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  • AfDB's Solar Project Aims at Making Africa a Renewable Power House
  • USTDA finances two renewable energy projects
  • NIGERIA: Off-grid hybrid solar power plant inaugurated in Bayero
  • Sinohydro conducts preliminary tests on Karuma’s 600 MW dam
  • Partnership for 5,000 MW solar megaproject
  • ZIMBABWE: Several renewable energy projects to supply national grid with 300 MW
  • Toshiba follows on pact to develop geothermal energy in Malawi
  • New data platform helps expand access to clean electricity in East Africa
  • KENYA: Windlab and Eurus to build 80 MW hybrid power plant in Meru
  • Bboxx raises $50 million for solar home kits distribution
  • Kenya to host Africa’s first large scale hybrid wind
  • 35 MW hydroelectric power plant in project in Antananarivo
  • 16 inventions getting us off fossil fuels and into renewable energy
  • ALGERIA: 5,600 MW of solar power plants under construction
  • B2Gold to upgrade Fekola gold mine with 30 MW hybrid off-grid solar power
  • CTF Supplies $20 Million to AfDB’s Energy Inclusion Facility
  • UK Climate Investments announces £14m clean power investment in SA
  • ZAMBIA: Feasibility study by WSP USA for 150 MW hybrid project
  • Progress for Kingdom Of Eswatini’s energy mix dream
  • Sola Group obtains $26 million to supply off-grid to companies

  • AfDB's Solar Project Aims at Making Africa a Renewable Power House

    When UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched the International Solar Alliance last October, he applauded the goal of mobilizing about $1 trillion dollars towards the deployment of some 1,000 gigawatts of solar energy by 2030. “It is clear,” he said, “that we are witnessing a global renewable energy revolution.” That revolution is also taking place under the leadership of the African Development Bank (AfDB) which has embarked on a highly ambitious solar project to make Africa a renewable power-house, titled “Desert to Power (DtP) Initiative”. This project is expected to stretch across the Sahel region by tapping into the region’s abundant solar resource. The Initiative aims to develop and provide 10 GW of solar energy by 2025 and supply 250 million people with green electricity including in some of the world’s poorest countries. At least 90 million people will be connected to electricity for the first time, lifting them out of energy poverty. Currently, 64% of the Sahel’s population – covering Senegal, Nigeria, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea – lives without electricity, a major barrier to development, with consequences for education, health and business.


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    USTDA finances two renewable energy projects

    Two renewable energy projects in Africa are receiving funding from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). First of all, the Kipeto wind power project, which is led by Kipeto Energy Limited, the ad hoc company whose main shareholders are: the British investment fund Actis and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic), a financial institution established by the United States government. The Kenyan company Craftskills Wind Energy International also holds shares in Kipeto Energy Limited. It is to Kipeto Energy that the USTDA has decided to grant a subsidy that will be used for the technical feasibility study for this wind project. This phase of the project will be led by the American company Delphos International. According to the USTDA, the study will explore a battery energy storage solution that will improve the plant’s capacity and stabilise the intermittency of the energy supplied to the grid by the wind farm. In addition, the USTDA also provided a grant of more than $850,000 to WindGen Power USA, a US-based supplier of solar off-grid systems. The funds will be used to finance feasibility studies for a solar off-grid project in partnership with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Energy.


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    NIGERIA: Off-grid hybrid solar power plant inaugurated in Bayero

    One of Africa’s largest off-grid solar hybrid power plant is located at the University of Bayéro, Kano State, Nigeria. It has a 7.1 MW capacity and was inaugurated on September 3, 2019 in the presence of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. According to the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), the plant is equipped with 10,680 solar panels. The set is accompanied by emergency generators and a battery-powered energy storage unit. The plant will facilitate research at the university by ensuring a constant supply of electrical energy. In addition, it will save the university 4.5 million naira, or just over $12,000 in past expenditures on electricity supply. Damilola Ogunbiyi, Director of the Rural Electrification Agency of Nigeria (REA), said the book marks a further step in Nigeria’s commitment to green energy investment. “It is the largest off-grid solar power plant in Africa. We should, as Nigerians, be very proud of this, and of our federal government’s commitment to providing sustainable energy and good education,” she told the local press. The authorities announce that solar street lamps and a renewable energy training centre will also be installed at Bayero University.


