Energy (62)

IRENA Commits To Drive Sustainable Energy Revolution

More than 300 high-level government representatives from 110 countries and the European Union — the largest number ever represented at an IRENA Council meeting — gathered Tuesday in Abu Dhabi to attend the 13th Council of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

At the outset of the meeting, the Council elected H.E. Mr. Li Fanrong, Deputy Administrator of the National Energy Administration of China as Chair of the meeting and Colombia as Vice-Chair.

“In our efforts to meet growing energy demand with cleaner, low-carbon and sustainable sources of energy sources, China has become one of the fast-growing renewable energy markets in the world.

It has now become evident in China that renewables can not only contribute to the on-going energy transition, but also drive sustainable economic growth,” said Mr. Li.

“China is open to cooperating with all countries across the globe on renewable energy development and deployment, and honored to be part of the IRENA’s invaluable efforts at the centre of international cooperation for greater renewable energy deployment.”

In the opening session, IRENA’s Director-General Adnan Z. Amin, presented the Progress Report of IRENA’s work. “We are in the midst of a major energy transition and renewables are at the centre stage of it experiencing continuous growth and development in more and more countries around the world,” said Mr. Amin.

“This transition has multiple socio-economic benefits in terms of fueling economic growth, creating jobs and improving human welfare and the environment. We look forward to working closely with our Members and stakeholders to further accelerate the global energy transition through strengthened international cooperation and innovative partnerships.”

For the remainder of the Council, participants will discuss the Agency’s future work as part of IRENA’s Work Programme and Budget for 2018-2019, and its Medium-term Strategy for 2018-2022.

Programmatic discussions will cover the investment needs for a low-carbon energy system, renewable energy jobs, and adapting electricity market design to high shares of variable renewable energy.

Events covering battery storage, renewable energy project development and facilitation, and the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility, is also planned.

Composed of 21 IRENA Members, the Council meets twice annually to facilitate cooperation among Members, oversee implementation of the IRENA work programme and complete substantive preparations for the Agency’s annual Assembly.

Investment Increases Renewable Energy Jobs – IRENA Report

More than 9.8 million people were employed in the renewable energy sector in 2016, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2017, released at IRENA’s 13th Council meeting, provides the latest employment figures of the renewable energy sector and insight into the factors affecting the renewable labour market.

“Falling costs and enabling policies have steadily driven up investment and employment in renewable energy worldwide since IRENA’s first annual assessment in 2012, when just over five million people were working in the sector,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “In the last four years, for instance, the number of jobs in the solar and wind sectors combined has more than doubled.

“Renewables are directly supporting broader socio-economic objectives, with employment creation increasingly recognised as a central component of the global energy transition. As the scales continue to tip in favour of renewables, we expect that the number of people working in the renewables sector could reach 24 million by 2030, more than offsetting fossil-fuel job losses and becoming a major economic driver around the world,” Mr. Amin added.

The Annual review shows that global renewable-energy employment, excluding large hydropower, reached 8.3 million in 2016. When accounting for direct employment in large hydropower, the total number of renewable-energy jobs globally climbs to 9.8 million. China, Brazil, the United States, India, Japan and Germany accounted for most of the renewable-energy jobs. In China for example, 3.64 million people worked in renewables in 2016, a rise of 3.4 per cent.

IRENA’s report shows that solar photovoltaic (PV) was the largest employer in 2016, with 3.1 million jobs — up 12 per cent from 2015 — mainly in China, the United States and India. In the United States, jobs in the solar industry increased 17 times faster than the overall economy, growing 24.5 per cent from the previous year to over 260,000.

New wind installations contributed to a 7 per cent increase in global wind employment, raising it up to 1.2 million jobs. Brazil, China, the United States and India also proved to be key bioenergy job markets, with biofuels accounting for 1.7 million jobs, biomass 0.7 million, and biogas 0.3 million.

“IRENA has provided this year a more complete picture on the state of employment in the renewables sector, by including large hydropower data. It is important to recognise these additional 1.5 million working people, as they represent the largest renewable energy technology by installed capacity,” said Dr. Rabia Ferroukhi, Head of IRENA’s Policy Unit and Deputy Director of Knowledge, Policy and Finance.

The report finds that globally, 62 per cent of the jobs are located in Asia. Installation and manufacturing jobs continue to shift to the region, particularly Malaysia and Thailand, which has become global centre for solar PV fabrication.

