Category archives for: Energy

Namibia: Anger Grows Over Constant Omusati Power Outages

By Marx Itamalo

RESIDENTS of Omusati region have expressed anger at northern electricity distributor Nored over regular power outages across the region, which they say are crippling businesses and hampering daily activities.

According to some residents, over the past three months there have been rolling power outages at Okakwa location near Outapi, Anamulenge at Okalongo and at Kasamane near the Namibian-Angolan border. “We do not know what is going on with Nored. For the past three months, we had electricity problems almost each day. Even as we speak now, there is no electricity,” said businessman Kristof Sheehama yesterday.

Sheehama said since May there have been power blackouts, either for minutes or hours, every day and this has been damaging to business operations in the affected areas.

“Our goods are getting spoiled, and we lose a lot. Even our customers go to Outapi when our power goes,” he said.

Sheehama added that he and other business people have also had electrical appliances damaged by electricity surges when power is restored unexpectedly.

He also wanted to know from Nored why electricity at Outapi, which is just a few kilometres away, is never disturbed.

Sheehama said Nored technicians and officials do not care about smaller settlements.

“They think we are nothing, that is why they do not care about finding out what is wrong with the power lines,” he said.

Anamulenge businessman Simeon Nanyemba also expressed unhappiness at Nored’s service.

“What I know is that there are instances where electricity can go when people are doing a repair or something, but this is something different and unacceptable. How can power go three times in a day each day?” He asked.

Nanyemba said that what pained them most was that despite them having reported the issue to Nored at Outapi, nothing was being done about it.

“They have not done anything. Last night the electricity also went around 22h00 and only came in the early morning hours,” he said, adding that one of his refrigerators no longer worked after the latest power outage.

Nored’s area manager for operations and maintenance in the north-west region, Shinana Shinana, yesterday admitted that the Omusati region had been experiencing regular electricity blackouts over recent months.

He, however, attributed the power failures to people who sabotaged the grid by throwing wires on the overhead power lines.

“Yes, Omusati is experiencing power problems, but it is because there are people throwing wires on the power lines and this is the main cause of power outages in the region,” he said.

Shinana explained that one power line served Oshikuku, Outapi, Okalongo, Omweelo gwa Kasamane and other remote areas of Omusati, and if a fault occured at one of the locations, then all would be affected.

He said that Nored always ensured that if a fault occured on the grid, repair work was promptly done.

Shinana also denied that the constant power outages were a result of ageing infrastructure, such as transformers.

“Of course we have old transformers, but they are not the cause of the problems. We make sure that they are maintained and are in good condition,” he stated.

Asked why at times it took hours for electricity to return, he explained that technicians sometimes have to drive along the power lines to see if they can spot what might have caused the power failure and that this was time-consuming.

“If it happened in the night then people have just to wait till the next day,” he said.

Shinana called on the public, especially children, to not throw objects on the overhead power lines or shoot at insulators on electricity poles, which he said could also cause electricity failures if damaged.

Angola: Angolan Vice-President in Soyo

Soyo — The Vice-President of the Republic, Manuel Vicente arrived on Thursday morning in the city of Soyo, northern Zaire province, to inaugurate the first phase of the Soyo Combined Cycle Power Plant, among others activities.

The Soyo Combined Cycle Power Plant is expected to generate about 750 megawatts of electricity for Zaire province and other parts of the country starting from 2017.

The Vice-president will still inaugurate in Soyo an electrical substation capable of producing 400/60 KV of electricity.

Manuel Vicente will also travel through the Nzeto/Soyo highway, marking its opening to circulation of people and good as well as inaugurate the Kimpuanza bridge on the same freeway.

At his arrival in Soyo, Manuel Vicente was welcomed by the provincial governor, José Joanes André, and other local entities.

