Category archives for: Energy

South Africa:Robben Island Powered By Solar Mini-Grid

Photo: South African Tourism/Flickr

Aerial view of Robben Island.

Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa says the launch of a R25 million solar-powered mini-grid plant at Robben Island is the first step in turning the world heritage site green.

The Minister unveiled the solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant on Thursday. The solar PV mini-grid has the capacity of generating 666.4 kilo Watt peak (kWp) of clean energy, reducing the island’s reliance on the existing diesel generating system.

The integrated system carries the entire daytime electricity load and prioritises solar PV energy generation, which is supported by an 828 kilo Watt hours (kWh) battery storage – enabling the use solar energy on cloudy days and at night.

“Today is the celebration of the exposition that reinforces a shared vision for the future of tourism.

“This project is the first step in a longer term initiative of greening the island and discussions are already underway with the management of Robben Island Museum on the implementation of a range of additional energy efficiency projects,” she said.

The Minister said the project now means that Robben Island – once a prison to the late former President and struggle icon Nelson Mandela, along with other Rivonia trialists and other political prisoners – practices sustainable tourism.

Robben Island was selected as one of the eight government-owned attractions in the pilot initiative to retrofit tourism facilities with solar photovoltaic (PV) energy generating systems.

The other seven sites include the Hantam, Karoo Desert, Free State National Botanical Gardens, the Skukuza and Lower Sabie rest camps as well as the Tshokwane and Nkuhlu picnic sites in Kruger National Park.

The launch of the solar mini-grid was a “first of its kind” on an island, said the Minister, adding that it would reduce the island’s carbon footprint by cutting the reliance on a diesel generating system.

The renewable energy system also means that the Robben Island Museum will not only become a more competitive and sustainable tourism attraction, but will also save a significant amount in operational costs.

“It is estimated that the system will reduce the use of diesel generators by almost 45 percent, which means that the annual diesel usage will drop from around 619 000 litres to 344 000 litres, saving the Island about 275 000 litres of diesel per annum.

“What we are therefore looking at is that this project will save the fiscal an estimated amount of almost R5 million per annum, which means that this project will pay itself within five years,” she said.

The Minister used the occasion to launch the opening of the first applications window for 2017 Green Tourism Incentive Programme (GTIP).

The programme, which is run by the department, was developed in collaboration with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to drive the implementation of responsible tourism practices and also reduce the cost of doing business for small tourism enterprises.

“This sharp focus is but among some of the activities that truly showcase the government’s approach to the empowerment of women and young people. We therefore encourage women cooperatives, youth cooperatives and small enterprise firms to participate in the GTIP processes.”

Zimbabwe:Funding Stalls Over 30 Power Generation Projects

Photo: allAfrica

(File photo).

By Phillimon Mhlanga

The country’s energy regulator, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA), has licenced nearly 30 power generation projects with a combined capacity of more than 5 000 megawatts (MW), but most have failed to take off due to lack of funding.

Government opened the power sector to private investors due to power shortages in the country, a move that resulted in a number of independent power producers (IPPs) being licenced to complement the country’s integrated power generation and distribution company, ZESA Holdings.

But ZERA chief executive officer, Gloria Magombo, last week revealed that the majority of the approved power projects had not materialised. Some have been licenced for over decade.

“We have issued out power generation licences to more than 30 players with a combined capacity to generate 5 039MW. But due to heavy capital outlays, very few have taken off the ground,” said Magombo.

Magombo said proposed thermal power projects were expected to generate a total of 4 194,65MW.

Over 10 years ago, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed resources firm, RioZim Limited was granted a licence to construct a power station to generate 2 000MW at Sengwa. The proposal, however, has since been altered to 750MW.

It is highly unlikely that RioZim will build the proposed power station soon due to funding constraints.

Others are Pan African Energy Resources (700MW), Southern Energy (600MW), Hwange Power Station (600MW) and Shilands Enterprises which will be a gas-fired project to produce 100MW.

Government secured $1,174 billion from the Export Import Bank of China to expand the Hwange Power Station by two units to add 600MW to the national grid. But government and ZESA are still to meet conditions precedent to access promised funding from the Chinese bank.

Of all the proposed major projects, only Kariba Hydro Power expansion project has taken off. The project, which will add 300MW project to the national grid, is now over 90 percent complete.

The first unit to add 150MW to the national grid is expected to be commissioned in December, while the other, to generate another 150MW, is expected to be commissioned in March next year.