In Africa, utility-scale renewable energy developments have made great strides, with South Africa and North Africa accounting for three-quarters of the continent’s 62,000 renewable jobs.

“In some African countries, with the right resources and infrastructure, we are seeing jobs emerge in manufacturing and installation for utility-scale projects. For much of the continent however, distributed renewables, like off-grid solar, are bringing energy access and economic development.

These off-grid mini-grid solutions are giving communities the chance to leap-frog traditional electricity infrastructure development and create new jobs in the process,” Dr. Ferroukhi said.

Efacec “Brings” Electricity To Rural Rwanda

Efacec has just been chosen by the winning consortium of the international tender launched by the Republic of Rwanda for the construction of three new 200kV substations. These infrastructures are essential to distribute power to the country’s rural areas, such as Rwabusoro, Mamba e Rilima.

The technical abilities and skills of Efacec’s High Tension Substations area was the reason behind being chosen by the tender’s winning company – STEG International Services, from Tunisia – to implement the project of engineering, supply, supervision and commissioning of the three new substations on a turn-key basis. This contract is worth approximately 10.5 million euro and has an 18 months’ execution deadline.

This construction work will be fundamental to give flow to the 80MW produced in Mamba’s Biomass Power Station for the national electricity grid. Currently only 25% of Rwanda’s households have power. This project is part of the government ambition to bring electrical energy to 70% of Rwanda’s families, until 2018.

According to Ângelo Ramalho, Efacec’s CEO, “being chosen for this project attests, once again, Efacec’s skills. We are proud of this new act of trust bestowed to our company. We’ll continuously work in order to bring power to all the parts of the world”.  The partnership established with STEG results from an ongoing project that Efacec has in Tunisia for STEG: the execution of a substations contract.

Efacec Power Solutions (EPS) is a Portuguese company with a strong international presence that produces products for power transmission and distribution (adapters, service, high and medium voltage switchgear and automation gear) for the Energy, Environmental, Industry and Railway sectors and develops solution for Electrical Mobility, namely an energy charging system.

EPS develops its activity in strategic markets, such as Spain, Central Europe, United States, Latin America, Brazil, Maghreb, Southern Africa and India.

Biomass Energy Investment Could Change Uganda’s Story

Government should take steps to bring down the country’s reliance on fossil fuels below the current 85% population reliance to be a good global citizen on climate change. Uganda, which signed Paris agreement on climate change in October 2015, could now shift its focus to implementing the pacts.

To both her 34.8 million people growing at an annual rate of 3.2%, one of the fastest in the entire world, Uganda pledged a 22% cuts in carbondixide emissions in 2030 compared to business-as-usual. The estimated emissions in 2030 is 77.3 Million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year (MtCO2eq/yr), according to the INDC.

The country has already paida heavy price to the potentially catastrophic buildup of the human-derived greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere that makes the country most vulnerable to global warming and climate change impacts. Northern and eastern Uganda has experienced both droughts and floods in 2007 floods, following the heaviest rainfall in 35 years, which destroyed crops and affected thousands of people.All these have a nexus with lack of efficient clean energy option.

From the elixir of unprecedented reduction of water in the shores of Lake Victoria to the core of the mudslide storythat buried over 360 people in Mt Elgon’s rolling slopes of Bududa district in 2010, fossil fuel energy’s overlapping phantoms haunts.

The chairman of the eastern Bududa district suggested that the death toll could be as high as 450 as nearlya hundred more of his flock went missing and presumed dead; including up to 60 children who took refuge in a nearby health centre that was subsequently destroyed

President Yoweri Museveni, while inspecting the disaster; walking over chunks of mud burying families declared to one of his closest security personnel with whom he was in tandem that he had never seen“such a disaster in his entire life anywhere in the country.”

What caused this mega mudslide? This was the first question casted upon the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness even before plans to extend handouts such as the relocation of the over 3000 affected families.Even thegovernment’s bankrolling to provide temporary shelter and food that followed cannot match a simple magic bullet Uganda needs to fight deforestation, one of the primary, yet still multifaceted causes of mudslides in the country.

As the government was drawing plans to assist the affected people, in 2011, the same disaster reoccurred. This time round, it was even more disastrous burying two villages of Namaga and Bunakasala in the Bumwalukani Sub County in the same Bududa district. Estimated 450 more died.