Angola

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Kenya: Loans for Solar Systems Make Power Affordable in Rural Kenya

opinionBy Anthony Langat

Naivasha — Access to credit enables villagers to buy solar equipment in instalments – easier and cheaper than a grid connection

It is early evening in Ndabibi village in Naivasha, and there are threatening clouds overhead. Kenneth Njoroge quickly parks his motorcyle by the mud structure that serves as his kitchen and rushes into the main house before the rain starts pounding.

Until recently, Njoroge’s home northwest of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, was poorly lit at night. Most people in Ndabibi are not connected to mains electricity, and rely on kerosene or small solar lamps to light their homes.

But one month ago, the 55-year-old father of seven decided to stop using kerosene. A loan from a micro-finance institution has made it possible for him to invest in a solar power system for his home.

The credit is part of a scheme being rolled out across the country to provide asset financing for families not connected to the main power grid.

Njoroge’s new kit consists of a solar photovoltaic panel, three light bulbs, a battery, a radio, a torch and three charging ports.

The equipment has done more than provide better lighting at home and eliminate his kerosene bills. He no longer has to buy batteries for his radio and torch, nor go to the local shopping centre to charge his phone.

Njoroge is chairman of Mwanzo Mwema, a savings group formed two years ago in Ndabibi which now has 30 members.

Each month, members contribute money which is deposited with Musoni Kenya, a micro-credit firm based on mobile payments. They can then take out loans based on the level of their savings.

After saving for a year, Njoroge started borrowing to buy a motorbike, lease farmland from his neighbours, and buy seed and fertiliser so he could grow more maize and beans to eat and sell.

In June, Leah Mugambi, a Musoni credit officer based in Naivasha, talked to the group about the new solar home systems it is offering in partnership with d.light, an international social enterprise specialising in solar products for off-grid consumers.

“Many people here do not have a connection to the national grid, so when I came to inform them, everyone in the group was interested,” Mugambi said.

Njoroge was the first member of Mwanzo Mwema to take out a loan to buy a solar home system.

GRID GRUMBLES

Getting grid electricity is a long process in most of rural Kenya, involving tedious application forms and high fees.

Njoroge applied for a connection to the national grid two years ago, but has yet to see Kenya Power and Lighting Company employees in his neighbourhood.

“I know that I was (due) to pay around 30,000 shillings (about $290), but they have never come back since I made the application,” he said.

By contrast, it took just two weeks from the time he applied to Musoni for the loan until he was able to pick up the solar home system from the organisation’s office in Naivasha.

“Connection was easy too because everything was clear. I put the panel on the roof and then hung the lights inside. We used it that same day,” he said.

As well as being cheaper than paying monthly bills for grid electricity, Njoroge realised the solar home system would be more affordable than kerosene in the long term.

Even with the 20 percent annual interest rate charged by Musoni for the loan, he finds his repayments affordable.

Njoroge is paying 1,760 Kenyan shillings every month for 12 months, after which he will own the system outright, having paid about two-thirds of what it would have cost to get a grid connection.

“Once I finish paying (off the loan), I will not have any other bills to pay, which is a good thing for me,” he said.

CHEAPER KIT

The system is designed by d.light so that as each loan instalment is paid, the customer receives an activation code that allows them to use the system for the coming month.

If the customer defaults on a payment, the system deactivates until the money is paid.

Musoni says it has not experienced any defaults since it started to offer asset financing for the solar kits nationwide, but as a last resort the lender could repossess the equipment.

The ability to charge a mobile phone at home is one of the most desirable features of solar home systems, according to Jacob Okoth, d.light’s managing director for Africa.

“Most people in the rural areas who do not have a connection to electricity usually have to walk for long distances to have their mobile phones charged – which they pay for,” he said.

The price of solar products has dropped in the past few years. According to Jonathan Nyongesa, d.light’s director of finance, the government has helped by waiving customs duties on solar batteries and panels.

“This has contributed to making the solar products more affordable and accessible for the consumers. However, the government can do more by further zero-rating all solar products, including accessories like radios, torches and televisions,” he said.

