Energy

Energy (101)

Hoima-Buseruka Power Line Affected Residents Demand Compensation

By Busiinge George

Over 300 Hoima residents whose property were destroyed during the construction of 33kv Hoima-Buseruka power line project are demanding that government compensates them, after the contracted company did work without paying them.

 The affected residents say they lost property during the early stages of constructing various power lines in parts of Bujumbura division, Kitoba and Buseruka sub-counties.

Government in 2014 under Rural Electrification Agency-REA contracted M/S Resco property consultants to undertake assessment and valuation of affected properties but since then some affected persons have never been paid.

Lawrence Barungi, the affected persons’ chairperson says the contracted company undervalued their affected property, omitted some persons and asked for bribes among other anomalies.

He said they have already contacted their lawyers Owen Mulangira and co advocates to pursue a civil case to compel government to compensate them.

Yowasi Katuku, a resident of Bulemwa village says his house was demolished but to date, he has never been compensated.

Joan Atugonza also an affected person says that during the construction of the power line, her eucalyptus trees, mangoes and jack fruit were destroyed adding that they were her only source of income.

Ronald Kato Rwahwire, a lead counsel at the law firm said they wrote to Rural Electrification Agency notifying them about the people’s concerns and are still waiting for feedback.

A letter from the authority signed by the acting Executive Director John Turyagyenda however reveals that they only know 165 project affected persons and their payment is in the process as opposed to 384.

But Rwahwire, asked the affected persons to get calm saying this gives a good basis to challenge them in court.

Tribunal to Address Concerns Of Power Line Affected Persons

By Busiinge George

Over 100 residents from nine villages whose property were destroyed during the construction of the Kihomboza-Kikonoka power line are relieved after the electricity disputes tribunal agreed to address their complaints.

The residents from Kihombooza, one, two and three villages, Bujwahya, Bulyango and Kikonoka among others petitioned the tribunal after government failed to compensate them for their lost property in 2012.

The power line was constructed under the rural electrification programme. Through Musa Baale and co. Advocates the affected persons have since been waiting for the final decision from the tribunal.

During a complaints hearing session held in Kampala recently, the tribunal officials promised to liaise with the Hoima leadership to have a dialogue to help them listen to all complaints.

Some leaders of the affected persons are happy with the decision. The tribunal was established in 2003 and sits in Kampala.

ENGIE Joins Forces With Fenix To Accelerates Off-Grid Energy Development

ENGIE and Fenix announced last week that they had agreed on a transaction in which ENGIE will acquire 100% of Fenix International, a next generation energy company, offering Solar Home Systems (SHS) in Africa.

Founded in 2009, Fenix employs over 350 people and has its main activities in Uganda where it is the leading SHS player with more than 140,000 customers. Fenix recently expanded into Zambia and plans further roll-outs in other countries across Africa.

Fenix will be the first SHS Company to join a major worldwide energy company, which puts the fight against climate change and energy access at the very center of its purpose.

Bruno Bensasson, CEO of ENGIE Africa noted that they believe that combining the strengths of ENGIE, a global energy player and Fenix, a successful company with very strong customer focus, high-quality products and an experienced team anchored in the heart of Sub-Saharan Africa, will enable faster deployment of SHS to the large African population still lacking access to electricity.

“Fenix will be the agile growth engine for ENGIE's SHS business in Africa and enable us to become a leading profitable off-grid energy services company on the continent, reaching millions of customers by 2020.

We do believe that universal access is now reachable in a foreseeable future by the combination of national grids extension, local micro-grids and solar home systems, depending on the local characteristics of the energy demand."

Lyndsay Handler, CEO of Fenix International: "Fenix and ENGIE share the belief that universal access to energy is possible and paramount. To date, Fenix has delivered reliable solar power to over 900,000 people in East Africa.

By joining forces with ENGIE - one of the world's largest independent utility companies with a firm commitment to a decentralized, decarbonized and digital energy revolution - we will greatly accelerate the path to our vision."

She added, "Our values and our team will remain at the core of Fenix. We will continue to relentlessly pursue an exceptional customer experience in all we do and we will invest even more in building a great team with a strong culture.

Together with ENGIE's ambitions, experience, talent and long-term investments, we will deliver affordable power and other life-changing products to customers across Africa and make universal access to modern energy a reality."

Over 600 million people lack access to modern energy in Africa. Rapid improvement of photovoltaic, battery storage technologies and mobile payment platforms make it possible for companies to offer affordable, reliable and expandable solar home systems.