At global level, about 40% of all the carbon emitted by human activity has come from cutting forests. In Uganda, forests provide fuel-firewood. According to an economic survey by J.E.M. Arnold and Jules Jongma theChief of the Plans Unit of the FAO Forestry Department,   an estimated 86% of all the wood consumed annually is used as fuel.

As Uganda’s population grows, this dependence leads inexorably to pressures on the wood resource which all too often have resulted both in the destruction of the forest and in a worsening of the situation of millions of individuals whose life is conditioned by the products of the forest.

A survey also reveals that the Mt Elogon slopes was one of the record forested reserves the country was proud of untilthe 1970s. Deforestation is a major harbinger of weather related disasters toa country that hasn’t yet produced a barrel of petroleum (though is preparing to unearth 6.5 billion barrels of oil).

The state minister for Environment,Dr Goretti Kitutu blamesthe Bududa District mudslides to lack of appropriate energy solutions. “Locals have encroached the steep slopes of Mount Elgon National Park,” Dr Kitutu cried, “in search of firewood and arable land for agriculture.”

“And when 52 millimeters of rainfall came for two days, we had a disaster…villages were wept out and only 8 people survived, and they are tramautised up today,” she said at a training of judicial and officers of the directorate of public prosecution in Entebbe, Wakiso District.

Realising that Solar and Wind Energy that provides enough energy for heavy-duty household chores say cooking, may still be expensive to the local Ugandans, the government now and in the past has tried to push for development of alternative energy sources.

Biomass Briquettes and their Potential

Briquettes are an alternative fuel source that is currently gaining concordin Uganda, which have also been successfully integrated into the economy in other developing countries such as China and Thailand. Briquettes are composed of commonly found organic household waste, such as peanut shells, banana peels, corn husks, sawdust etc. and are compressed either by hand or by briquette machine into small dense products that can be used instead of charcoal and excess amounts of wood harvested from nearby forests.

Crops grown in Uganda such as maize, cereals, roots, cane sugar and coffee all produce residues that are suitable for briquetting as does dried organic municipal solid waste (MSW). Data provided by the government indicates that 1.2 million tonnes of agricultural litters are available each year and an additional 1,500 tonnes of MSW are likely to be produced in the capital city Kampala daily. These two sources combined provide a theoretical limit which indicates that at most 6% of the country’s total wood consumption and up to 50% of the charcoal trade could be replaced by briquettes from waste.

The good news is the compressed-wastes are less expensive than both charcoal and dried tree stems. In recent years Uganda has faced steady increases in charcoal prices. In 2008, the average price of a 40 kg charcoal sack was USh15,000 (US$6) and during 2009 it rose to USh25,000 (US$10), an increase of 66% in just twelve months. Prices increased substantially again in 2011, with the cost of a sack in the capital Kampala reaching USh60,000 (US$24). Today a sack is 70,000 ($28).

Meanwhile, 4 pieces of firewood (which is estimated to substitute 3.3 kg of charcoal) were sold for Ush2,000 (US$0.8). Research by the Uganda Briquettes Association expects Ush80,000 (US$33) of charcoal to last 2 weeks, whereas Ush80,000 Briquettes would last for between 4 to 10 weeks, depending on the family size and cooking frequency.

Eco-fuel Africa works with local communities to turn farm and municipal waste into clean burning fuel briquettes and organic fertilizers. Its CEO Sanga Moses, a Ugandan native contributes to the faith that this innovative energy solutions but cites raising capital as a challenge. “Banks charge very high interest rates and ask for a lot of collateral security that organizations like ours do not have while other forms of capital are simply no-existent,” says he. “This limits our ability to rapidly expand as our demand exceeds supply”

In tandem with achieving the agreed carbon cuts, it is high time the government provides special support in areas such as skills development and low interest loan schemes to promote the use of biomass fuel. This will slow down the rates of deforestation, and, if complemented with efforts like afforestation, we will survive the severe tragedies caused by cutting down forests and thrive in a cooling globe below 1.5-degree Celsius.

By Boaz Opio, environmentalist

Project To Trace Conflict-Free Gold In DRC

Partnership Africa Canada has announced the Just Gold project has successfully implemented a system to trace legal and conflict-free artisanal gold in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Just Gold project began as a pilot in Ituri Province in 2015. The announcement is a milestone for the project—moving it from the pilot stage—having proven a successful chain of custody from mine site to exporter.