Nickson Bukachi of the Energy Regulatory Commission’s renewable energy department said increased procurement of solar systems for public facilities such as schools and hospitals was also helping drive the industry.

While the department doesn’t keep figures on the number of households using solar power, Bukachi said a study had been commissioned to establish a baseline to measure growth.

Nyongesa of d.light said progress in end-use efficiency, supply and storage performance had seen the cost of providing off-grid electricity with solar photovoltaic cells and battery storage fall by 40 percent in 18 months for household systems.

Appliances like LED lighting, televisions, fans and radios became 40 percent more efficient over the same period, further lowering costs, he added, predicting an additional price drop of 60 to 70 percent in the next few years.

“We think in the next five years, it is going to not only be possible to bring highly affordable solar products to the market at scale, but also make it possible for households using solar to have similar experiences to those who have a grid connection,” he said.

($1 = 103.6500 Kenyan shillings)

(Reporting by Anthony Langat; editing by James Baer and Megan Rowling. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women’s rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit http://news.trust.org/climate)

Nigeria: TCN Secures $2 Billion to Expand Capacity to 20,000MW

By Clement Nwoji

Abuja — The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has secured close to $2billion for the rehabilitation of national grid infrastructure and expansion of its transmission capacities up to 20,000 megawatts target within the next three years.

Before now, some of the transmission facilities are outdated, or inadequate and too weak to evacuate power generated by the Generation Companies (GenCos) thereby limiting the GenCos from achieving its optimum capacities.

The Managing Director, TCN, Usman Gur Mohammed, made these disclosures at the just concluded power sector stakeholders meeting presided by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, in Kano.

He spoke while fielding questions from journalists on the challenges and programmes of the company towards achieving sustainable power supply throughout Nigeria.

He noted that because of the liquidity issue in the power sector, the TCN had sought the support of the ministries of Finance, and Power, which led to the raising of the fund from multilateral donors for the expansion of the grid.

He said the fund was raised from the World Bank, African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, Japanese Agency for International Cooperation (JAICA), and the European Union.

He said: “Last week, we advertised for transformer capacities for Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, and Shiroro regions. These are part of the projects we have been able to raise from the multilateral regions, and the total capacity we are working towards achieving is 20,000 megawatts in the next three years.

“We have also restarted some projects that had not been doing well like the Abuja Transmission Ring Project, which is supposed to put three substations within the capital territory, and provide another avenue for supply from Lafia.

“We have also resuscitated the JAICA project that had been on the drawing board for a long time. Those two projects plus the project that we are going to raise now is about $1.55billion.”

He decried that in the efforts to expand transmission capacities, the company is confronted with right of way issues, and is collaborating with state governors including Kano, Kaduna, Edo, Abia, Imo, Ogun, and Lagos to pay compensations and resolve the problems.

“We discovered that right of way is a big problem in Nigeria, and actually it is a national issue. In trying to expand the capacity of transmission, we started collaborating with the states in every area that we are putting significant capacity.

“As part of these projects and investments, we have raised to expand the transmission lines from Shiroro to Kaduna, and from Kaduna to Kano. We are putting a cord line that will carry 2,400MW capacity. We have never had that kind of capacity in Nigeria,” Mohammed said.

Currently, he said the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasiru El-Rufai, who is giving significant support, is even the one paying compensations for some of the places where TCN is putting some substations at 330 in Kaduna and Zaria, and three 133 substations in Kaduna.

On rejection of loads by distribution companies (DisCos), he said efforts are on to address the lack of capacity to carry the loads. In this regard, he said TCN had appointed interface focal persons for each of the DisCos whose job is to ensure that information about where it has load rejection is disclosed, and the capacity reset to other areas where they want it.

He said the nation currently has stranded load generation of about 2,000MW, which is not healthy for the development of the sector, because as time goes on and if TCN cannot pick those generations, it will hinder investments on the generation system.

