Energy (170)

Huge Desert Solar Initiative To Make Africa A Renewables Power-House

The details of the "Desert to Power Initiative" have been outlined as part of the Paris Agreement climate change talks at COP24 in Katowice, Poland this week. Energy poverty in Africa is estimated to cost the continent 2-4 % GDP annually, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is leading the project.

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, and Eritrea - lives without electricity, a major barrier to development, with consequences for education, health and business.

By harnessing the exceptional solar resource in the region, AfDB and its partners hope to transform the region.

Magdalena J. Seol in the AfDB's Desert to Power Initiative said: "Energy is the foundation of human living - our entire system depends on it. For Africa right now, providing and securing sustainable energy is in the backbone of its economic growth."  "A lack of energy remains as a significant impediment to Africa's economic and social development."

The project will provide many benefits to local people, said Ms Seol: It will improve the affordability of electricity for low income households and enable people to transition away from unsafe and hazardous energy sources, such as kerosene, which carry health risks.

Construction of the  project will also create jobs and help attract private sector involvement in renewable energy in the region.  Many women-led businesses currently face bigger barriers than men-led enterprises to accessing grid electricity - so the project has the potential to increase female participation in economic activities and decision-making processes.

The project has been launched in collaboration with the Green Climate Fund, a global pot of money created by the 194 countries who are party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to support developing countries adapt to and mitigate climate change. The program is designed to combine private sector capital with blended finance.

"If you look at the countries that this initiative supports, they're the ones who are very much affected by the climate change and carbon emissions from other parts of the world," said Ms Seol.

"Given this, the investments will have a greater effect in these regions, which have a greater demand and market opportunity in the energy sector."

"Women are usually disproportionately negatively affected by energy access issues. Providing a secure and sustainable electricity creates positive impact on gender issue as well."

The African continent holds 15% of the world's population, yet is poised to shoulder nearly 50% of the estimated global climate change adaptation costs, according to the Bank.

These costs are expected to cut across health, water supply, agriculture, and forestry, despite the continent's minimal contribution to global emissions.

However, the International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that Africa's renewable energy potential could put it at the forefront of green energy production globally.

It is estimated to have an almost unlimited potential of solar capacity (10 TW), abundant hydro (350 GW), wind (110 GW), and geothermal energy sources (15 GW) - and a potential overall renewable energy capacity of 310 GW by 2030.

Other renewables projects in Africa include The Ouarzazate solar complex in Morocco, which is one of the largest concentrated solar plants in the world.

It has produced over 814 GWh of clean energy since 2016 and last year, the solar plant prevented 217,000 tons of CO2 being emitted. Until recently, Morocco sourced 95% of its energy needs from external sources

In South Africa, the Bank and its partner, the Climate Investment Fund, have helped fund the Sere Wind Farm -  46 turbines supplying 100 MW to the national power grid and expected to save 6 million tonnes of greenhouse gases over its 20 year expected life span. It is supplying 124,000 homes.

COP24 is the 24th conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This year countries are preparing to implement the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit the world's global warming to no more than 2C.

Millennium Challenge Corporation Improves Electricity Access In Malawi

GE's EMS will provide real-time and remotely managed information on Malawi's electrical grid and power outages; Project will pave the way for development of Africa's regional interconnections; This project covering 26 substations will reduce technical losses in the transmission system in the medium-term, while fostering economic growth in the long-term

Aligning with MCA-M's Infrastructure Development Project, GE Power's Grid Solutions business today announced it has completed the installation and commissioning of the Energy Management (EMS) and telecommunications systems at 26 substations of the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM).

The project, financed through the Millennium Challenge Corporation , will improve efficiency, reliability, security and planning of the transmission network in Malawi. The project will provide ESCOM with the tools to securely interconnect with neighboring countries (Mozambique, Zambia & Tanzania) and reduce technical losses in the transmission system in the medium-term whilst fostering economic growth in the long-term.

At the handover ceremony Jeanne Hauch, Vice President and General Counsel, Millennium Challenge Corporation said, "The work we have accomplished through theMCC Malawi Compact has created the foundation for a modern power system in Malawi. The experience and expertise of partners such as GE are critical to the success of a compact. GE's technology is providing real-time and remotely managed information on Malawi's electrical grid and power outages. This kind of work has set the stage for Malawi's continued economic development."

