable energy firm, these permits follow positive technical approvals delivered by the National Bureau for Electricity and Drinking Water regarding the connection of the plants to the national grid. “These permits come as a recognition of the extensive work done over the past three years by our Moroccan team," declares Sébastien Clerc, CEO of Voltalia. The concerned water basin agencies have also given a green light, taking into account the quality of the projects presented by Voltalia. The electricity produced will be sold under long-term private Power Purchase Agreements, which are currently under negotiation with corporate clients. “They confirm Voltalia’s capacity to position itself as a first class partner for the electricity provision of its clients, at a competitive price,” adds Yoni Ammar, CEO of Voltalia Morocco.

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    NAWEC signs power supply contract with Karpower

    The National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) has signed a 30MW power supply contract with Turkish Company, Karpower. The contract according to the authorities is a mutual agreement that will last for two years, reports Foroyaa. The Minister of Energy, Fafa Sanyang, said the agreement is a milestone drive for government to provide reliable, sustainable and affordable energy supply to the people of the Gambia for sustainable economic growth and development. The minister noted that for over 52 years since the Gambia gained independence, the energy sector continues to be a major challenge prompting the government to recognise the urgency to transform and modernise the energy sector. Sanyang said the signing of the contract is a short-term plan to improve capacity on the energy sector roadmap. The objective, he said is for NAWEC to rehabilitate, repair and maintain the implementation of on-going projects that will eliminate the energy constraints.

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    Africa included in EIB’s latest funding round

    The European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved €6.5 billion ($8 billion) in funding for projects in EU countries, Africa, Asia and Latin America. The announced funding will support some 36 projects in 17 EU countries including energy, transport, housing and water schemes in the other three regions. A total of $2 billion has been set aside for the EIB to partner with international financial institutions in issuing green bonds in developing economies worldwide. The green bonds will be used to address challenges associated with changing climate. The set aside budget will help countries secure energy supply through expansion of energy generation resources. For instance, African countries to benefit from the initiative will improve access to electricity to underserved consumers through the development of medium sized renewable energy projects. A 17MW wind farm will be developed in Lower Austria and hydropower plant in Georgia, using the funding. EIB says a share of the $8 billion will be directed towards modernising energy distribution networks and for smart meter rollout in Italy and Spain, respectively. The Scottish city of Dundee will construct a new waste to energy project. The Rwandan capital, Kigali, will benefit from the development and modernisation of its water infrastructure and improve water services. Werner Hoyer, president of the EIB, said: “New financing approved today demonstrates the EIB’s firm commitment to improving education, energy, transport, housing and water needs and ensuring that businesses can expand. This includes both new initiatives to transform the global green bond market and improve daily life in western, central and southern Africa.” The approval was made during EIB’s first meeting of 2018 held in Luxembourg last week.

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    Gravitricity sets sights on South Africa to test green energy tech

    Disused mine shafts in South Africa have been identified as an ideal location to test UK-based energy start-up Gravitricity’s green energy technology. The company announced plans to transform disused mine shafts into hi-tech green energy generation facilities through a system that uses gravity and massive weights. Gravitricity received a £650, 000 ($907, 000) grant from Innovate UK, the British government’s innovation agency, to kick-start their plan to harness the power of gravity to store renewable energy. The technology uses a massive weight suspended in mine shafts to capture green energy, and then release it in seconds. Should this plan by Gravitricity succeed, their technology could breathe new life into former mining communities and with it jobs and economic activity. The UK grant will enable them to start building a scale demonstrator later this year, and find a site to install a full-scale prototype by 2020. They are now on the look-out for investors, including those who can bring mining experience to the team and suitable shafts to trial their technology. “So far there is a lot of focus on batteries, but our idea is quite different,” says Charlie Blair, the company’s managing director. “As we rely more and more on renewable energy, there is an increasing need to find ways to store that energy – so we can produce quick bursts of power exactly when it is needed,” explains Blair.