About 10 promised hydro projects have a potential to produce about 349,10 MW. The projects include the Zimbabwe Power Company’s Gairezi project, which is expected to produce 30MW, Great Zimbabwe Hydro Power (5MW), H.T.Gen (3,3MW), Manako Power (2,5MW), Eastern Hydro and Electricity Supply Company (2,4MW) and Immaculate Technologies (1,7MW).

About 15 solar photovoltaic (PV) projects have been licenced; they have capacity to generate 495,55MW. The projects, which have also not yet started due to funding constraints, include Sinogy Power to produce 175MW, the Solar Group Zimbabwe (50MW) TD Energy (40,8MW), Solarwise Energy (50MW), De Green Rhino Energy (50MW), Yellow Africa (50MW), Centragrid (25MW), Utopia Power Company (15MW) and Indo Africa Power (10MW).

Magombo, however, said there were small IPPs that have been commissioned and are already operational.

Although their combined output is 1 215,52MW, about 2,45MW is currently being fed to the national grid from Duru, Nyamingura, Pungwe A, Pungwe B and Pungwe C power projects.

The other four — Border Timbers, Triangle, Hippo Valley and Green Fuel’s Chisumbanje power stations — largely generate electricity for own use and only feed surplus to the national grid.

ZERA, this year cancelled Indian conglomerate, Essar Africa Holdings’ power generation licences after the company ditched the country due to government bickering over its investment in integrated steel company, Ziscosteel.

Essar unceremoniously exited from Ziscosteel in 2015 after endless battles to resolve Ziscosteel’s indebtedness and other issues.

The cancelled licences were for a 600 MW thermal power plant in Hwange and another one for 60 MW, which was said to be for captive power at the Ziscosteel plant.

ZERA also cancelled the licence held by Rusitu Power Corporation, a smaller mini-hydro project that was meant to generate 0,75MW.

The country is struggling to provide enough electricity due to reduced power generation at power stations in Kariba, Hwange, Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare.

Currently, Zimbabwe is generating about 1 000MW on average against a national demand at peak periods of about 1 400MW.

To cover for the shortages, the power utility has been importing about 300MW from Eskom of South Africa and 50MW from Mozambique’s Hydro Cahora Bassa.

Mozambique:Triton Secures Agreement for Sale of All Its Graphite

London — The Australian mining company Triton Minerals, which holds the rights to three graphite deposits in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, has announced that it has reached an agreement for the sale of up to a quarter of the graphite to be produced at its Ancuabe Graphite Project.

The deal with the Chinese company Haida Graphite follows similar agreements with the Chinese companies Sinoma and Tianshengda. As a result, Triton has now entered into agreements covering the entire graphite output from Ancuabe.

According to a statement from Triton, “Haida is a major Chinese graphite company with extensive mining, processing and sales experience. Haida produces a range of graphite products, including graphite sheets, spherical graphite, high purity and expandable graphite for customers in China and international markets including Japan, Korea, the US and Western Europe”.

These agreements are non-binding. However, Triton is working with its partners for the adoption of binding agreements to cover its output. The company plans to begin construction at its deposits next year with production due to commence in 2019.

Graphite is a form of carbon that is highly valued due to its properties as a conductor of electricity. It is used in batteries and fuel cells and is the basis for the “miracle material” graphene, which is the strongest material ever measured, with vast potential for use in the electronics industries.

Mozambique

Rio Tinto Charged With Fraud Over U.S.$3.7 Billion Deal

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Zimbabwe:South Koreans Eye Power Projects

Photo: Premium Times

(File photo).

By Ndakaziva Majaka

A South Korean delegation is in the country doing market research on bankable power projects, with the aim of initially investing in a 100 Megawatt (MW) plant, The Financial Gazette has learnt.

Zimbabwe, which currently generates about half of its electricity requirements from its aged plants, is seeking to draw private funds into the power sector, although the country’s hostile investment environment has dissuaded many potential independent power producers.

Mirae Electric Company president, Ahn Joong Shik, said while his company was looking at a bigger long-term investment, it was still in the initial stages of meeting relevant government officials and assessing its prospects locally.

Mirae Electric Company specialises in the manufacture of electronics, generators as well as power plant construction.

“In future, we are looking at bigger technology like we have supplied LG Electronics back home, but this is still the initial stages, so we cannot disclose much except that our interests are in power generation and possible exportation of that power,” Shik said.

The South Korean businessman said while Zimbabwe was notorious for policy inconsistency, which has been blamed for the country’s poor foreign investment inflows, his company was optimistic about investing in the country.

“Zimbabwe has power problems and we offer a cheap alternative in the form of solar powered electricity generation. At this stage, it is not really about where the investor comes from; Zimbabwe just needs someone to invest in this field and this is what we want to do,” he said.