With about 3.2 million households without power, Malawi is working towards a reliable and cost efficient operation of its transmission system. "The ability to monitor the grid in real time is a key requirement to secure electricity supply nationwide.

GE's EMS solution will enable the state-owned power utility to easily monitor, control and coordinate the related electrical networks, regulate power voltage within the transmission grid and identify system failure in those substations that are connected to the SCADA system," said Lazarus Angbazo, CEO, GE Power's Grid Solutions, Sub-Saharan Africa

"Furthermore, the grid modernization and expansion will enable safe and efficient transmission of electricity therefore providing more Malawians with access to electricity and pave the way toward development of Africa's regional interconnections," he added.

GE Power's Grid Solutions business provides complete, engineered solutions for high voltage (HV) substations to power generation companies, utilities, and industries, bringing together the right mix of high-voltage products through expert engineering and full project management. GE has designed and implemented over 1,700 substation projects in the last 10 years.

Renewable Energy De-Risking Projects Progress In These African Countries

Since launching a year ago, the Regional Liquidity Support Facility (RLSF) has signed agreements with five countries ensuring that their Independent Power Producers (IPPs) receive protection against payment risks that often contribute to their failure.

The Facility supports small and mid-scale renewable energy IPPs (from 50 to 100MW) in sub-Saharan Africa by helping these projects reach financial close and to reduce the energy deficit. Malawi became the latest country to sign onto the agreement today.

The RLSF is a joint initiative of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI), and KfW with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The Facility, which has an initial capacity of USD74 million, targets small and mid-scale renewable energy projects because renewables are generally cheaper, easier to implement, integrate into the national electricity grid and usually have a positive environmental impact once up and running.

On average, electricity generated by non-renewable energy producers costs between US$0.40 to US$0.50 per KW hours compared to renewable energy solutions that can cost anywhere from just US$0.10 to US$0.18 per KW hours. With such savings, renewable energy is a viable alternative and the RLSF aims to provide further incentives to African governments to sign up.

In 2018, RLSF supported a 7.5 MW Solar PV plant in one of the four partner countries, which will add an additional 15% to the country's current capacity of 50 MW. The project is also the first grid connected IPP in the country. This is an example of the type of big impact that the RLSF envisions. By supporting small to medium-sized projects the current energy deficit in Africa can be rapidly reduced at a lower cost with a focus on many small and smart projects.

George Otieno, the CEO of ATI noted "Our initial five partner countries are paving a path for what is possible in the African renewable energy space. By signing onto the RLSF agreement these governments have committed to provide support to IPPs implementing projects in their countries. This sends a powerful message about their will to drive the renewable energy sector in Africa. We are optimistic that other countries across Africa will follow." 

The RLSF protects IPPs against the risk of delayed payments by public off-takers. This type of guarantee is a common requirement from lenders that fund projects, which have often failed to access funding and in turn reach financial close because this type of guarantee was not available. The RLSF hopes to change this by providing the required guarantee in cooperation with the LC issuing bank ABSA Bank Ltd.

The RLSF product is available to all renewable IPPs in countries that have signed a Memorandum of Understanding and that have not reached financial close, as well as new IPPs.

Securing The Smart Energy Revolution In Africa

The potential of the Internet of Things (IOT) to make consumers' lives more convenient is well-documented. One area in which it can deliver immediate benefits and significantly change how a household or company in Africa manages and keeps track of its energy use is smart metering. 

Rather than rely on estimated energy use to calculate bills, or physically visit customers' homes to take meter readings, a smart meter allows energy suppliers to have a real-time view of a household's or business' energy consumption – resulting in more accurate billing.

Smart metering systems also open up opportunities for better management of the demand and supply of energy. Utilities can track energy which is stored and available for purchase for other players who are in demand. Today's systems no longer rely on just fossil fuels, but also on renewable energy, that more and more parties produce and sell, when not using it for their own consumption. 

Africa and the Middle East are now seen as the next frontier for the implementation of this technology. Africa, in particular, is experiencing massive population growth combined with growing economies in many countries. Electrification is obviously a key driver in this kind of development and, as with other technological implementations, Africa is in a position to adopt new technologies immediately because it has few legacies. 