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    Sinohydro conducts preliminary tests on Karuma’s 600 MW dam

    The Karuma hydroelectric project has entered the test phase of the new installations. The first tests have just been completed at this site in the Kiryandongo district of northwestern Uganda. According to Li Ji, the deputy project manager working for the Chinese company Sinohydro, the tests were carried out on the radial, inlet and outlet valves of the dam as well as on the turbines of the hydroelectric power plant. “Preliminary tests on key equipment began at the end of July and continued until the end of last month (August),” explains Li Ji. He added that “the confirmatory tests bring the project to 95% completion. Based on our current pace of work, we expect all work to be completed by December 2019, the commissioning deadline. At the Karuma dam construction site, Sinohydro is completing the finishing work, including on the access roads to the hydroelectric power plant. These completions also concern the switchyard of the Karuma-Olwiyo power transmission line. The Chinese company reports that 98% of the work on this part of the project has been done.


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    Partnership for 5,000 MW solar megaproject

    The 28th World Economic Forum on Africa has been held since Wednesday, September 4, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. If for the moment, the event is undermined by the news marked by xenophobic violence in the rainbow nation, some good news is nevertheless emerging. One of them concerns in particular the mega solar project currently being developed in southern Africa. It will be implemented jointly by Botswana and Namibia, says Global Future Councils, one of the world’s largest interdisciplinary knowledge networks dedicated to promoting innovative thinking. Several financial institutions such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) are members of the Global Future Councils. Namibia and Botswana will build solar power plants that will produce 5,000 MW. The megaproject plans to build both photovoltaic and concentrated solar power plants. It will be implemented in several phases. The first could be the subject of a 300 to 500 MW call for tenders to meet the domestic demand of both countries. A second stage is planned to produce between 500 and 1,000 MW of electrical energy. A third and final phase will build solar parks that will supply 1,000 to 3,000 MW. The electricity produced in the last two phases will be sold to southern African countries.


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    ZIMBABWE: Several renewable energy projects to supply national grid with 300 MW

    The Zimbabwean government wants to solve the problem of the electricity production deficit. The country wants to add 300 MW to the national grid in the near future. The Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) reports that electricity will be produced from two renewable sources: hydropower and solar power. The public financial institution will build a 50 MW solar power plant in Marondera, a town in the Mashonaland East Province. The IDBZ did not give more details about the project, but it is known that a consortium is developing a solar project in the same city. They are Green Rhino Energy, based in London and led by German solar experts, and the local company De Opper Trading. Together, they want to produce 150 MW for an investment of $400 million. The consortium will develop the project in three phases of 50 MW each. The electricity will be sold to the state-owned Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC).


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    Toshiba follows on pact to develop geothermal energy in Malawi

    Japanese multinational conglomerate, Toshiba has pledged to support the government of Malawi in the development of geothermal energy. The group’s president, Satoshi Tsukanawa, made the pledge when he held a side meeting with a Malawi Government delegation at the recent TICAD7 in Japan. Toshiba and representatives of Malawai met on the sidelines of TICAD7 following the signed 2018 Memorandum of Understanding that entailed Toshiba to strengthen “the development of energy sector in Malawi by building the capacity of the country’s human resource in the sector". “Toshiba is increasing its focus on Africa, including Malawi and we are going to support in the area of geothermal and hydropower systems,” said Tsukanawa. “So we would like to continue to have multilateral discussions on this on a win-win relationship basis,” he added. The support will be for “one young, talented and qualified Malawian in the said field up to Masters or Doctorate level would help in achieving sustainable development in the energy sector in Malawi,” said Tsuakanawa. He added that the identification of the candidate would be done in a couple of weeks to come through a transparent process between the Malawi Government and the Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA) in Malawi.