 Fenix's flagship product, ReadyPay Power, provides lighting, phone charging and power for TVs and radios. The technology is offered on a lease-to-own basis so that off-grid customers can finance their power system through micro instalments over mobile money.

Fenix uses the financing of the solar home system to build a credit score for each customer which can then be used to power and finance other life-changing products and services from Fenix.

This investment will contribute to ENGIE's goal of providing 20 million people around the world with access to decarbonized, decentralized energy by 2020, using the latest digital technologies.

Fenix's strength within the home solar market in Africa will play a strategic part in the realisation of this goal, given the number of households that off-grid solar is expected to reach over the coming years.

The World Bank has estimated that up to 99 million households, more than a third of those that are off-grid, will rely on home solar by 2020, with the market growing fastest in Africa.

Closing of the transaction will happen once all approvals of the relevant regulatory bodies are received.

South Sudan Seek Energy Cooperation With Sudan, Uganda

South Sudan Oil & Power 2017 brought together 400 delegates including Vice President James Wani Igga and ministers of petroleum, energy, trade, roads, and environment.

The event, South Sudan's first ever energy and infrastructure conference, aimed to attract investment into oil, gas, power and supporting infrastructure. Ministry and NOC representatives from Uganda and Sudan attended and delivered keynotes.

CNPC, Petronas, Tullow Oil and national oil company Nilepet and its international joint ventures supported the event as sponsors.

South Sudan's first ever energy and infrastructure conference, endorsed by the Ministry of Petroleum and organized by Africa Oil & Power, launched last week and was oversubscribed by 30 percent.

Four hundred delegates, including the Vice President, the Minister of Petroleum and five cabinet ministers, the presidents of all South Sudan's joint operating companies, representatives from international oil companies CNPC, Petronas and Tullow Oil and ministerial delegations from Uganda and Sudan, attended the two-day event.

Fifty speakers addressed the audience in Juba in a series of keynote speeches, presentations, workshops and panel discussions.

"We were blown away by the attendance and by the level of engagement from participants, which we believe reflects new optimism for South Sudan," said Guillaume Doane, CEO of Africa Oil & Power.

"This is a country with proven below-ground potential and an increasing commitment to resolving above-ground risks. The international investment community is recognizing that the market is ripe for resurgence."

Indeed South Sudan has enormous proven onshore oil reserves, but production has slipped to about 120,000 barrels per day as two oilfields have been shut down due to security concerns. 

The country has a capacity to produce more than twice this amount. Major issues discussed during South Sudan Oil & Power included enhancements to security at northern oilfields, increasing improved and enhanced oil recovery techniques at maturing fields with flagging output and securing financing for power and infrastructure.

During the conference the governments of South Sudan and Sudan met to discuss strengthening oil trade. The governments of Uganda and South Sudan discussed how to upgrade energy infrastructure in the region.

"I can't believe what we have accomplished. With Africa Oil & Power, we have started something big," said H.E. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, Minister of Petroleum of South Sudan, during the conference closing ceremonies. "We need to do this every year."

Baobab+, Mobisol Take Solar Revolution To Côte d'Ivoire

Mobisol, a leading provider of decentralized solar solutions, and Baobab+, a principal solar distributor in West Africa, have joined hands in a partnership to boost the solar revolution in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast).

Having recently initiated their Ivorian soft roll-out, Baobab+ will be distributing Mobisol’s all-in-one solar system throughout the country. The cooperation combines Mobisol’s strengths in provision of reliable high-tech solar hardware and innovative software solutions with Baobab+’s broad expertise in customer finance and distribution within West Africa.

The partnership with Mobisol as a hardware and software provider enables Baobab+ to focus on sales and distribution strategies. Baobab+ benefits from Microcred's expertise in risk management and its existing distribution network, 20 branches and 100,000 clients in Côte d'Ivoire.

This offer will provide access to real electrification solutions beyond lighting for households and businesses without prior access to the national grid. Ensuring affordability of solar power systems is the first step to financial inclusion: Baobab+ clients, having successfully completed their PAYG purchase, will become eligible to a Microcred digital loan.

Baobab+’s deep understanding of local characteristics and operational experience within the West African market positions them ideally to quickly establish scalable structures for logistics, sales and marketing as well as a comprehensive after-sales network for households and micro-entrepreneurs throughout Côte d'Ivoire.

Mobisol brings into the cooperation their proficiency in engineering and procuring large high-tech solar home and commercial systems – such as the all-in-one solar system. This Mobisol system includes PV panel, inbuilt battery, large flatscreen HD TV with aerial & sat receiver, ultraefficient LED lamps and charges customers’ mobile phones.