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    East Africa to explore the micro-utility space

    A village in East Africa is soon to be the recipient of a solar-powered microgrid, which will be able to supply power to more than one village. With no utility or supporting infrastructure in the area, EnSync Energy Systems, a developer of innovative distributed energy resources (DERs), is seeking to install a 180kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system paired with a 112-kWh energy storage system this spring. According to the energy developer, the project was sold to a buyer who will sell electricity to village residents via the microgrid, essentially serving as the area micro-utility. Adding that Africa is projected to contain 35,000 microgrids by 2021 that will serve as key electricity providers to millions of people who currently lack access. "The DER SuperModule enables rapid commissioning of an advanced microgrid, significantly reducing project construction schedule and cost," said Dan Nordloh, executive vice president of EnSync Energy. Nordloh explained: "The system offers simplicity, while also mitigating the risks associated with integrating multiple distributed energy resources.“Our customer was looking for a way to serve as the utility, selling affordable and reliable electricity to remote villages on a mobile phone-based payment platform. ”The project was designed on the village's initial expected energy load to appropriately size the microgrid's solar and storage components. The resulting micro-utility configuration will remain flexible through the company’s SuperModule's supporting technologies. Brad Hansen, chief executive officer of the energy firm said that the African market is shifting towards distributed energy resource-based generation and distribution, with more of these types of micro-utilities to be expected in the coming future.

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    Malawi: IPP issues tender for 40MW solar power plant

    Malawian-based independent power producer, JCM Matswani Solar Corp, seeks to develop a 40MW solar photovoltaic (PV)project. The power producer has issued a Request for Expression of Interest, to select EPC contractors for the solar PV project to be located in the Salima District of central Malawi, reports PV magazine. JCM Matswani is a special purpose vehicle owned by UK provider of project development and funding services for infrastructure projects in sub-Saharan Africa, InfraCo Africa Limited; Canadian-based private equity firm, JCM Power; and South Africa’s Matswani Capital. JCM Power and InfraCo Africa will provide the development capital to bring the project to financial close. Matswani Capital, through a separate services agreement, will provide development services to the project in Malawi, the tender’s document states. According to the details in the tender document, the project may also have a power range of between 20MW and 40MW. Interested developers will have to submit their bids by 2 March 2018. The project, which will sell power to local utility, ESCOM under a 20-year PPA, was selected in a public tender held by Malawi’s government between December 2016 and May 2017.

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    Power Africa launches initiative to boost energy access in Uganda

    Power Africa, a US government-led initiative, has announced the launch of the Power Africa Uganda Electricity Supply Accelerator, which will boost the east African country’s generation capacity by 1,000MW. With an estimated cost of $11 million, the facility will assist the Uganda government in establishing 1,000,000 new connections by 2020. The announcement occurred at the Uganda Solar Energy Association Expo in Kampala, where senior officials from the Governments of Uganda and the United States as well as other Power Africa partners highlighted important developments in Uganda’s off-grid electrification efforts. US Ambassador Deborah R. Malac and UK High Commissioner Peter West also announced programmes to support the continued growth of energy access in Uganda in order to increase economic opportunities for all Ugandans.“Solar home systems can contribute greatly to national development,” said Ambassador Malac. “With solar energy, we can power irrigation systems; we can store medicine in rural health centers; and we can improve the quality of education children receive.

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    African gas market trends show massive growth expected

    The African gas sector is expected to boom in 2018, as the region begins to recover economically and investment increases. Governments in West African countries are increasing their efforts to secure stable gas supply to enhance power generation capacity and rely less on revenue generated by crude oil. This includes developing pipelines, floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platforms and major gas field projects. Gas discoveries are stimulating sector growth and infrastructure development in the following countries; Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania on the east coast, while the emergence of shale gas and the strategic environmental assessment commissioned by the South African government leads the way for exploration on the continent. At the end of 2016, Africa had proven natural gas reserves of 503.3 Tcf (trillion cubic feet), indicating an increase of around 1% in total gas reserves on the continent. Though, 90% of gas production continues to come from Algeria, Nigeria, Egypt and Libya.According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) natural gas will take the lead in meeting the world future energy needs, and demand will grow faster than oil and coal at 1.6% per year over the next five years.