“After almost two years of testing the Just Gold project with an aim to develop a chain of custody and due diligence system for artisanal gold in DRC, we are excited to share news of our success,” said Joanne Lebert, Partnership Africa Canada’s Executive Director.

“The Just Gold project can now move from a period of testing to implementation and ensuring we have a long-term, sustainable and viable solution for traceable, legal and conflict-free exports of artisanal gold from Congo,” said Lebert.  “We look forward to sharing our lessons learned with key actors and to deepening our collaboration with the DRC Government.”

The Just Gold project creates incentives for artisanal gold miners to channel their product to legal exporters—and eventually responsible consumers—by offering fair and transparent pricing and by providing capacity-building, such as technical assistance to miners in return for legal sales. Miners are taught better exploitation techniques and offered Juts Gold project equipment, in return for which any gold produced must be tracked and sold through legal channels.

“Proving that artisanal gold in eastern Congo can be conflict-free, legal and traceable is a major step in responsible sourcing efforts in the Great Lakes region. The government of Democratic Republic of Congo is taking major strides in complying with regional standards and demonstrating how the implementation the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains can contribute to progressive improvements in the sector, supporting artisanal gold men and women miners to enter international markets,” said Lebert.

Partnership Africa Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Minister of Mines Martin Kabwelulu on September 2016, outlining support for the organization’s activities to strengthen natural resource governance. Specifically, the Ministry of Mines recognized the Just Gold project as a system of traceability and encouraged its implementation. Partnership Africa Canada has provided technical support to the Ministry since 2011.

Current activities in DRC include the Just Gold project, capacity building to implement both the International Conference on the Great Lakes (ICGLR) Regional Certification Mechanism (RCM) and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance applicable to high-value minerals, as well as support to civil society for monitoring and reporting on supply chain integrity.

Partnership Africa Canada has also undertaken research and analysis of the artisanal gold supply chain to understand women’s roles in the sector. Through sensitization and outreach, the Just Gold project improves awareness of women’s rights, and their right to access, control and benefit of resources. The project also supports and fosters women’s leadership opportunities through skills-building and training.

Partnership Africa Canada's work in DRC developed from its engagement as a technical partner to the ICGLR, providing capacity-building to implement the six tools developed by the ICGLR's Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources.

Funding for the Just Gold project and Partnership Africa Canada’s work in the Great Lakes region is provided by Global Affairs Canada. Additional funding for the Just Gold project is provided by USAID through the Capacity Building for Responsible Minerals Trade (CBRMT) project and International Organization for Migration.

Siemens Signs Power Supply Agreements With Uganda, Sudan

Siemens will work more closely with Uganda and Sudan in the areas of power supply, industry, transportation and healthcare. The African states signed the corresponding Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) at the World Economic Forum 2017 in the South African city of Durban. The documents were signed in the presence of Brigitte Zypries, German Federal Minister for Economics and Energy, Joe Kaeser, President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG and further high-ranking personalities.

“Africa’s economies are gaining ground and can develop their full potential with the right partner. Siemens wants to support their sustainable development – with solutions and projects in Africa, for Africa. The agreements with our African partners are important steps along this path,” said Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of Siemens AG. “Our goal is to double our order intake in Africa to more than €3 billion by the year 2020.”

Brigitte Zypries, German Federal Minister for Economics and Energy, said: “Africa is a continent with economic opportunities and the German industry is an outstanding partner for the countries of Africa to realize these opportunities. I am very pleased that with the agreements signed today, good progress is being made towards the goal of better infrastructure and thus more growth and employment. I particularly welcome the training program because well-trained skilled workers are a key pillar of prosperity and development. And it is precisely these elements that I also support with the ‘Pro! Africa’ plan.”

“Siemens is a company that invests for the long term, and we are interested in the long-term fundamentals of these markets and the diversification of their economies,” said Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO of Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa. “The opportunity for industrialization in Africa is now. It is estimated that Africa imports one-third of the food, beverages and other similar processed goods it consumers. The potential exists for Africa-based companies to meet this domestic demand and in so doing create sustainable revenue streams and opportunities for job creation.”

Under these agreements, Siemens and its partners will develop solutions in the areas of power supply, transportation, industry and healthcare. Another key point in the agreements relates to continuing training programs for various technical fields in order to create a pool of well-trained local workers. Furthermore, Siemens is joining the “Make IT Alliance” of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development to promote start-ups and technology companies across the African continent. The agreement was signed in the presence of Guenter Nooke, German Chancellor's Personal Representative for Africa in the ministry.