By providing robust and reliable solar solutions with compatible DC appliances in Côte d'Ivoire, the Germany-based company builds upon their success story in East Africa, where they have already electrified nearly half a million people to date.

Additionally, the company provides their proprietary software suite SolarHub, enabling convenient pay-as-you-go (PAYG) financing via mobile banking and comprehensive customer experience support.

Klaus Maier, Mobisol’s Head of Partnerships & Expansion, says: “We are pleased to team up and deliver our state-of-the art hardware and software solutions to Baobab+ as an experienced partner on the ground.

This is the first step towards further supporting Baobab+ to provide tens of thousands of Ivorian households and businesses with reliable, affordable and sustainable energy.”

Alexandre Coster, CEO and founder at Baobab+ adds: “We are thrilled to officially launch our  operations in Côte d'Ivoire with larger solar systems that empower entire communities. This way, we will help to vastly boost electrification in Côte d'Ivoire – thus raising households’ quality of life and socio-economic opportunities, while mitigating global climate change.”

Battery Costs In Stationary Energy Could Fall By Up To 66%, Says IRENA

The cost of battery storage for stationary applications could fall by up to 66 per cent by 2030, according to a new report published recently by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The falling price of batteries could stimulate 17-fold growth of installed battery storage, opening up a number of new commercial and economic opportunities, the report highlights.

Launched during the ‘Innovation for Cool Earth Forum’ in Tokyo, Japan, IRENA’s Electricity Storage and Renewables: Costs and Markets to 2030 assessment of electricity storage in stationary applications also found that global storage capacity could triple if countries double the share of renewables in the energy system.

“As storage technology improves and prices decline, both utility-scale and small-scale, distributed applications could grow dramatically, accelerating renewable energy deployment” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “In this dynamic, low-carbon energy environment, now is a crucial time for storage technology.

“This research demonstrates that the business case for renewable energy continues to strengthen," continued Mr. Amin, "positioning it firmly as a low-cost and secure source of energy supply."

The report, which is focused on stationary applications, highlights that while pumped-hydro systems currently dominate total installed power storage capacity, with 96% of the installed electricity storage power globally, economies of scale and technology breakthroughs will support the accelerated development and adoption of alternative storage technologies, such as lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and flow batteries.

Stationary electricity storage can directly drive rapid decarbonisation in other key segments of energy use, such as in the transport sector where the viability of battery storage for electric vehicles (EVs) is improving fast. At the end of 2016, the cost of Li-ion batteries had fallen by as much as 73 per cent for transport applications from 2010.

While Li-ion batteries in stationary applications have a higher installed cost than those used in EVs, in Germany, small-scale Li-ion battery systems have also seen their total installed costs fall by 60 per cent between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2017.

“The growth of lithium-ion battery use in electric vehicles and across the transport sector over the next 10 to 15 years is an important synergy that will help drive down battery costs for stationary storage applications,” said Dolf Gielen, Director of the IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre and an author of the report.

“The trend towards electrified mobility will also open up opportunities for electric vehicles to provide vehicle-to-grid services, helping feed a virtuous circle of renewable energy and storage integration.

“Storage technology will deliver service flexibility to the grid and electricity storage to small-scale rooftop solar applications in markets where commercial and residential electricity rates are high, and grid feed-in remuneration is declining,” concluded Mr. Gielen.

By 2030, the calendar life of Li-ion batteries could also increase by approximately 50 per cent, while the number of full cycles possible could potentially increase by as much as 90 per cent. Other battery storage technologies also offer large cost reduction potential.

High temperature “sodium sulphur” batteries could see their costs decline by up to 60%, while the total installed cost of flow batteries could potentially fall by two-thirds by 2030.

Although they are subject to higher up-front costs compared to other technologies, flow batteries often exceed 10,000 full cycles, balancing the costs with very high lifetime energy throughputs.

Siemens Signs MoU With Madagascar To Accelerate Country's Power Generation

 

Siemens last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Republic of Madagascar to cooperate and identify measures to fast track power generation in the country and work towards increasing capacity by an additional 300MW by 2019.

The agreement was signed together with project partners TSK and in the presence of Günter Nooke, the German Chancellor's Personal Representative for Africa and the German ambassador to Madagascar, Harald Gehrig, in the Ministry of Water, Energy and Hydrocarbons. 

Other key aspects of the agreement include an assessment of the electrical grid based on the new power generation sources; applying financing concepts that will ensure the long-term sustainability of these infrastructure initiatives; and creating opportunities for local upskilling and job creation during construction and operation. 