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    Seychelles recognised for improved climate and energy strategies

    The 2018 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) has ranked Seychelles as the most improved country over the past decade in terms of its climate and energy strategies. This biennial report, produced by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, attributes this ranking to the Seychelles’ commitment to combating greenhouse gas emissions through implementing new policies and schemes.This has been achieved through its active efforts in increasing renewable power installations and looking at smarter technologies. Speaking with Seychelles News Agency, the Principal Secretary for Climate Change and Energy, Wills Agricole, explained: “Seychelles has stepped up its effort over the previous years in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by accelerating the transition to renewable sources of power through introducing smart renewable energy and energy efficiency schemes in both domestics and commercials sectors.” In addition, Agricole said: “The increase of imported hybrids and electric vehicles in the country, which consume less fossil fuel and emit fewer pollutants into the atmosphere, hence decoupling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from economic activity, has contributed to this marked improvement." To secure a higher EPI ranking in 2019, Agricole said that the Island needs to “improve on data collection, reporting, and verification across a range of environmental issues urgently.”

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    Kenya: European bank backs solar growth

    The European Investment Bank (EIB) is finalising a Sh7.5 billion ($78 million) loan for construction of two solar power plants in Kenya. The credit is evident that there is growing interest by global organisations in financing renewable projects in the east African country. “The financing will be finalised soon, this year,” said EIB East Africa head Catherine Collin. According to the bank, the funds will go to Radiant Energy and Eldosol Energy – co-owned by the same shareholders – Frontier Investment Management, Selenkei Investment Limited, Cedate Limited, Interpro International LLC and Paramount Bank.The solar plants, which have a capacity of 40MW each, will be connected to the national power grid and the electricity will cost Sh12.36 per unit ($0.12) under Kenya’s feed-in-tariff for solar power, the Business Daily reported. The bank has estimated a total project cost of Sh17.6 billion ($177 million). Therefore, the bank loan will be used towards the overall cost and the developers will raise the remaining Sh10.1 billion ($98 million). This announcement comes shortly after Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, said the private sector should be encouraged to participate in generation and transmission projects. “Africa has huge potential for renewable power generation that the private sector should invest in,” Kenyatta said at a roundtable meeting in Addis Ababa last week.

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    Mali: Financing approved for Akuo Kita Solar power plant

    The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) and French green IPP, Akuo Energy, have confirmed financing for the 50MW Akuo Kita Solar power plant, in southern Mali. The €78 million ($96 million) project will include a transmission line that will feed directly into the electricity grid. The pair claims that this project will be the largest solar farm yet built in West Africa. Akuo Kita Solar will sell its power to national utility, Electricité du Mali SA, under a 28-year power purchase agreement. EAIF, the Mandated Lead Arranger on the Akuo Kita Solar project financing, has arranged the senior debt facility for a total of €54 million ($67 million) over 15 years. The company is a part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) together with GuarantCo and Green Africa Power (GAP) who also contributed to the project financing. EAIF’s share of the debt package is €17 million ($21 million). The transaction was co-arranged with the Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement. GAP is providing a mezzanine facility of €8 million ($10 million) over 20 years and GuarantCo a Debt Service Reserve Account guarantee.

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    Morocco, Finland table clean energy cooperation

    Ministerial officials from Morocco and Finland met on Wednesday to discuss the long-term strategy on the clean energy cooperation. During a ministerial visit to Morocco, Finnish Minister of Environment, Energy and Housing, Kimmo Tiilikainen, met with Moroccan Minister of Energy, Mining and Sustainable Development, Aziz Rabbah, to discuss the way forward. Tiilikainen said Finland and Morocco have made strides in transforming into "green and ecological society," adding that the two countries share the will for further cooperation in the use of energy from renewable sources, XinhuaNet reported. Leading a delegation of 19 representatives of companies operating in the sectors of water, waste management, energy and the bio-economy, the Finnish Minister is confident that two countries can work together in creating new routes to market and the circular economy. "Morocco has the assurance of benefiting from our expertise and our solutions in the field of renewable energy,” said the Finnish Minister.The north African country, set the target of generating more than half of its power from renewable resources by 2030 adding that it will increase its renewable energy target from 42% by 2020 to 52% by 2030.