Africa possesses vast economic potential with forecasted growth rates of up to five percent. Spending on African infrastructure has more than doubled to $80 billion over the last 15 years, and the aspiring urban centers offer growth opportunities for the entire continent. More than a billion people worldwide have no access to electric power, and half of those people live in Africa. In Uganda and Sudan, Siemens’ primary goal is to increase national power generating capacities and to connect the local population to the power grids. A reliable and extensive power supply system is the fundamental prerequisite for economic growth.

African countries need infrastructure and industrial projects that generate sustained income streams to fully exploit their own economic potential. New financing concepts and long-term investment guidelines that will remain in effect for 30 years will create a stable investment climate for international investors and help to implement planned infrastructure projects.

Siemens has already developed financing solutions for its megaproject in Egypt and power plant projects in Nigeria and is supporting its African partners’ efforts to implement these major infrastructure projects. Siemens promotes economic growth in Africa through far-reaching partnerships in the competence fields of power generation, transportation and healthcare, as well as the digitalization of industry.

Siemens has been active in Africa for more than 157 years. Today, with more than 3,600 employees based in a total of 15 African countries, the company contributes decisively to the continent’s economic development. In addition, Siemens is investing an average of €10 million per year for training programs and is promoting programs to increase integrity in politics and society. In the spirit of Germany’s current presidency of the G20 group and the recently published Marshall Plan for Africa, Siemens is developing new projects for the continent, with the long-term goal of promoting the African economy and creating local jobs.


Geocycle Aims For A Future Without Waste For Uganda

Geocycle was recently launched in Uganda with the aim of providing a solution to waste management that leaves no residue. Under the Geocycle brand, the LafargeHolcim Group offers waste management services in over 50 countries around the world.   

“Our promise is to offer a superior solution to disposing off waste in landfills. Geocycle will collect, segregate and incinerate waste in cement kilns of Hima Cement Limited, in a partnership that is set to deliver a “zero-waste” future for Uganda,’ said Israel Tinkasimiire, the Geocycle Country Manager, at the launch event at the Kampala Serena Hotel. 

With the ever increasing urbanization and industrialization, rapid change in lifestyles, Uganda’s waste challenge has grown in leaps and bounds. There are many urban authorities grappling with huge volumes of both organic and inorganic waste that is poorly disposed-off. On average there is about 2,500 tons of waste generated in Uganda on a daily basis with only about 10% of this waste disposed of in a safe manner. 

Geocycle aims to provide the entire waste management process from collection, transportation, segregation, auditing, as well as disposal in a process that does not require waste to be disposed-off in landfills. 

“Geocycle will collect waste directly from municipalities, industries, oil and agricultural companies, pre-process it in its waste management platforms and co-process (or reuse) in the cement kilns. Currently, Geocycle collects, segregates and incinerates agricultural waste in the Hima cement kilns,” adds Tinkasimiire. 

Geocycle contributes to the Lafargeholcim’s sustainability ambitions (the 2030 Plan) which targets to use 80 million tons per year of resources from waste by 2030. 58% of fuel used in Hima Plant in Kasese is from agricultural waste. 

Speaking at the launch, Daniel Pettersson, the Hima Cement Country CEO said: “For almost 10 years now, Hima Cement plant has been using biomass to fuel its cement kilns and dryer. These include coffee husks, rice husks, bagasse, palm kernels and sawdust which acts as a replacement for fossil fuels. Today, over half of the thermal energy for the kiln comes from biomass rather than heavy furnace oil which means a reduction in CO2 emissions by 70,000 tons annually.” 

“We believe in a future without waste; our dedicated experts work persistently toward this goal. We take the extra step to solve waste challenges for our customers and society as a whole. State-of-the-art technology, tailored processes and in-depth expertise enable us to provide sustainable, safe and reliable answers to society’s waste challenges,” he explained. 

The launch of this initiative will further enable Hima Cement improve its energy efficiency by re-purposing other forms of waste and also contribute further to Hima Cement’s objective to reduce its carbon footprint. Olivier Doyen, the Head of Geocycle in Sub-Saharan Africa disclosed that currently, Geocycle has 85 waste treatment platforms and provides fuel for 180 cement kilns.

“When you dump your waste, you do not know what happens to it after you dispose it off. It can actually turn out to be an environmental hazard. Geocycle means we do not produce any residue at the end of the process and do not release any gases into the atmosphere.” 