Figures from ABI Research support the view that Africa is beginning to leap onto the smart metering bandwagon. Figures show that smart meter shipments to the Africa/ Middle East region are predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 36.6 percent between 2011 and 2022. Revenues of companies involved in smart metering are set to grow by an equivalent 35.4 percent over the same period. 

The installed base of smart meters with cellular connections will grow by 29.1 percent (GSM/ GPRS) and 71.2 percent (WCDKA), but off a very low base. As with any connected device, there are security considerations with smart metering. And since energy grids are critical national infrastructure, robust protection is paramount. 

A highly-motivated cyber target

National energy infrastructure is a prime target for cyberattacks, and the consequences can be devastating.  Black outs across entire countries, access to personal data and even to nuclear power plants make the smart energy ecosystem very attractive to cyber actors.

Smart meters and smart grids present many potential routes of attack for criminals, which must be protected. This is why governments around the world are responding with initiatives that mandate specific protection protocols for smart grid deployments. Non-compliance could prevent access to the marketplace or lead to costly fines. 

Smart meters have a long product lifecycle

Smart meters are not just installed for a couple of years and then updated – the intention is for them to last as long as 10-15 years. This means that advanced security processes need to be in place to replace ageing keys and to enable remote credential management, along with strong encryption and authentication tools to ensure that only authorized parties can access the energy assets and their data. 

Smart meters can also be very difficult to access. Deployments are very wide – spread out over an entire country or even further – while the devices themselves are put into walls, behind locked doors or in physically remote locations such as mines or offshore sites.

These make regular maintenance visits difficult, time consuming and costly. For these reasons, the ability to remotely monitor smart meters appear as crucial, to continuously protect the ecosystem in the long-run. 

A dynamic market

Lastly, the energy market changes quickly. New entrants join the market frequently, while others disappear. The smart meter ecosystem has thus to be configured so that only authorized organizations and applications have access to metering data, and that changes to access can be applied instantaneously, whenever needed. As smart meter manufacturers might not be IoT security experts, partnering with digital security specialist firms can avoid putting AMIs (Advanced Metering Infrastructures) at risk. 

It's clear that the smart meter market is set to grow significantly across Africa in the near term. There are several market drivers behind this, such as theft and revenue protection, rising urbanization rates, improved operations among others.

With this rise, comes the need for governments to understand end-to-end security of the smart energy ecosystem and the dedicated solutions available that provide encrypted keys and hardened key storage into smart meters – right from the manufacturing steps, as well as throughout the lifecycle of the smart meters.

IRENA Council Discusses Global Energy Transformation

Plummeting renewable energy costs, advances in technology, pressing demands for climate action, and a strong resolve by governments to provide universal access to sustainable energy have put renewable energy into the global spotlight as the most cost-effective pathway to reduce carbon emissions, power growing economies, create jobs, improve health, and raise standards of living.

The Sixteenth Council of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is meeting in Abu Dhabi to discuss efforts to accelerate the global energy transformation and how the Agency can best support its Members to scale-up renewables.

The Council will also take stock of the progress made in the implementation of IRENA's 2018-2019 work programme and budget, discuss the ongoing preparations for the IRENA Assembly in January 2019 and make its recommendations for the selection of a new Director-General.

More than 350 government representatives from 110 countries, including 15 Ministers and high-level officials are expected to attend the meeting.

"We are witnessing an extraordinary energy transformation driven by an unprecedented growth of renewables, underpinned by a strong business case, enabling policies and technological innovations," says IRENA Director-General Mr Adnan Z. Amin.

"Accelerated uptake of renewables is essential for global efforts to meet climate objectives. As the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) recent report highlighted, we need to take action urgently to decarbonise the energy sector by accelerating the deployment of renewables and energy efficiency as the most effective and economically advantageous solution for achieving this.

"With this sense of urgency in mind, IRENA will continue to support its Members to harness their renewable energy potential and to prioritise renewable energy at the highest level on the global agenda." Mr Amin added.

In addition to administrative and institutional matters, the Council will discuss programmatic activities including off-grid renewable energy solutions, corporate sourcing of renewables, IRENA's Clean Energy Corridors initiatives and emerging solitions for power sector transformation.