Currently, Madagascar has 676MW of installed generation capacity and it is estimated that access to electricity is around 20%. Opportunities exist to increase the installed capacity through hydropower and explore oil reserves to meet the targets set by government. 

"The primary goal of this agreement is to increase national power generating capacity and to connect the local population to the power grid. A reliable and extensive power supply system is the fundamental prerequisite for economic growth, says Sabine Dall'Omo, Siemens CEO for Southern and Eastern Africa. 

"Siemens wants to support the sustainable development of Madagascar," says Dall'Omo. "We are a company that invests for the long-term, and the opportunity for industrialization in Africa is now. With the right partner Africa's economies can develop to their full potential." 

"Improving the country's energy mix will strengthen the well-established agriculture and mining industry and emerging tourism, textile industries," adds Dall'Omo. 

One of the short-term initiatives is the installation of a Siemens 44-megawatt aero-derivative gas turbine (SGT-A45) for mobile power generation in Antananarivo. This unit is packaged for rapid deployment and can be installed in less than two weeks. It is particularly beneficial for urgent power needs or in regions with less developed infrastructure making it ideal for Madagascar. 

Siemens promotes economic growth in Africa through far-reaching initiatives in the fields of Power, Transportation, Manufacturing and partners with customers to realize the full potential that Digitalization brings to these industries. 

New AGCO agribusiness qualification set to develop skills, leadership and strategic expertise to drive African agricultural prosperity

 

Mobisol Deal To Electrify 15,000 Households In Tanzania

Mobisol, a principal player in decentralized solar electrification, and two energy funds managed by responsAbility, a leading asset manager in the field of development investments, have signed an off-balance sheet debt deal.

The cooperation will fuel the continued growth of Mobisol in Tanzania and provide financing for electrifying more than 15,000 households and small businesses. The deal is one of the largest special purpose vehicle debt transaction structures in the off-grid solar sector.

The innovative mechanics involve local special purpose vehicles (SPVs) that ring-fence receivables from specific Mobisol customers exclusively for the responsAbility-managed funds.

The structure has been labelled MOOVE (MObisol Off-grid financing VEhicle). Complicated intercreditor agreements that typically make on-balance sheet lending cumbersome are thereby avoided and Mobisol is now in a position to offer tailor-made debt financing solutions for future lenders. At the same time MOOVE is infinitely scalable, can easily be replicated in Tanzania and other countries and reduces transaction costs.

Hartmut Schuening, CFO Mobisol, said: “Mobisol is proud to have partnered with responsibility in order to devise MOOVE, a groundbreaking new financing structure for debt financing. We believe the mechanics will make a significant contribution to the growth of the PAYG sector as a whole”.

Stefan Issler, Head of Energy Debt Financing – Direct Investments at responsAbility Investments, noted that “Through its pay-as-you-go business model Mobisol provides underserved Tanzanian households and businesses with affordable and reliable off-grid electricity supply – an important prerequisite for further economic growth and development in the country. We are pleased to be able to provide easy-to-access financing for the further development of this impactful business.”

This financing mechanism is already attracting interest from further lenders and should greatly ease access to debt capital.

At the aggregate level, MOOVE will be able to help structure what could become a completely new asset class in the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) universe, thereby attracting a new range of commercial and institutional investors who have been waiting for an easy and secure investment vehicle.

 

Energy Leaders To Meet In Casablanca This November

Two energy forums focusing on gas and renewable energy in Casablanca this November have secured the endorsement of the Honourable Minister Aziz Rabbah, Minister of Energy, Mines, Sustainable Development in Morocco

The Africa Renewable Energy Forum and the preceding Gas Options: North & West Africa meeting will take place from 29th November – 1st December 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Casablanca.

As the officially labelised side-event of COP22, the Africa Renewable Energy Forum was first held in Marrakesh from 2-4 November 2016 under the aegis of the Ministry of Energy of Morocco and endorsed by ONEE.

The second Forum returns to Morocco this year to build its foundation as the pan-African meeting for stakeholders driving forward renewable energy projects in Africa.

ARF will bring together government ministers, heads of African utilities and some of the biggest global investors in renewable energy to discuss solutions to move forward renewable energy projects.

The first forum attracted over 350 high level international participants, including 11 African countries represented at senior government and utility level.

Preceding the renewable energy forum this year will be the Gas Options – North and West Africa meeting - an international gas-to-power focused gathering shining a spotlight onto gas projects in North & West Africa.

This meeting will invite all 12 countries involved in the Morocco–Nigeria Gas Pipeline project to discuss next steps and the benefits of the project in developing the region. Investors and energy decision-makers will be invited to participate in discussions with the public sector on how they can contribute to the project. This meeting has the support of the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) and participation from Director General Amina Benkhadra.

