Energy

Energy (68)

New MoU Boosts Uganda – Russia Nuclear Relations

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Tuesday announced that government of Uganda had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Russian state Atomic Energy Corporation(ROSATOM) on the cooperation in the peaceful uses of atomic energy on June 19th 2017 in Moscow.

This, according to a press statement issued Tuesday afternoon, establishes a framework for coorpeartion with a focus on development of nuclear power infrasturucture in Uganda and the uses of radioisotopes and radiation technologies, applications in industry, medicine, agriculture and other areas.

The MoU will also cover corroboration on Human Resource education and training, nuclear research centers, nuclear energy among others. The Memorandum is the first step towards bilateral cooperation in area of peaceful uses of atomic energy by both countries.

A critical step towards this end is both countries concluding an Intergovenmantal Agreement (IGA). Discussions on the IGA were initiated at the sidelines of the IX International Forum ATOMEXPO-2017. The Agreement will facilitate the two countries in accordance with the International Atomic Energy Agency guidance.

The MoU was signed by Hon. Eng. Simon D’Ujanga, the Minister of State for Energy, on behalf of the Ugandan Government and Mr. Nikolai Spasskiy, the Deputy Director General of ROSATOM, on behalf of the Russian Government.

The signing ceremony was held in the presence of the Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Uganda in Moscow, Ambassador Rutazindwa Gideon Mwebaze and the ROSATOM Director General Alexey Likhachev.

The signing was also witnessed by Dr. Stepehn Robert Isabalija, the Perment Secretary, Ms. Sarah Nafuna, the Head Nuclear Energy Unit and Mr. Sabbiti Baguma, Tecehnical Staff from the MEMD.

Efacec Strengthens Bissau’s Electrical Capacity

Efacec won the international public tender, promoted by the public company Eletricidade e Águas da Guiné-Bissau (EAGB), for the construction of essential infrastructure to double the current installed electrical capacity of Bissau.

The contract, worth 10 million euros, includes the construction of two substations and a 6.2 km long line to link the new thermal power station, which will be built in Bor, to the capital of Guinea-Bissau.

The infrastructure to be built by Efacec is a key step in the Bissau electrification architecture. In addition to doubling the current capacity of the capital, it will make it possible to provide electricity to broader group of population, raising living standards and making a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of this African country.

The two substations, with 30 by 10 kV capacity, to be built in Bor and Bra regions, and the energy evacuation system, with a 63 kV capacity, are a precondition for the execution of the second module from Bissau’s electrical project that includes the construction of a power plant with a 100 megawatts capacity at Bor.

Efacec 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.

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

Engie, EleQtra Sign Wind Project Agreement In Ghana

Engie and eleQtra, a developer of power and transportation projects in sub-Saharan Africa, signed a Joint Development Agreement that defines the terms and the schedule for the development and construction of the 50 MW Ada Wind power project in the Greater Accra Region in Ghana.

The project is expected to require an investment of approximately $120 million and to start operations early 2019. ENGIE will enter as a 40% partner in the project.

The Ada Wind power project is located in the eastern part of the Greater Accra region. The combination of strong wind resources, availability of open land and good access to transmission infrastructure make this an excellent location. The project was initiated by eleQtra Limited. Initial studies have already been completed and demonstrate the project’s viability.

The Ada Wind project will contribute to the Ghanaian Government’s objective of generating 10% of its electricity from renewable resources. It is also in line with Ghana’s ambition to become a power generation hub in West Africa with the benefit of exporting power to its neighbours in the West African Power Pool. 

eleQtra Partner Ebbe Hamilton said:  “eleQtra is delighted to have ENGIE joining the development of what we believe will be the first wind energy project in Ghana. We will now start the next phase of the development in order to bring the project as soon as possible into operation.”

Philippe Miquel, Regional Manager Western & Central Africa for ENGIE said: “The Ghanaian Government is looking to strengthen its renewable energy industry and is putting in place a regulatory framework that should encourage the electrification of the country in an affordable and sustainable manner.

The Ada Wind Project will be instrumental in the diversification of Ghana’s energy portfolio. Our partnership will bring the technical experience, the local knowledge and the funding required to develop, construct and deliver this competitive 50 MW wind project.”

Winners Of $7m Access Co-Development Facility Competition Announced

Access Power a developer, owner and operator of renewable power projects in emerging markets in partnership with EREN Renewable Energy, a global independent power producer, announced the three winners of the 2017 US$7 million Access Co-Development Facility (ACF) - an innovative funding and support platform for renewable energy projects in Africa.

The three winning projects, hailing from Tanzania, Rwanda and Ghana, were selected from a technologically and geographically diverse pool of 82 entrants from 23 countries after having presented to a live panel of industry expert judges.

The panel based their final selection on the commercial, technical and environmental merits of the projects presented, as well as the local regulatory environment and capability of the project teams. The winners will share the US$7 million pot provided by the Access Co-Development Facility as well as technical support and expertise.

This year’s winners are:

Tanzania: 30MW, Kondoa, Solar PV project

Rwanda: 9.7MW, Rukarara, Hydro project

Ghana: 48MW, Winneba, Wind project

When completed, the projects will collectively provide over 85MW of electricity, enough to power more than 420,000 homes and business across Tanzania, Rwanda and Ghana. The winners were announced today in Copenhagen at the 19th annual Africa Energy Forum, following a presentation by the five shortlisted developers to a panel of expert judges.

Reda El Chaar, Executive Chairman of Access Power said: “We are very excited to begin working with today’s winners in partnership with EREN and help bring their projects to fruition. Each of these projects has the power to dramatically improve the lives of the communities around these renewable energy facilities.

“By partnering with us, these local entrepreneurs will gain access to not only our pot of $7 million but also our network of contacts and technical experts, underlining the unique nature of the ACF in creating a clear route to market.”