Two special side-events will showcase some of IRENA's ongoing work. In the side-event on flexibility in the energy transition, a new IRENA tool will be presented that assists Member countries in integrating solar and wind energy in power systems.

A second side-event will discuss initatives to streamline project financing for renewable energy projects. To support the deployment of renewables in developing countries, IRENA and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development will announce the opening of the seventh cycle of the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility, a scheme that provides concessional funding for renewable energy projects.

Africa Investment Forum 2018: Energy Projects Across Africa Progressing

The just-concluded Africa Investment Forum successfully convened key stakeholders, and provided an unprecedented platform for effective dialogue to drive investments into the continent.

Running on the margins of the Forum, the Africa Energy Market Place (AEMP) progressed with country-specific discussions that began at the inaugural AEMP in July 2018 aimed at removing barriers to private sector investments in energy.

Noteworthy gains were realized in the energy sector as various expressions and letters of interest were signed for projects in Ethiopia, Ghana, Angola and Cameroon, signaling commitment to continued collaboration.

On 8 November, the Bank signed a Letter of Interest for a US$100 million blended finance facility for Ethiopia's Off-grid programme. The operation, co-financed by the Bank and the European Union, is intended to support the off-grid sector, in line with Ethiopia's National Electrification Plan targeting up to 5.7 million household connections by 2025.

Speaking at the signing, Bank President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, praised Ethiopia's efficient utilization of financial resources. Also present at the signing, Ethiopia's H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde reiterated Ethiopia's commitment to ensuring that funds are optimally utilized to develop the country.

The Bank and Aenergy signed a Letter of Interest to arrange US$ 500 million of development finance capital for the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) project. Standard Bank will arrange US$ 300 million of commercial banking finance, bringing the total amount to US$ 800 million. 

This amount will supplement the investments of Aenergy and its partners. Aenergy is an Angolan-based, Africa-focused energy sector investor, developer and operator who was selected through a tender process as the preferred bidder for ECG's distribution business.

"Utilities are pivotal in driving economic growth and transforming industry. We are very proud to be associated with Aenergy to drive this project which will have a major impact on the Ghanaian economy", said Amadou Hott, Bank Vice President Vice-President Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth.

The Bank also signed an Expression of Interest with Aenergy for power generation projects in Angola and Cameroon with a combined power output of over 1000MW.

"We are really looking forward to working with the Bank on these strategically important projects and for the opportunity to contribute to the growth strategies of Angola and Cameroon," said Ricardo Machado, founder and CEO of Aenergy.

Other positive outcomes in the follow-up boardroom conversations included continued progress and clarity on regulatory and policy issues, tariffs, liquidity, and reforms to fast-track transactions and move pipeline projects towards completion.

The Africa Investment Forum ( is an initiative of the African Development Bank organized in partnership with Africa Export-Import Bank, African Finance Corporation, Africa50, Development Bank of Southern Africa, European Investment Bank, Islamic Development Bank and Trade and Development Bank.


The innovative marketplace is dedicated to advancing projects to bankable stages, raising capital, and accelerating the financial closure of deals.

Trade & Development Bank, USAID Sign MoU To Power Africa

The Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB) and USAID's Power Africa initiative have today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will finance power projects in 22 African countries.

The memorandum was signed at African Development Bank's inaugural Africa Investment Forum, where emphasis on investment is at the core of tens of transactions anticipated to take place.

At the signing, the Trade and Development Bank's President and Chief Executive, Mr. Admassu Tadesse, said, "TDB is very pleased to deepen its existing partnership with USAID in further support of the Power Africa Initiative, which resonates strongly with TDB's strategy and mandate. We are proud to count USAID among our growing number of cooperating trade and development finance partners in the US."

As a new entrant to the program this collaboration makes TDB the 18th development partner of the Power Africa initiative. This formalises an already existing relationship between Power Africa and TBD, which has been working together to finance the power sector, and will now further strengthen the commitment to powering Africa through local institutions.

The Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator of USAID's Africa Bureau, Mr. Ramsey Day, said, "we are excited to welcome TDB as our 18th development partner. We applaud the Bank's commitment to increase its exposure in the energy sector from its current 8% to 20% of its portfolio, the equivalent of bringing $400 million new dollars towards power sector financing".