Cameroon: Energy – POWERCHINA Seeks to Invest More

By Amindeh Blaise Atabong

The Group’s President held an audience with the Minister of Water Resources and Energy, Friday August 11, 2017.

POWERCHINA Group is looking forward to be more active in the energy sector in Cameroon, the Group’s President, Song Dong Sheng has said. The visiting President made the disclosure, Friday August 11, 2017, in Yaounde, after an audience with the Minister of Water Resources and Energy, Basile Atangana Kouna. “We came to thank the Minister of Water Resources and Energy for the continuous support he has been according to POWERCHINA,” said Song. The President of POWERCHINA Group told reporters that they were out to develop relations for the putting in place of hydroelectric power plants as well as solar and gas energy facilities. “The competence of the Minister gives us assurances that we can develop our projects,” a confident-looking Song noted. After the audience with the Minister, officials of POWERCHINA Group had a brief working session with some authorities of the Ministry of Water Resources and Energy. It should be recalled POWERCHINA Group has been in the energy sector, particularly hydroelectricity, in the country since 2009 when one of its affiliates – SINOHYDRO – signed a commercial contract for the development of the 211 MW Memve’ele hydroelectric power plant. Between 2009 and 2017, we gathered that the Group got engaged in the development of hydroelectric facilities of Bini à Warak (75 MW), Song Dong (270 MW), Menchum (72 MW), Nachtigal Aval (300 MW) and Kitot (720 MW). The Head of State Paul Biya in December 2016, described the Bini à Warak, Song Dong, Menchum and Nachtigal as second generation hydroelectric projects. POWERCHINA Group is the technical partner to develop a blueprint for the Bini à Warak, Song Dong and Menchum HEP projects.

Cameroon

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East Africa: EAC Halts Creation of New Body

By Zephania Ubwani

Arusha — The East African Community (EAC) has declined to establish another institution, citing financial constraints.

Proposals to upgrade the EA Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EACREEE) into a full-fledged body under the Community hit a wall after the technocrats said it was short of funds for the purpose.

“The original plan of the Community was to have EACREEE as an EAC institution. However, due to financial constraints other innovative ways were devised”, said the deputy secretary general (Productive and Social Sectors) Christophe Bazivamo.

He said instead the College of Engineering,Design, Art and Technology (Cedat) of the Makerere University in Uganda was selected to host the renewable energy facility as one of its centres of excellence.

Mr Bazivamo revealed this last weekend when he was addressed the board meeting of the centre whose creation received support from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido) and the Austrian Development Agency (Ada).

The principal of Cedat Prof Henry Alinaitwe informed the meeting held in Kampala that efforts were underway to formally register EACREEE as a semi-autonomous legal entity so that it can function smoothly.

However, the meeting concurred that while the regional energy centre would continue to be hosted at the Makerere University, a road map should be drawn to make it a full-fledged body of the EAC.

“Since its inauguration, Cedat has been working with several stakeholders to advance the centre’s activities”, said the Cedat principal Prof Alinaitwe.

Despite failure to register the renewable energy centre as an additional institution under the EAC, the deputy SG emphasized that renewable energy would continue to be among the key priority sectors.

“Low energy access rates, expensive electricity, poor cooking solutions have been hampering the region’s development,” Mr Bazivamo pointed out.

EACREEE was launched in Kampala, Uganda in June last year as a regional think-tank and focal point for sustainable energy activities and issues such as policy, capacity building, awareness creation and investment and business promotion.

The centre was also intended to act as a resource centre for sustainable energy issues while aiming at a creation of an enabling environment for regional renewable anergy and energy efficient markets and investments.

However, the cash-strapped EAC insisted that it was too early to transform the centre into n institution of the EAC due to funding constraints.

EAC currently has eight instititons scattered across the region and three substative organs at its Arusha headquarters; the Secretariat, EA Court of Justice and the East African Legislative Assembly.