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    New data platform helps expand access to clean electricity in East Africa

    Nearly 840 million people worldwide do not have access to electricity and most of them reside in sub-Saharan Africa. In East Africa the numbers are staggering: nearly 13 million people in Kenya (25%), 38 million people in Tanzania (68%), and 31 million people in Uganda (78%) lack access to electricity. Using data to link growing electricity demand with clean energy supply is essential to expand electricity services to those without power, which is why the World Resources Institute and nearly 20 partners launched Energy Access Explorer. The dynamic open-source platform equips energy planners, donors and clean energy entrepreneurs with the information they need to electrify East Africa. Until now, electricity planners and suppliers have often been disconnected, using different tools and metrics to determine where supply was needed, versus where renewable energy could be installed. The platform was specifically designed to overcome this hurdle by combining more than 20 data sets on energy potential, population density, topography, income distribution and more.


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    KENYA: Windlab and Eurus to build 80 MW hybrid power plant in Meru


    An exciting new startup can make clean energy by vaporizing heaps of trash without any waste or emissions. The Sierra Energy company is aiming to tackle all of the non-recyclable garbage that ends up in landfills—from hazardous wastes and plastics to everyday trash and tires. The company’s modified blast furnace uses FastOx gasification technology to heat all of the trash to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about twice as hot as the heart of a volcano. While it may seem like this would require large amounts of energy, the system is able to generate the heat simply by injecting pure oxygen into the furnace. The oxygen then reacts with the carbon emanating from the rotting garbage in order to create carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The steam is then pumped back into the furnace to maintain the internal temperature. The fuel that is made from the FastOx technology is reportedly 20 times cleaner than California fuel standards. And all of the gases that are generated by the chemical process are captured for reuse—for instance, to replace fossil fuels that power airplanes or for use as fertilizer, hydrogen, or ethanol.The agreement was signed on the margins of the seventh session of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7), which has just ended in Yokohama, Japan. The hybrid plant, which will be built in central Kenya, will have 20 wind turbines, 40,000 solar panels and a battery storage system. All the installations will provide 80 MW of electricity.


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    Bboxx raises $50 million for solar home kits distribution


    Bboxx has replenished its coffers to finance its growth and expand its services on the African continent. The British company recently completed a fundraising campaign that resulted in a total of $50 million. The transaction was coordinated by Mitsubishi Corporation, the financing arm of the Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi. In addition to the Japanese group, several funding agencies participated in this operation. These are Engie rassembleurs d’énergies, an investment fund of the French company Engie, Bamboo Capital Partners, an investment fund based in Luxembourg, Doen Participaties, a Dutch investment fund that supports sustainable and social start-ups, and MacKinnon, Bennett & Company (MKB), a private equity firm specialising in clean energy, transportation and the smart city, based in Montreal, Canada. “This funding is further proof of Japan’s interest in Africa and solar energy around the world. Mitsubishi Corporation’s broad reach, industry and technology expertise will help us reach more people who do not have reliable access to public and modern services on a broader scale,” said Mansoor Hamayun, President and CEO of Bboxx.


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    Kenya to host Africa’s first large scale hybrid wind


    The Kenyan Investment Authority and Meru County Government have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with leading global renewable energy developers Windlab and Eurus Energy for the development of Africa’s first large scale hybrid wind, solar PV, and battery storage project – the Meru County Energy Park. Meru County Energy Park will provide up to 80MW of clean, sustainable renewable energy, consisting of up to 20 wind turbines and more than 40,000 solar panels. The project is expected to inject $150 million in investment to Meru County, Kenya and will produce enough reliable, predictable energy to power well over 200,000 homes. The agreement (which was signed at an official ceremony in the presence of Cabinet Secretary Foreign Affairs Ambassador Monica Juma of the Republic of Kenya, and Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan) forms part of the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7), which is being held this week in Yokohama, Japan. It is a flagship project for Meru County Investment and Development Corporation (MCIDC).