At the plenary session, some of the key take away messages exemplified by this MoU signing were to scale up, speed up, and synergise the opportunities for investment at the Africa Investment Forum.

Moi International Airport To Be Solar Powered

UK-based solar company, Solarcentury has signed a contract with the International Civil Aviation Organization to install solar PV systems at Moi International Airport in Mombasa, Kenya. The 500kW solar PV system will generate 820,000 kWh per year and offset 1,300 tons of CO₂ annually. 

Jonny Andersen, Managing Director for Kenya Airports Authority said in a statement: “We are excited to be the premier airports authority in the region to have the solar PV system installed. The expected savings on electricity as well as the reduction in carbon emissions will contribute towards the efficient operations of Moi International Airport.” 

As part of the installation of the solar PV system, Solarcentury will also install airport gate electrification equipment consisting of a mobile electric-powered pre-conditioned air unit and an electric 400 Hz Ground Power Unit converter. 

The solar PV system will also power the gate equipment which, in turn, will supply pre-conditioned air and compatible electric power respectively to aircrafts docked at passenger boarding bridges.

Parliament’s COSASE To Grill Mutebile, Kasekende

The governor Bank of Uganda Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile and his deputy Louis Kasekende are set to appear before Parliament’s Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) inquiry today, Wednesday, October 31, 2018. 

The meeting, according to Daily Monitor newspaper, will see the two top central bank officials tasked to ‘explain the mismanagement of closed banks and dealings with external lawyers as unearthed by the Auditor General in his special audit report to Parliament.’

The two officials also answer queries raised by the Auditor General, Mr John Muwanga.The daily newspaper reports that the auditor general report ‘revealed weaknesses in the management of the Central Bank and questioned the governor and his team for the hitches in the closure of at least seven commercial banks.’

Bank of Uganda in October 2016 took over management of Crane Bank and accused the Ruparelia Group owned bank of being ‘significantly undercapitalised’ and ‘poses a systemic risk to the stability of the financial’. The central bank said ‘continuation of Crane Bank’s activities in its current form’ was ‘detrimental to the interests of its depositors.’

A year later it sold Crane Bank to dfcu bank for at Shs200b. Daily also reports that a whistle-blower also told Cosase that BoU officials wrote off Crane Bank loans amounting to Shs600b through unclear circumstances.

The auditor general queried BoU officials on the flaws in the closure of Teefe Bank (1993), International Credit Bank Ltd (1998), Greenland Bank (1999), The Co-operative Bank (1999), National Bank of Commerce (2012), Global Trust Bank (2014) and the sale of Crane Bank Ltd (CBL) to dfcu (2016). All the former directors of the above closed banks will also be cross-examined by the committee this week.

The governor and his team will also respond to queries regarding unaccounted for funds, missing land titles and customer loans that were inherited from closed banks and sold at an undervalued rate. The MPs led by Abdul Katuntu will also seek to open the veil on the disputed sale of Crane Bank to dfcu at Shs200b. The AG observed that the assets and liabilities of Crane Bank were sold without any valuation.

Pressure was further piled on BoU and dfcu Bank by 400 ex-employees of Crane Bank who yesterday sought audience with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to present a petition demanding an investigation into a Purchase of Assets and Assumption of Liabilities (P&A) agreement that was signed between BoU and dfcu Bank without the knowledge of ex-Crane bank staff. The AG also queried this agreement. They are demanding Shs48b in terminal benefits.

Bet-city Donates Solar Panels To Secondary School

Kikagate seed secondary School, a government aided schools operating without electricity received an assortment of sola panel donation from Bet-city the company that brings you the Supa3 game.

The donation is meant to improve performance of students in the School. Students can now with the help of solar lighting for extra hours in the night.

Jamal Sultan the country manager at Bet-city, said that lack of adequate lighting critically undermines children’s ability to study in the evening and consequently constrains their performance in the classrooms. “In this digital era, lighting is ever more important for students living in rural regions to keep up with and compete with those in urban areas” said Jamal.

“Solar energy is an excellent alternative for fossil fuels like coal because it is practically emission free. With solar energy the danger of further damage to the environment is minimized” Jamal concluded.

Subscribe to this RSS feed