In South Korea, Mirae is a major partner of electronics giant, LG Electronics, and has developed various technologies for the company.

“We want to invest little in the beginning and develop trust and a relationship with government to ensure our investment is safe then we will invest more and discuss a way of providing alternative power for Zimbabwe,” Shik said.

While Zimbabwe presently has three major solar projects in the pipeline, they are hanging in the balance on the back of acute funding challenges.

Energy deputy minister Tsitsi Muzenda last week told the Senate that the $202 million Gwanda Solar Project, the Munyati and Bulawayo-located Insukamini projects were all in need of funding to take off and help the country plug a power deficit.

“There is Gwanda, Munyati and the other one, all those projects were supposed to be on course by now, but funding has been our greatest problem. You are aware that most of what is supposed to be used, the solar panels and so forth are imported so the capital outlay is quiet massive,” Muzenda said.

The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) earlier this year announced it would avail additional funding for solar energy projects in Zimbabwe.

AECF fund consultant, Oliver Bowler, has said funding would be made available to existing solar energy projects so that they can scale-up to profitable levels.

The organisation has already made a $10 million commitment towards solar energy projects in four African countries including Zimbabwe this year. Bowler said the fund would provide grants of between $250 000 and $1,5 million for the development of different solar projects.

Rwanda:Private Sector Calls for More Investment in Energy Generation

By Eddie Nsabimana

Private Sector Federation (PSF) is looking forward to more investment in energy generation that can satisfy consumer demand and force prices down.

Speaking at a meeting with the senatorial Standing Committee on Economic Development and Finance on the role of interconnection lines to Rwanda’s economic development, Benjamin Gasamagera, the chairperson of PSF, said there is need for increased investment in energy generation.

“Rwanda’s energy sector has enormous investment potential but we are still planning how to attract more investors in the sector to satisfy the electricity demand, especially from manufacturers, and also make energy affordable,” he said.

Rwanda’s current energy coverage stands at 40.7 per cent (208 megawatts), including 29.7 per cent on-grid electricity and 11 per cent of off-grid energy. Private sector contribution stands at 52 per cent.

‘Banks uninterested’

Gasamagera said commercial banks are reluctant to support power generation projects because they lack the expertise to determine the quality and potential of energy project proposals.

“We are trying to to work with the local banks to develop their capacity to analyse proposals from the energy sector. We also plan to approach foreign banks on big energy projects. It is something that needs to be quickly addressed,” he said.

The PSF chair said there is no reason why local banks should hesitate to invest in energy sector as long as the local manufacturing sector continues to grow and secondary cities development remain on course.

“There are many development activities that will need to use electricity. I am sure that electricity cannot fail to get market,” he said.

High cost of electricity

The latest electricity tariff, that came into force on January 1, has consumers with large industries pay Rwf83 per kilowatt, those with medium industries Rwf90 per kilowatt, while the small industries pay Rwf126 per kilowatt.

However, manufacturers argue that the costs are still high.

On the issue, Senator Celestin Sebuhoro told the media: “It seems energy generation is still problematic since manufacturers complain of power shortage, whose prices, too, seem not affordable, and this might be affecting the market. We want to bring energy body [Rwanda Energy Group – REG] and private sector together so they can discuss on the issue.”

Challenges

Some of the challenges raised by the private sector, especially power investment players, include high import taxes on solar power materials, which is currently at 25 per cent, sudden cancellation of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) signed between REG and investors, bureaucratic PPA registration process, among others.

Edward Ndayisaba, the vice-chairperson of Energy Private Developer, said, “Sudden cancellation of PPA causes huge losses to investors while those who want to invest in the sector wait for long to be cleared.”

He said most of them are discouraged by the long process it takes to finalise PPA, which they said sometimes take up to two years.

Gasamagera said the private sector cannot deal with all the challenges on their own, but since “the senators are well aware of our challenges, we hope for advocacy to help us find a sustainable solution.”

Mozambique:The "Akon Lighting Africa" Initiative Will Electrify Rural Mozambique

Photo: Akon lightening Africa

Akon lightening Africa

By Kylie Kiunguyu

Akon has entered into a US$50-million partnership agreement with the Machel Fidus Association for a rural electrification project in Mozambique part of the “Akon Lighting Africa” initiative.

Senegalese-American Hip hop icon Akon has entered into a US$50-million partnership agreement with the Machel Fidus Association for the implementation of a rural electrification project in northern Mozambique as part of the “Akon Lighting Africa” initiative.