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    AfDB presents bold new electrification strategy

    Through the new strategy titled New Way of Working, the African Development Bank (AfDB) plans to electrify 29.3 million people in Africa by 2020. The President of the Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, made this statement at the High Level Event on “New Way of Working: From Vision to Action-National, Regional and Global Dimensions” at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Ethiopia this week. United Nations agencies signed a “Commitment to Action” document at the World Humanitarian Summit in which they agreed on a New Way of Working in crises. Adesina called on the UN Secretary General to join him in supporting the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility to also work differently, and step up support to co-pay for climate risk insurance for vulnerable African countries.“The AfDB is today at the forefront of investing in renewable energy in Africa. The share of renewable energy in the Bank’s energy portfolio increased from 14% when I became President in 2015 to 100% last year,” he noted. He added, “Our support last year alone provided 3.8 million Africans with access to electricity. And, with adequate financing, we expect to reach 29.3 million people with access to electricity between 2018 and 2020.”The Bank has stepped up and pledged to support African countries to pay for insuring themselves against catastrophic weather events that displace their public expenditures. It plans to provide $76 million in 2018 for the payment of insurance premiums, with participating countries providing $31.5 million and the African Risk Capacity Agency providing $16 million.

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    EU supports Tanzania’s national energy efficiency strategy

    The European Union (EU) has assured its continued commitment to collaborating with the Ministry of Energy in facilitating the development of a National Energy Efficiency Strategy. This will be done through the EU Technical Assistance Facility for the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative - Eastern and Southern Africa, reports The Citizen. Media cited a statement by the EU stating that the facilitation started with a recent consultation workshop to discuss the scope and process in developing the 20-year Energy Efficiency Strategy for Tanzania. The workshop also discussed advantages and challenges of energy efficiency, and the importance of the Energy Efficiency Strategy in achieving the overall goals of the 2015 National Energy Policy.The EU is a long standing partner supporting the energy sector in Tanzania," noted the statement signed by Anna Muro Temu, assistant Aid Effectiveness and Visibility officer at the EU office in Dar es Salaam. According to media, last year the EU supported the Ministry of Energy to develop an Energy Performance Regulatory Framework for large Buildings.

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    Kenya:Centum affiliate firm to get Sh19.5bn for geothermal plant

    The European Investment Bank has offered a Sh19.5 billion loan to a firm partly owned by Centum Investments for generating geothermal electricity.The EIB on Tuesday said that the €155 million (Sh19.5 billion) financing package to Akiira Geothermal Ltd will be finalised soon.The power project is based in Akiira Valley in Naivasha and will have a capacity of 70 megawatts upon completion. “The loan is under commercial terms but will be lower than 10 per cent interest in euros after risk pricing,” said EIB East Africa head Catherine Collin on the sidelines of an energy conference at Strathmore University in Nairobi.

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    Off-grid refrigerator competition promotes solar energy

    The Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development has announced the results of the 2016-17 Global LEAP Awards Off-Grid Refrigerator Competition, identifying the world’s best, most energy-efficient refrigerators designed for compatibility with off-grid solar energy systems. SunDanzer who won in two categories, designed the DCR50 product specifically for submission into the Global LEAP Awards. The DCR50 requires just over 100 Watts to run for an entire day, substantially less than conventional refrigerator products, and offered the best value for money. SunDanzer’s other winning product, the DCR165, uses energy most efficiently as determined by performance metrics including daily energy consumption and the time required to achieve and maintain a target temperature. The purpose of the Global LEAP Awards is to incentivise innovation and identify best-in-class appliance products that are compatible with small-scale off-grid solar energy systems. These products can help build demand and accelerate growth for solar household systems.In addition to the two innovation prize winners, a third innovation prize will be awarded – for Appropriate Design and User Experience – following field testing in Uganda in early 2018.

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    Solar firm to expand services after Sh2 billion funding deal

    Azuri Technologies, a leading provider of pay-go solar products and services across sub-Saharan Africa, has launched Sh2 billion ($20 million) off-balance-sheet debt financing program to provide working capital for the expansion of off-grid energy and service provision in East Africa. Announcing the deal at the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association conference in Hong Kong, CEO Simon Bransfield-Garth said the program will be deployed in phases in the course of 2018. The first phase of Sh400million ($4 million) to be deployed in Kenya, has already been concluded and will provide additional financing to enable Azuri supply its PayGo solar systems, including satellite-TV solution, and future product solutions. “Completing the first phase of our receivables financing program is a major step for Azuri. The support of ElectriFI is a great vote of confidence in the opportunity in the African off-grid home solar sector as a whole, and in Azuri in particular. It will enable us to attract a new set of commercial investors to expand the impact of our work,” said Azuri’s CEO, Simon Bransfield-Garth. Subsequent phases of the program will expand to Azuri’s other key territories in East Africa including Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The Azuri financing program allows commercial debt to be raised and secured against the future revenues of Azuri customers.