Organiser of the forums Valeria Aruffo said the forums will hone in on investment opportunities in the Nigeria–Morocco Gas Pipeline, as well as bringing together key stakeholders to drive forward renewable energy projects on the continent in light of the COP22 outcomes last year."

Unlocking Solar Capital Africa Conference To Unlock Continent’s Energy Potential

Solaplaza's 'Unlocking Solar Capital Africa' conference, an event focused on connecting solar project development and finance & investment, will be the first African event featuring a Solar Incubator program, aimed at identifying PV projects of potential in sub-Saharan Africa by providing access to funding, and commercial and technical knowledge.

The initiative, 'The PV Solar Incubator, Your Project, Our Expertise, For a Sustainable Future,' will be launched by Phanes Group in partnership with Solarplaza, Hogan Lovells, responsAbility, and Proparco, and invites PV developers to submit proposals for projects that are based in sub-Saharan Africa, and have a clear CSR component.

Candidates are asked to submit their proposals before October 1, 2017, via Phanes Group's website or through the conference website. Shortlistees will be invited to pitch their projects to an expert panel at Solarplaza's 'Unlocking Solar Capital Africa' conference in Ivory Coast, October 25 - 26, where the industry's biggest players will hold extensive discussions about solutions for Africa's solar energy funding gap. 

It comes as part Unlocking Solar Capital Africa's goal to solve Africa's solar energy funding gap and Phanes Group's core strategy to collaborate with Africa-focused counterparties, such as local project owners, governments, and developers on projects that seek to create a sustainable future for urban and rural communities across the sub-Saharan region.

"Clean energy has the potential to transform sub-Saharan Africa for years to come, but successfully implemented PV solar projects require a diverse mix of expertise and knowledge to bring them to financial close," said Martin Haupts, CEO, Phanes Group.

"We believe the Phanes Group Solar Incubator will leverage untapped local PV potential, and create more opportunities for local projects. Combined with our strengths in developing bankable solutions for clean, affordable energy and efforts in CSR, the incubator initiative can help to address local needs that haven't yet been met."

There are currently more than 620 million people in sub-Saharan Africa living without electricity, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), which works to ensure global access to reliable, affordable and clean energy.

This initiative aims to support developers not just in the funding phase, but throughout the project development and delivery phases, to ensure important, CSR-focused projects are brought to financial close.

Phanes Group, along with its partners, will provide PV developers with access to a reliable partner that will support them in reaching bankability. Through an initial incubator phase, extensive mentorship, and access to the right network, this year's candidate will have an opportunity to roll-out a sustainable energy solution in their community, as well as develop a lasting relationship with an end-to-end, integrated solar expert.

After the winning project has been announced at the 'Unlocking Solar Capital Africa' event, the developers will be invited to join Phanes Group for an intensive 4-day workshop at its headquarters in Dubai, UAE. This will help lay the foundations for delivering a bankable and sustainable project.

"As dreamers of a future where everybody can have access to electricity for a fair price, initiatives focused on long-term success like the Phanes Group's Solar Incubator are always dear to our hearts," said Edwin Koot, Solarplaza.

"Renewable energy infrastructure projects result in myriad benefits. We wish participants the best in bringing forth this ripple effect to their communities, and look forward to meeting them at the 'Unlocking Solar Capital Africa' conference this October," Edwin Koot added.

More about the Solar Power Incubator 

The inaugural Solar Incubator, held under the theme of 'Your Project, Our Expertise, For a Sustainable Future', will be supported by Solarplaza, Hogan Lovells, responsAbility, and Proparco.

The initiative aims to select and develop PV project opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa that haven't been able to gain access to funding and necessary know-how. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an integral part of this initiative; along with the project details a solid CSR concept must be submitted and will be further developed during the incubator phase, and implemented in parallel with execution of the PV project.

The candidate of the winning project will enter a partnership with Phanes Group and hold a long-term stake in the project, collaboratively bringing it to financial close. With the incubator, Phanes Group and its partners will provide the winner with extensive mentorship and knowledge transfer throughout the project.

The deadline to submit projects for evaluation and shortlisting ends on October 1, 2017. The final selection process will take place during a live panel session in the 'Unlocking Solar Capital Africa' conference in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, October 25-26, 2017, where the winner will be announced.

Interested candidates can submit directly on the PV Solar Incubator Competition website at www.PhanesGroup.com/incubator or on the 'Unlocking Solar Capital Africa' conference website at http://Africa.unlockingsolarcapital.com/solar-incubator.

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