The launch of the Akon Lighting Africa initiative in the country happened in Mozambique’s capital Maputo, making Mozambique the first southern African country to partner with the hip-hop star.

Graca Machel met with the Akon Lighting Africa team, Akon, Thione Niang and Luc Tanoh to discuss Akon Lighting Africa opportunities in Mozambique with Foundation Machel Fidus.

The implementation strategy covers renewable energies established by the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, MIREME, and Mozambique’s National Energy Fund FUNAE portfolio.

According to the singer, “Akon Lighting Africa” aims to respond to the energy challenges of African countries by implementing an innovative solution that should lay the foundations for the sustainable development of rural areas.

“We can move Africa… My idea for Mozambique is to implement changes in the area of renewable energies,” said Akon, real name Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam.

He said the initiative aims to develop an innovative solar-powered solution that will provide African villages with access to a clean and affordable source of electricity.

Akon Lighting Africa initiative seeks to provide a concrete response at grass root level to Africa’s energy crisis and lay the foundations for future development. Launched in February 2014 Akon, Thione Niang and Samba Bathily, the initiative aims to develop an innovative solar-powered solution that will provide African villages with access to a clean and affordable source of electricity.

The initiative partner Machel Fidus is a non-profit organisation led by young entrepreneurs Malenga Machel, Ìris de Brito, Víctor Zandamela and Mariano Paiva who are committed to the development and implementation of sustainable projects that improve the living conditions, economic and social inclusion of the most vulnerable in Mozambique.

According to the World Bank, “In Africa, power is inaccessible, unaffordable, and unreliable for most people. This traps people in poverty… The African continent is well endowed with energy resources but most remain untapped”

Read: African Union announces $20 billion renewable energy initiative

Renewable energy has been a priority on the continent with more and more countries inviting investors and promoting initiatives that want to facilitate it’s creation and use. Not only will renewable energy improve living conditions on the continent it will also decrease the level of carbon emissions produced annually.

“Africa is being hit hard by the consequences of global warming, yet it is responsible for only 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions,” United Nations climate change conference (COP21) reported.

Mozambique

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Namibia:Nored Offers Refunds to Customers

By Obrein Simasiku

Omuthiya — The Northern Regional Electricity Distributor (Nored) has vowed to refund clients who have put up large sums of money as deposit for transformers.

Individual first-time clients in areas with no readily set-up electricity transformers to connect households were previously required to post large deposits and payments for the cost of a transformer.

The payments at times amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The first clients, who had to pay for the setting up of a transformer, were never given back a portion of the money, even when other households and individuals were connected to the transformer at a lesser cost.

The practice has been a thorn in the flesh of Nored, especially when individual clients have come to regard such transformers as their own private property, for which they paid in full. At times the first-time client, who paid for the initial costs of setting up the transformer, would refuse to have other households and individuals connected to the grid through that transformer.

In some instances, the person who had first applied for electricity connection would charge whatever amount they wanted for any person who wished to get connected to the transformer.

“Nored will proportionally refund customers who made the first capital payment on the project to ensure fairness. For instance, if the person made a capital payment of N$100,000, the amount the next people will pay will be determined based on the capacity of the transformer, as to how many households can be accommodated.

“So, if it accommodates five households, it means each will pay N$20,000, which would then be refunded to the capital payment individual. This was created to make [electricity] affordable and accessible to everyone,” stressed Nored’s executive manager for corporate affairs, Toivo Shovaleka, last week during a stakeholders’ meeting at Okashana.

In the past there were incidents when the person who initial laid out the capital would request N$50,000 from those wishing to be connected.

Speaking at the same occasion was Shinana Shinana, Nored manager for operation and maintenance for northwest, who used the platform to explain that the transformers remain the property of Nored, although the customers are required to pay for it.

“The transformer will always remain the property of Nored. People should know that paying for the transformers does not guarantee that it is yours, what is yours is actually power,” explained Shinana in response to questions from people who felt the transformers belong to them and that they have the right to decide who can be connected or not.

“For instance, you buy the transformer today, it gets connected and then the next day it gets damaged. Will you afford to buy another one? And will you still [say] it’s yours, or you will call Nored?” he queried.

“In that regard, we will replace or fix it and you should know that transformers need to be changed from time to time. So, once anything happens we will always be there at anytime to attend to the issue. That why it always remains our responsibility to manage it,” Shinana added.

Regarding the refunds, Shinana said customers should know that the value of transformers depreciates as time goes by, hence they should not expect to be refunded with high amounts based on the price they had paid.