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    35 MW hydroelectric power plant in project in Antananarivo


    The Madagascan water and electricity company and an Italian partner are planning to build a hydroelectric power plant in Antananarivo. Combined with two solar installations, the facility will produce 35 MW of electricity to fill the energy gap in and around the capital of Madagascar. The complaints published on social networks by Internet users against Jirama, the national water and electricity company, are recurrent and numerous in Madagascar. According to figures published by the World Bank in 2018, only 15% of the population has access to electricity in this southern African country. To improve electricity supply, the country’s authorities are now focusing on renewable energies. An option for which Madagascar has great potential: 2,000 kWh/m²/year thanks to the 2,800 hours of sunshine per year, in terms of solar energy. However, Madagascar’s new energy project will not only rely on solar energy. It will combine both the sun and the strength of waterfalls. This includes the construction of a hydroelectric power plant in Antananarivo, which also includes two adjacent solar installations.


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    16 inventions getting us off fossil fuels and into renewable energy


    Much of the world's energy is sourced from fossil fuels. Several innovators and companies have developed inventions to help get the world off of non-renewable energy. For example, the HomeBiogas 2.0 turns food waste into gas, producing up to three hours of cooking gas. This whirlpool turbine can power dozens of homes in rural areas. It generates energy 24 hours a day. And can be installed in most rivers and canals. Free-flowing water powers up the generator's turbine. It's even safe for fish to pass through! The Waterotor turbine is made specifically for slow-moving water. It works in currents as slow as 2 mph… So it can be used almost anywhere. The designers say the turbine is the first of its kind. It's also safe for aquatic wildlife! This giant flower is made of solar panels. The SmartFlower mimics the way sunflowers absorb solar energy. The flower has a tracking system… Which it uses to track the sun, the same way real flowers do. The HomeBiogas 2.0 turns food scraps into gas! Bacteria digests the waste and turns it into biogas. The appliance can take up to 6 liters of waste per day… And can produce up to three hours of cooking gas. It can even make fertilizer!


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    ALGERIA: 5,600 MW of solar power plants under construction


    Algeria will strengthen its electricity grid by an additional 5,600 MW of energy. The country has announced its intention to launch a project to build solar power plants in this direction. Addressing the local press, Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab said that “current national expertise is capable of carrying out this project in all its stages, from study to final implementation.” Algeria has an annual production capacity of 20 GW, for a demand of 15.8 GW. The government plans to develop a new electricity consumption model based on a shift in the use of the country’s energy resources. This would, for example, increase industrial consumption to 30% of the energy consumed in the country. The new consumption model envisages giving a high priority to renewable energies. A solar power plant was installed for the first time in Algeria in 2011. Since then, the country has developed the sector and now has 22 power plants that produce electricity. However, Algeria occasionally experiences power cuts, particularly in the Annaba region in the east. This situation is due to the “obsolescence of the distribution networks”, the Minister recalled. To remedy this, “projects in the electricity generation and transmission sector have enabled to bring light to many dark areas”.


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    B2Gold to upgrade Fekola gold mine with 30 MW hybrid off-grid solar power

    A new solar photovoltaic power plant will soon be built in Mali. It is an off-grid project whose entire production will be destined for the Fekola gold mine located in the southwest of the country. The mine is operated by B2Gold, a global gold production giant based in Canada. The photovoltaic solar power plant project for the Fekola gold mine is not new since it has already been the subject of at least two feasibility studies. The first was conducted with the objective of determining the technical and economic viability of the project. The company that carried out this project opted for a 30 MW solar power plant, offering a battery storage solution. A second study was then carried out, confirming the results of the first. In the second half of 2019, the B2Gold mining operator confirmed its intention to exploit sunlight to supply electricity to its Fekola mine. But it opted for a hybrid power plant, i.e. during the day, the mine operated with electricity produced by solar panels, and at night, the generators running on heavy fuel oil took over.

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    CTF Supplies $20 Million to AfDB’s Energy Inclusion Facility

    The partners of the Energy Inclusion Facility (EIF) are already starting to provide funds for this credit line opened by the African Development Bank (AfDB). “On August 8, 2019, the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) approved a $20 million grant to the EIF to provide sustainable financing for small renewable energy projects in Africa,” AfDB announced. Together with the Climate Investment Fund (CIF), the CTF is one of the World Bank Group’s subsidiaries dedicated to climate finance. The investment it has just made to support the EIF consists of $4 million in second-rank equity and a $16 million first-rank concessional loan. This loan will be drawn from Private Sector Programme III. A programme that CTF has put in place to provide risk-based capital to finance major private sector projects in high-impact cle technologies. The EIF has two investment lines with distinct objectives. An amount of $100 million is allocated to the off-grid. This will enable off-grid providers to expand their services, especially in rural areas where people are often not connected to the national electricity grid.