Geocycle Uganda is already engaging with Fort Portal Municipality which produces approximately 100 tons of waste per day and is in close proximity to the Hima plant in Kasese. 

“Our strategy shall involve partnering with the urban authorities so that we manage the waste on their behalf. From there we shall spread to other parts of the country including Kampala, where the waste generated per day is in the region of 800 tons,” disclosed Tinkasimiire. 

Waiswa Arnold, the Director of Environmental Monitoring and Compliance at the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) lauded the launch of Geocycle saying the solution will help many municipalities whose waste management processes remain an unfunded priority. 

“Many local authorities do not have enough capacity to collect and dispose off waste. Waste is certainly is a big challenge. When uncollected, especially urban centers leads to flooding, contamination of water sources thus leading to diseases. NEMA welcomes the Geocycle initiative which aims to have zero-waste future.” 

Globally, Geocycle preserves land equivalent to the size of 85 football fields annually, processes 14 million tons of waste materials worldwide leaving no residues and prevents greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that produced by 250,000 cars. It also saves energy equivalent to that of heating 180,000 households by processing waste from municipal sources.

Eskom Gifts Jinja Health Centre With Maternity Ward

President Yoweri Museveni recently commissioned a new maternity ward at the Kimaka Health Centre II, a government medical facility that has been grappling with the problem of lack of properly equipped maternity ward to handle the growing number of expectant mothers seeking medical services before delivery.

The facility has been upgraded and refurbished by Eskom Uganda in partnership with Jinja West Member of Parliament Hon Moses Balyeku, by installing modern clinical equipment to reduce the maternity related risks. Some of the equipment and items donated to the Centre include an Oxygen Machine, maternity beds, mosquito nets and an ambulance among others.

Eskom Uganda Managing Director Thozama Gangi   said that Eskom aims at creating a conducive medical facility in supplementation of government’s effort to reduce infant maternal deaths in the country.

 “We at Eskom trust that the improved health Centre will go a long way in improving the infant mortality rate within the municipality.  However, some women continue to give birth at home without the aid of a skilled birth attendant, which is a great health risk in case of complication. This facility should be a beacon of hope for such vulnerable women” said Thozama.

The chairman Eskom, Mr. Segomoco Scheppers revealed that Eskom has invested more than US$ 20 million in upgrading the systems and equipment at the site and they expect to invest additional US$ 25 million in the remaining period of the concession in upgrades and new system to sustain electricity availability.

Over the last 14 years of operations in Uganda, Eskom has invested in many priority areas which include environmental upgrade, sports sponsorship, health and education.

Speaking at the same event, Hon. Moses Balyeku pledged to continue working with relevant corporate organizations and government to on projects that can improve the welfare of the electorate.

 “Eskom has proved beyond doubt that it’s a good corporate citizen that cares for the welfare of Ugandans. The people of Busoga should be proud of this company for standing with us whenever we reach out to them. We pray that this kind of spirit continues for posterity”, he concluded.

The ceremony was also attended by His Excellency Prof. Maj. Gen. (rtd.) Lekoa Solly Mollo, the High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa who hailed the partnership between Eskom and the local leadership to improve the health of the ordinary people.

Power For All Report Pinpoints Policies To Accelerate Energy Access

A ground-breaking report recently released by Power for All identifies the five most important national energy policies needed to end electricity poverty for approximately 1 billion rural poor (mostly living in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia), and outlines the steps governments can take to implement those policies, in particular the integration of decentralized renewable (also known as distributed or “off-grid”) solutions into energy infrastructure planning and build-out.

The report centers on new quantitative and qualitative analysis from the Platform for Energy Access Knowledge (PEAK) -- a joint project between the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL), University of California, Berkeley and the Power for All campaign. PEAK examined the policies of five high-growth decentralized renewable energy (DRE) markets -- India and Bangladesh in Asia, and Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia in Africa -- to identify trends in energy policy that will help other countries replicate success.

In order to measure progress, the report also unveils an Energy Access Target Tracker (EATT), which for the first time indexes the 48 energy-poorest countries and their national energy access targets, and determines which are best prepared to achieve universal electrification and which are not. Currently, almost two-thirds of the countries lack a rural energy access target. The 48 countries together account for 540 million rural unelectrified, more than half of the global total.

A 2016 report by Power for All concluded that ending energy poverty by 2030 -- the focus of UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 -- can only be achieved for the rural poor by accelerating investment in decentralized renewable energy (DRE) solutions such as mini-grids and rooftop solar.