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    Ghana to benefit from off-grid solar solutions partnership

    Rooftop solar provider, Off Grid Electric, in partnership with EDF, will expand their off-grid solar solutions offering to households in Ghana. To support continued expansion and new product development, Off Grid Electric has secured the largest venture equity investment worth $55 million in Series D funding led by Helios with support from GE Ventures and existing investors. Off Grid Electric, through its consumer brand Zola, combines Silicon Valley technology with local expertise to offer African homes and businesses rooftop solar as a solution to an ‘unreliable or non-existent grid’.The company’s co-founder and CEO, Xavier Helgesen, said: “2017 was a memorable year for Off Grid Electric. We achieved operating profitability in our largest market, launched a transformative new phase of product and technology development, and established clear market leadership in four African markets.” The company currently provides power to more than 150,000 homes and businesses across Tanzania, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana.Off Grid Electric and EDF first partnered for a joint venture in Côte d’Ivoire in November 2016. Building on their success in Côte d’Ivoire, where the company already has over 10,000 customers, the pair is expanding their partnership to Ghana. Both companies will operate and share financial risks. The Ghanaian company CH Group will join Off Grid Electric and EDF, and hold a 20% share in the partnership.

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    Zambia: renewable energy generation capacity amplifies

    A planned 34MW peak solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant, which will be developed by Ngonye Power Company Limited, will soon come to fruition following the approval of financial guarantees.Among a series of guarantees approved in December 2017 by the World Bank Group, Zambia also acquired guarantees of up to $2.8 million in support of its clean energy sector. The guarantee will leverage approximately $48 million in private sector-led investment, the bank noted. The plant shall be situated in the Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone.The Ngonye Power Company Limited is a joint venture by Enel Green Power of Italy, and the Industrial Development Corporation of Zambia. Ina Ruthenberg, World Bank country manager for Zambia, commented: “The Ngonye project will increase and diversify Zambia’s renewable energy generation capacity and support government’s objective of diversifying the electricity generation mix to shield the country from climate induced shocks.”

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    Nigeria: Off-Grid Energy Challenge now open for Nigerian developers

    The US African Development Foundation (USADF), All On and other partners are calling on Nigerian energy developers to apply for the Off-Grid Energy Challenge. The Challenge is aimed at identifying innovative off-grid solutions to ‘power up’ underserved areas in Nigeria and will provide awards of up to $100,000 per enterprise.Applicants should be developing, scaling up or extending energy technologies to off-grid areas of Nigeria. To be considered for the Challenge, applicants must be 100% African-owned, majority Nigerian-owned and managed private companies registered in Nigeria, and must be operating in Nigeria. According to the Vanguard, USADF said: “Over the next three years, both parties (USAFD and All On) will jointly provide funding to Nigerian small and medium enterprises that improve energy access through off-grid energy solutions spanning solar, wind, hydro, biomass and gas technologies."The winners will have near-term solutions to power the needs of productive and commercial activities, including agriculture production and processing, off-farm businesses, and commercial enterprises.

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    Mini-grid operator secures $20m equity investment

    Multiple global financiers have approved a $20 million equity investment in support of the mini-grid market both in Asia and Africa. A rural distributed utility company specialising in the mini-grids market, Husk Power Systems, attained the investment from Shell Technology Ventures LLC, Swedfund International and ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies.The company’s CEO and co-founder, Manoj Sinha stated that the company is now poised to grow rapidly over the next four years and envisions adding over 300 mini-grids in India and Tanzania, deploying 15MW of 100% renewable power plant assets.Sinha said: “Together with our strategic partners, we are now confident of achieving our vision of becoming the world’s largest rural utility company providing 24/7, 100% renewable and affordable power to drive inclusive and sustainable development in growth markets. “We believe that mini-grids are the most capital efficient way to help reach 100% national electrification goals.” The company boasts to be the first company to use 100% biomass gasification from rice husks to generate electricity for households and small businesses.