The institutions are the Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (Cassoa), the EA Health Research Commission, EA Science and Technology Commission and the EA Kiswahili Commission.

Others are the Lake Victoria Basin Commission, Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization, the East African Development Bank and the recenty established East African Competition Authority.

Tanzania: Boost for Oil Pipeline As $13m Training Programme Launched

Photo: Daily News

Uganda-Tanzania Oil Pipeline.

By Zephania Ubwani

Arusha — The Hoima-Tanga oil pipeline project got a boost on Wednesday with the launching of a training programme for technicians expected to work on the multi-million dollar project.

The training would be undertaken at the Arusha Technical College (ATC) in collaboration with the Canadian-based Camosun College under a $13 million programme supported by Ottawa.

“There would also be opportunities for technology transfer and high-end human resources development through the operations of multinational companies”, said the permanent secretary in the ministry of Education, Science and Technology Dr Leonard Akwilapo.

He said since the construction of the 1,445 kilometre long pipeline would create jobs for thousands of local people, tailor-maide training stints have been designed for the engineers technicians, artisans who will work on the oil industry and allied gas sector.

“Three categories of will be required for the development of oil and gas industry, mainly engineers, technicians and artisans, Experiences show that, out of these categories, technician cades is the most demanded”, he said.

Dr Akwilapo stressed during the official launch of the programme that in order for Tanzania to gain from enormous benefits emanating from the development of the oil and gas sector, “we have to address challenges of skills shortages that are characteristic with the sector all over Africa”.

Oil and gas, he added, will drive the country towards industrial economy and challenged technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions to look for strategic partnerships with reputable organizations abroad to assist them in the endeavour.

One of the partnerships has resulted in ATC in collaboration with the Camoson College to initiate a long course in piple works, oil an gas engineering technician level programme to train young Tanzanians who will work in the energy installations.

ATC Rector Dr Richard Masika said the demand for skilled pipe works technicians were not only in demand for the construction of Hoima-Tanga oil pipeline but also for the envisaged laying down of gas distribution systems in the cities.

The senior technical advisor for the programme dubbed Improving Skills Training for Employment Programme (ISTEP) Dr. Alan Copeland said the programme will run until 2019 during which about 1,200 youth will have graduated with the right skills in employment in the exctractive industries.

“In the end, Tanzania needs the right people with the right skills at the right time to meet the challenges of transforming into a middle income country by 2015”, he said.

Tanzania

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Nigeria: Serap Asks ICC to Investigate Alleged Missing N11 Trillion Electricity Fund

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, to use her “good offices and leadership position to investigate the allegations of widespread, systematic and large-scale corruption in the power sector since the return of democracy in 1999.

The group alleged that governments of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan committed crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the ICC, and to prevail on the Nigerian government to surrender all suspected perpetrators for trial by the ICC.

SERAP noted that Nigeria is a state party to the Rome Statute and deposited its instrument of ratification on 27 September 2001.

In the petition issued on August 16, 2017, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, the organisation said: “Allegations of corruption in the power sector in Nigeria have had catastrophic effects on the lives of millions of Nigerians, akin to crimes against humanity as contemplated under the Rome Statue and within the jurisdiction of the ICC.”

According to SERAP, “The Rome Statute in article 7 defines crime against humanity to include ‘inhumane acts causing great suffering or injury,’ committed in a widespread or systematic manner against a civilian population. The common denominator of crimes against humanity is that they are grave affronts to human security and dignity.

“Therefore, the staggering amounts of public funds alleged to have been stolen over the years in the electricity sector created just these consequences. Crimes against humanity are not only physical violence; allegations of corruption in the electricity sector hold a comparable gravity, which the prosecutor should examine and thoroughly investigate.”

The petition reads in part: “The elements that need to be established to prove a ‘crime against humanity under article 7(1)(k) of the Rome Statute are that the perpetrator inflicted great suffering or serious injury by means of an inhumane act; that the perpetrator was aware of the circumstances and that the act was committed within a widespread or systematic attack on a civilian population which the perpetrator knew of that link.