Nigeria:Our Commitment to Affordable Renewable Energy Unshaking – Fashola

By Abah Adah

Abuja — The Hon. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has reiterated the federal government’s commitment to pursuing renewable and low carbon energy at low cost to a logical conclusion in the near future.

Fashola reaffirmed this yesterday in his keynote address presented at the energy focused “Africa Today Summit” held in Abuja with the topic: “The Outlook for Nigeria – Energy options in a Low-cost and Low Carbon World: Which Way Nigeria and Africa.”

According to the Minister, the commitment stands firm on the tripod of necessity, contract, and policy.

“Let me be clear and unequivocal by saying upfront that our commitment as a Nation and Government to pursue renewable and low carbon energy at low cost is clear, firm and unshaking. But this is not all. It is a commitment driven by necessity, contract and policy,” the Minister said.

Explaining the concept of necessity, Fashola said as a nation whose energy source has been 85% gas fired and 15% hydro, Nigeria has always experienced shortage when there is any issue upstream of the oil and gas industry, thus necessitating the need to diversify the energy source as evident in the energy mix programme of the federal government.

“This made us very vulnerable as a nation whenever there was a gas shortage or failure for any reason including wilful damage to Gas pipelines and assets.

“This much was evident in 2016 when we had no less than 20 attacks on our Gas pipelines.

“Our response of course has been to diversify our energy sources and optimize other assets for power production by producing an Energy Mix that targets a 30% component of renewable energy out of the Gross energy we produce by 2030.

“We have also matched our intent with actions such as signing 14 solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPAs) with 14 Developers with the potential to deliver over 1,000 MW of solar power, the Minister said.

On the contract, Fashola noted that Nigeria is one of the early signatories to the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which signatories were committed to low carbon energy sources as a contribution to helping the global community protect our climate.

He equally noted that the commitment is driven by policy embedded in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), where one of the 5 pillars is Energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products.

The Minister said that even as attention is on growing the grid, off-grid power is also being encouraged.

“While we have expanded the National Grid capacity for on- grid power from 5,000 MW in 2015 to 6,900 MW in September 2017, we are mindful that quick access to power will be easier to achieve by off-grid connections.

“Therefore, through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) we have issued mini grid Regulations to guide registration and licencing for small consumers and off-grid developers seeking to produce up to 100 kilowatts and over 100 kilowatts and up to 1 megawatts respectively,” he said.

According to him, the national policy for pioneer status has been revised by the Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment and approved by the Federal Executive Council to include solar panels, solar Home Systems, light emitting diodes, batteries other components that support solar systems which can be manufactured in Nigeria.

Gambia:The Gambia Signs U.S.$45-Million Loan With Islamic Trade Finance Corp.

Banjul — The Gambian Finance Minister Amadou Sanneh on Tuesday signed a loan agreement of 45 million U.S. dollars with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) to support the Gambia’s National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC).

Sanneh said the loan is expected to help the public companies in financing their operations, including the import of heavy fuel.

“The loan financing falls under the framework agreement signed with the Gambia in May 2017, for a three years period, during the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group’s 42nd Annual Meeting that took place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with the total amount of 210 million U.S. dollars in support of its strategic sectors,” he said.

Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC, said in May that the agreement was a milestone to boost the main sector of the Gambian economy.

“Energy is critical for supplying the country with fuel and electricity, in addition to development, this signing contributes to intra OIC trade as the products to be financed would be sourced mainly from OIC Member Countries,” he added.

NAWEC has been struggling to provide normal power supply affecting the operations of several businesses in the country.

Gambia

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South Africa:Cabinet Reshuffle a Ploy for Nuclear Procurement Programme?

analysis

An early warning that something was about to happen with regard to President Zuma and the government’s bid to ram through a cripplingly costly nuclear procurement programme became evident last week, when the Department of Environmental Affairs granted a nuclear site permit to Eskom to build a new nuclear plant in the Western Cape. The shuffling of former Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo – a frequent flier to Moscow – into the key post of Minister of Energy has confirmed fears that President Zuma and the shadow state is desperate to clinch the nuclear deal. The plans will meet massive resistance from across South African society. By MARIANNE THAMM.

When a notification arrived on Monday that the Department of Environmental Affairs had granted an environmental permit to Eskom providing the go-ahead for the construction of a 4,000 megawatt nuclear power plant at Duynefontein, close to the more than 30-year-old Koeberg nuclear plant on the West Coast, Liziwe McDaid knew something was afoot.

“We got the notification on Monday, it was sent out on Thursday but was dated Wednesday 11 October. We have 20 days in which to respond,” McDaid, co-ordinator for the South African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI),…

South Africa

Shooting Rocks Cape Town International Airport

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