The winning projects will now enter into Joint Development Agreements with Access Power, who will take an equity stake. Winners will also be able to leverage Access Power’s organisational, financial and technical knowledge, as well as access to our network.

They will also receive assistance with the funding of third-party development costs including feasibility studies, grid studies, environmental and social impact assessments and due diligence fees.

This year’s competition was notable for the dominance of solar, with just under half of this year’s entries and three of the five shortlisted projects falling under the category, but also for the high number of applications from countries with low levels of electrification.

Of the 23 countries represented in this year’s edition, 18 have electrification rates below 30%. This year’s application process also further highlighted the rise of East and West Africa as hotspots for renewable energy development, with nearly 80% of all applicants hailing from both sides of the continent.

IRENA, State Grid Of China To Accelerating Energy Transition

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the world’s largest utility, agreed to enhance their co-operation with a view to advancing the energy transition under global and regional initiatives, including the Paris Agreement and the Belt and Road initiative.

The framework of the agreement includes opportunities for collaboration on activities related to integrating high shares of wind and solar, grid integration, interconnection and smart grids.

The framework also includes initiating technical co-operation in the context of IRENA’s Clean Energy Corridor initiatives and capacity building activities related to integrating renewable power in energy systems in developing countries.

The agreement was formalised on the sidelines of the Eighth Clean Energy Ministerial in Beijing, China between IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin and SGCC Chairman Shu Yinbiao. 

“As the world’s largest renewable energy market, China is at the forefront of renewable energy and it is State Grid that provides the electricity backbone for over 1 billion people,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.

“Providing more electricity – and more renewable electricity – than any other utility in the world, State Grid’s extensive experience with grid infrastructure and integrating renewable energy into power systems will help improve understanding of how we can bring larger shares of renewable power online. We look forward to working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable energy future both in China and around the world.”

State Grid Chairman Shu Yinbiao said at today's signing: "As the largest utility in the world, State Grid Corporation of China is dedicated to the interconnection of world power infrastructure to realize efficient, clean and sustainable development of global energy and contribute to the Belt and Road Initiative.

Based on the consensus of advancing the energy transition towards a low-carbon and green energy future, State Grid will implement extensive win-win cooperation with IRENA in terms of power grid technology, equipment and international standards.”

China is the world’s largest renewable energy market with over 27% (545 gigawatts) of the world’s installed renewable energy capacity and over 40% of the world’s renewable energy workforce. 

SGCC constructs and operates power grids throughout China as its core business, providing power to over 1.1 billion people throughout China. The company also has overseas operations in Europe, Latin America and Australia.

IRENA Expands Effort To Drive Corporate Renewable Energy Use

As part of its efforts to boost renewable energy use by businesses around the world, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has today launched a global company survey questionnaire on the corporate sourcing of renewables.

The information from the survey, which was launched at the Eighth Clean Energy Ministerial during the Corporate Sourcing of Renewables Day, will feed into IRENA’s forthcoming REmade Index, the first global reference index on voluntary corporate renewable energy purchasing for all end-uses.

The REmade Index report – due out later this year – will recognise companies sourcing renewables, highlight latest trends and provide recommendations to accelerate the trend.

“Whether making direct investments in renewable energy, signing corporate PPAs or buying renewable energy certificates, the remarkable set of commitments and actions we are seeing in the corporate sector on renewables is a clear sign that the business case for renewable energy is stronger than ever,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.

“These achievements from companies around the world are only the beginning of what companies can do to help accelerate the energy transition. As this trend continues, global interest in identifying and removing market barriers and sharing best practices, both in the public and private sectors, will only grow.

By mapping out global efforts and potential for corporate sourcing in decarbonising the global energy mix, the REmade Index is designed to do just that,” Mr. Amin added.

IRENA’s initial work on corporate sourcing shows that that the drivers for corporate procurement are changing. With the business case for renewables firmly established, many companies outside the energy sector are turning to renewable energy, not only out of corporate social responsibility but as a result of sound business decisions based on costs, profitability and security of supply.

"Since our first power purchase agreement in 2010, Google has signed 20 different renewable energy purchasing deals in 5 countries totaling 2.6 GW.  However, we're not yet able to purchase renewable energy everywhere we have significant operations, as we are limited by policy and regulatory hurdles in some markets," said Michael Terrell, Head of Energy Policy at Google.

"We're very excited that IRENA has begun this effort to take stock of policy frameworks around the world with a view to unlocking markets for corporate renewable energy sourcing."

Findings from the corporate survey, which is being launched today, will be compiled along results from the already completed survey amongst IRENA member states. The responses indicate that while many countries wish to facilitate the voluntary demand for corporate sourcing of renewables and recognise its potential, today’s enabling frameworks do still not sufficiently take into account the needs and drivers for companies to invest in renewables.

“We have seen continued wind and solar energy technology cost reductions in recent months, with record-low auction results from different regions of the world,” said Thorsten Herdan, Director General for Energy Policy, German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

“In many areas, the business case for corporates to source renewables has further improved. With the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Corporate Sourcing Campaign, we have initiated important work, supported by IRENA and further partners from civil society and business, to better understand and to improve the market and regulatory framework conditions for corporate sourcing.” 

The REmade Index is being developed in support of the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Corporate Sourcing of Renewables Campaign, launched at last year’s Ministerial in San Francisco with the objectives of advancing the business case for the corporate sourcing of renewables and identifying and implementing policy recommendations and best practices. The Campaign also aims to increase corporate commitments on renewables, and to recognise and incentivize the implementation of those commitments.

The REmade Index is also supported by the IRENA Coalition for Action, a multi-stakeholder coalition to support the accelerated deployment of renewables worldwide.

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

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