The new report, titled “Decentralized Renewables: From Promise to Progress”, builds on those findings, with a focus on the need for policy leadership alongside increased access to finance. The analysis of the high-growth DRE markets identified key policy levers that have resulted in success. Those five policies are:

  • Reduction of import duties and tariffs on DRE related products
  • Support for the availability of local finance through loans and grants and microfinance
  • Establishment of energy access targets or national commitments to electrification
  • Establishment of rural electrification plans or programs that incorporate DRE
  • Technical regulation through established licensing procedures for mini-grid operators and through adoption of quality standards for products and services

But more than just identifying what policies are behind rapid rural energy access, the new report also addresses how to get there, by making key three recommendations on policy implementation and process, including:

Setting the target: include decentralized renewables in national policies and rural electrification plans

Ending the implementation gap: institute decentralized energy in integrated energy planning so that grid extension, mini-grids, and standalone systems are given equal consideration

Instituting collaborative policy design: DRE multi-stakeholder-led policy-making that includes government, private sector, funding and civil society actors

“Decentralized renewable energy is the key to unlocking SDG 7, and this report not only identifies the policies necessary to jumpstart that process, but for the first time outlines specific actions that help national governments successfully implement these policies,” said Rebekah Shirley, Power for All research director and co-author of the new report. “Energy access is possible, but only with political will and leadership at the national level.”

Turning its Call to Action into tangible results, Power for All recently hosted multi-stakeholder meetings in Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, where governments, civil society and the private sector responded with clear commitments to accelerate energy access via DRE.

Mohammed Wasaram, managing director of Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA) pledged that his organization would “continue to uphold its mandate to ensure the facilitation of entry of new market participants and continued development of local rural electrification ventures. REA recognizes the efforts of the Power for All initiative and commends them for serving as an organized focal point for such market participants in renewable energy and will continue to support such initiatives."


African Utility Week To Showcase Home-Grown Energy Solutions

The award-winning African Utility Week taking place from 16-18 May in Cape Town, will showcase how the continent is coming up with innovative, home-grown solutions to its energy and water challenges and how these are creating exciting and lucrative opportunities for utilities and industry suppliers alike.

Experts from respected partners in the industry such as the World Bank, KPMG, Power Africa, Huawei, GE, Shell, SAP and leading African utilities will head up the more than 7000 power and water professionals from more than 80 countries, including 30 African nations, who will gather for African Utility Week.

But this year also kick-starts a specific focus on a new trend in the industry: namely smaller, community scale off-grid projects that are starting to make a real difference in the development of the continent.

Evan Schiff, African Utility Week event director, says the power and energy landscape in Africa is undergoing significant change. He adds that current trends include “the availability of private investment for power and energy projects, the fast development of energy storage, renewable energy is becoming cheaper, gas that is an increasingly attractive mode of power generation in Africa, and that in the next 10 years, nuclear will become an increasingly important mode of base-load power generation.”

The investment, trade and development opportunities in the sub-Saharan African electricity sector are estimated at $835 billion of capital investment, $490 billion for generation capacity and $345 billion for infrastructure.

Alongside the long-running African Utility Week, a new platform for community scale projects, Energy Revolution Africa, will be launched in May this year to provide a unique forum for solution providers to meet with the new energy purchasers such as metros and municipalities, IPPs, rural electrification project developers and large power users, including mines, commercial property developers and industrial manufacturers.

The latest innovations and projects in the sectors of renewables, future technology, energy efficiency, micro/off-grid and energy storage will be showcased.

Speaker highlights at African Utility Week include:

  • Lionel Zinsou, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Benin, member of the West African Energy Leaders Group and investment banker.
  • Matshela Koko, Acting CEO, Eskom, South Africa.
  • Lazarus Angbazo, President and CEO of GE Energy Connections SSA.
  • James Stewart, Global Head of Major Projects (Power and Utilities), KPMG.
  • Bob Lockhart, Vice President of Cyber Security of the Utilities Technology Council.
  • Subha Nagarajan, Managing Director for Africa, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), USA.
  • Ambassador Tebogo Seokolo, Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • Lucio Monari, Sector Manager for Africa Energy Group, World Bank.
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Wind: 22.53 km/h

  • 24 Mar 2016 28°C 22°C
  • 25 Mar 2016 28°C 21°C