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    UK Climate Investments announces £14m clean power investment in SA

    UK Climate Investments (UKCI) has announced a £14 million (R253 million) agreement with H1 Holdings to support the development of 254MW of clean energy projects across South Africa. In a company statement, UKCI explained that it will provide critical financing for the development of the Kruisvallei Hydro project in the Free State province (4MW), the Kangnas Wind Farm in the Northern Cape province (140MW) and the Perdekraal East Wind Farm in the Western Cape province (110MW). The financing will be provided through an innovative funding mechanism developed by UKCI in close consultation with H1 Holdings and designed to support Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) entities. The projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2020 and provide enough clean electricity to power nearly 200,000 homes each year. During their lifetime, they will help avoid approximately 844,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per annum. Richard Abel, the managing director of UKCI, said: "Over 90% of electricity generation capacity in South Africa currently relies on fossil fuels. Our partnership with H1 Holdings supports the country’s transition to a new energy mix – promoting cleaner growth in southern Africa’s largest economy whilst stimulating economic development in rural areas and supporting increased BEE participation in the renewables sector."


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    ZAMBIA: Feasibility study by WSP USA for 150 MW hybrid project

    Upepo Energy Partners’ Zambian subsidiary wants to produce 150 MW of electricity in northern Zambia from a hybrid power plant that will combine solar, wind and battery storage. This independent power producer (IPP), which invests mainly in East Africa, has chosen WSP USA for the feasibility study of its project. It is one of the subsidiaries of WSP Global, a consulting and engineering company based in Montreal, Canada. In the coming weeks, it is expected to determine the technical, financial and commercial viability of this hybrid project. This phase of the project received a grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), which, through Todd Abrajano, its Acting Deputy Director, “believes that this feasibility study will address the acute needs for energy production and battery storage in Zambia, while improving access to affordable and reliable electricity”. If the WSP USA study is successful, the project would support the Zambian government’s plan to diversify its electricity sources. It is reflected in many other projects already carried out or underway in this East African country by the IPPs.

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    Progress for Kingdom Of Eswatini’s energy mix dream

    After a long wait, the kingdom of Eswatini issued a request for the qualification and development of a 40MW solar PV plant to be developed via the first tranche procurement programme and a 40MW biomass-to-energy plant to be developed via the second tranche procurement programme. The request for qualification comes delayed given that Eswatini has publicised its intent to have a 46MW solar PV power plant online since 2017. However, the decision is an important one for this developing country and it being it closer towards reducing the country’s reliance on imported power from utilities such as EDM (Electricidade de Moçambique) and Eskom. This request could not have been issued at a better time taking into consideration the recent events in Mozambique and South Africa. The two utilities have an undisputed record that indicates their inability to provide steady or uninterrupted electricity for those within their borders. Eswatini’s decision to act on its past commitment to invest in renewable energy and expand the ratio of renewables in the country’s electricity to 50 per cent by no later than 2030 can only yield positive results for its population that amounts to roughly 1.42 million.

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    Sola Group obtains $26 million to supply off-grid to companies

    Southern African countries are in favour of developing the off-grid solar market, and Sola Group intends to exploit the potential. This supplier has just received an investment of 400 million South African rand (nearly 26 million dollars). The funds come from African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), a private equity fund manager owned by Old Mutual and Nedbank Energy Finance, a subsidiary of Nedbank, a South African-based financial institution. The first country targeted by Sola Group to provide solar off-grid to companies is South Africa. “This partnership brings together three highly experienced entities whose combined expertise provides consumers with clean energy solutions at a time when our country (South Africa) desperately needs them,” said Chris Haw, CEO of Sola Group. Sola Group’s two new investors are very active in the renewable energy sector in Africa. Nedbank is one of the financial institutions that is a strong participant in the South African Renewable Energy Supply Programme (REIPPP).

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