“The consequences of allegations of corruption in the electricity sector are similar to those of the offences in article 7(1). Corrupt officials and contractors in the electricity sector know well that their conduct is criminal and injurious, and the denial of human dignity coupled with a radical breach of solemn trust aggravates their alleged crime.

“SERAP therefore considers these allegations of widespread and systematic corruption in the power sector as amounting to crimes against humanity and clear violations of the provisions of the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court. SERAP believes that these allegations have given rise to individual criminal responsibility of those suspected of perpetrating corruption in the sector as entrenched in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”

SERAP therefore asked Bensouda to urgently commence an investigation proprio motu on the allegations of widespread and systematic corruption in the electricity sector since the return of democracy in 1999, with a view to determining whether these amount to crimes against humanity within the court’s jurisdiction. “In this respect, we also urge you to invite representatives of the Nigerian government to provide written or oral testimony at the seat of the court,” it stated.

Nigeria

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Sierra Leone: Mount Coffee Now Produces Over 60,000 MW Hours of Electricity

By Staff Writer

The Mount Coffee Hydro Power Plant in White Plains outside Monrovia, is now producing over 60,000 Megawatt Hours (MWH) of electricity as of July, 2017, the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) has disclosed.

According to an announcement released by the LEC over the weekend, this follows the completion and dedication of the first of four 22MW generating units of the plant on December 15, 2016.

In the announcement, the LEC indicated that the overall status of the project is now put at 98 percent completed, with total completion of the original scope of work now set for November, 2017.

The announcement noted that by the end of September 2017, all four turbines will be connected by high voltage transmission lines to both the LEC Bushrod Island and Paynesville substations.

According to data from the government, about 10 percent of urban residents and less than two percent of rural residents have access to electricity and this is largely from self-generation with gasoline and diesel generators and expensive imported fuel, the announcement indicated.

The LEC said apart from implementing its core function of rehabilitating the Mt Coffee Hydro power plant on behalf of LEC, the project implementation unit is involved with undertaking other social and environmental responsibilities, in line with its environmental and social management plan.

According to the LEC, the rehabilitation of the Mt Coffee Hydro power plant was proposed as an important part of the national reconstruction efforts led by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2011 in recognition of the importance of affordable electricity to support economic development.

Sierra Leone

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Namibia: Power Utility Demands U.S.$2,8 Million From Rehoboth

By Luqman Cloete

NamPower has demanded that the financially struggling Rehoboth Town Council honours its long-standing N$38 million debt

In a letter dated 9 August, NamPower reminded the council that their account was still in arrears, despite numerous requests for payment.

“The unpaid amount reflects badly on our balance-sheet,” the letter states.

NamPower said the situation had become unworkable, and requested an urgent meeting with the town council and management to discuss the debt settlement.

The electricity bulk supplier also demanded that the council proposes a date before the end of August for the meeting.

“We regret the short notification, but this has to be addressed as a matter of urgency,” the letter states.

NamPower’s spokesperson, Gladwin Groenewaldt, did not confirm or deny the contents of the letter yesterday.

Instead, he said he was not at liberty to discuss client information.

Recently, Rehoboth residents staged a peaceful demonstration over poor service delivery.

Residents blamed council’s human resources manager, Willie Swartz, for high water and electricity debts, poor roads and the collapse of the sewerage system at the town, and called for his head.

United People’s Movement (UPM) councillor Leonard Pienaar was quoted in the media as saying: “It is because of Swartz that our debt to NamPower is high. Our electricity bill currently stands at N$32 million, and the water bill at N$29 million. If we fail to make a payment of N$7,8 million by Wednesday (today), our electricity will be cut.”

He also said that Swartz, under the watch of Swapo councillors, has crippled the council’s finances.

Rehoboth CEO Christoph /Uirab could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Namibia

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