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    KENYA: Farmers in Kisumu reap big with cost-friendly solar water pumps

    Hakima Mohammed, 57, earns a living through tree nursery farming. She owes her successful business venture to the use of a solar water pump, which has reduced the burden and cost of fetching water using jerrycans. “Before I got the solar pump, I used to work even on Sundays to ensure I have enough water for the tree seedlings. But with the solar pump and a storage tank, I have a day's rest and [time to spend] with my three children,” said the resident of Maseno, Kisumu West subcounty.She has increased the number of seedlings to 240,000 on her farm, where she has planted 30 tree species, both indigenous and exotic.“I have no background in forestry, but I learned everything I know about tree seedling from my late husband, who was a forester in Kisumu county," she said during a visit to the farm. "This business has enabled me to educate my two children up to university level, while the lastborn is in secondary school.”On a good day, Hakima makes between Sh20,000 and Sh100,000; seedlings goes for Sh10. “One customers can buy from 2,000 to 10,000 seedlings, especially the indigenous tree species, which are preferred for commercial purposes,” she said. Oliver Bill Odhiambo, 24, from Miguye village, Rabuor, Kisumu East subcounty, also has a solar water pump which he bought for Sh65,000.

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    SustainPower delivers locally manufactured biogas power generator to ibert

    SustainPower, together with Unique Hydra, recently delivered a locally manufactured biogas electrical power generator to ibert, a Southern Africa biogas company.The containerised combined heat and power unit (CHP) produces electricity and heat in a waste-to-energy process which, by recovering about 90% of the energy in the gaseous fuel, is very efficient. Biogas is a methane-rich gas which is produced during the breakdown of organic matter, e.g. agricultural waste, plant material, food waste etc, in an anaerobic digestion process, and is therefore considered a renewable energy source. Launched in May 2017 at the African Utility Week in Cape Town, SustainPower, which specialises in containerised sustainable power generation equipment, delivered its first 220kW CHP to ibert’s abattoir waste-to-biogas generation plant near Pretoria. The CHP, designed and manufactured in Cape Town, converts biogas into electrical power and thermal energy which is consumed by the abattoir.“For our previous biogas plants, we imported our generator sets directly from Germany because we could not find the right cost-effective technical solution in South Africa. Although the SustainPower team are the new players in the market, we trusted the team’s expertise and their innovative concept, and we have been very impressed with the end result,” says Horst Unterlechner, technical director, ibert biogas.“Whilst the biogas and waste-to-energy industry in Africa is still in its infancy, it has enormous potential as energy shortages and ineffective waste management are amongst the largest challenges in Africa,” says Tobias Hobbach, managing director of SustainPower. “

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    Egypt: mega solar generation park gains international support

    In North Africa, Egypt’s ambitious target to developing one of the world’s largest solar generation parks has gained international support.On Tuesday MIGA, a member of the World Bank Group, announced the guarantees of up to $102.6 million in support of the construction, operation and maintenance of six solar power plants in Egypt.The power plants will collectively have a combined capacity of up to 250MW, and represent the first set of a total of 12 projects approved by MIGA’s board in support of the country’s Solar Feed in Tariff (FiT) programme.A statement explained that the guarantees are being provided against the risks of Expropriation, Transfer Restriction and Inconvertibility, Breach of Contract, and War and Civil Disturbance. Some $5 million of coverage is being provided for by equity holder ib vogt GmbH of Germany for up to 15 years. While an additional $97.6 million of cover is being provided for up to 20 years to lender Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) of People’s Republic of China, bolstering the longer-term strength of the projects against fluctuating tariffs.

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    AfDB forms partnership to drive off-grid energy investments

    The African Development Bank (AfDB) has partnered with Calvert Impact Capital (CIC), Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) to drive investments in off-grid energy across Africa. Through the partnership, the AfDB approved a $30 million investment in the Facility for Energy Inclusion Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (FEI OGEF). This follows the approval of additional investments of $10 million from CIC, $8.5 million from GEF and €6 million ($7 million) from NDF. FEI OGEF is a $100 million blended finance debt fund designed to provide loans in local and hard currencies to off-grid energy companies with the dual objectives of scaling up access to clean electricity for off-grid households and crowding in local financial institutions as co-lenders.“FEI OGEF is the first Bank instrument that enables debt financing, including in local currency, to off-grid energy access companies who need growth capital to expand their operations across Africa,” said Astrid Manroth, Director, Transformative Energy Partnerships at the African Development Bank.

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