Energy (203)

Solar Sector Must Overcome Quality Problems

The use of solar in Uganda is increasing, moving on from being only a source for lighting to other uses like powering agribusiness and other alternative uses, Mr. Amos Tamusuza, the acting Principal Energy Officer at Ministry Of Energy And Mineral Development (MEMD) told a media training in Kampala.

The growth in solar consumption is however being slowed and challenged by the rampant existence of fake solar products on the market. Mr. Tamusuza noted that because of fake and poor quality products sold to unsuspecting customers, many people say solar technology doesn’t work.

The integrity of persons dealing in solar products is also lacking. This, he said hampers solar uptake. He revealed that renewable energy mix on the national grid was expected to grow from 4 percent to 60 percent but has only managed to grow to 40 percent.

Association To Address Poor Standards

The other challenge has been insufficient awareness and promotion of solar across the country. This has left consumers of solar ignorant and cheated by rogue traders. To address these problems, the ministry facilitated the formation an association that would bring all traders dealing in solar energy.

“We found out that if we are a well-organized body, we can build a vibrant sector. We had to bring these people together,” Mr. Tamusuza stated. And with that in mind, Uganda Solar Energy Association (USEA) was born – to help the ministry in positioning solar energy first.

“Solar was expensive but now the prices are coming down but we feel the costs are still higher. It has become more affordable and usage of solar has increased especially in rural areas. We are happy for that. Companies are enabling customers to pay in instalments but we still have quality problems. The integrity of dealers is lacking,” Mr. Tamusuza narrated.

To fight poor quality products on the market, Mr. Tamusuza is of the view that for anybody to get a licence from the energy minister to sell solar products must be a member of the Uganda Solar Energy Association. This way, the association can monitor the quality members are putting on the market through adhering to an ethical code of conduct that must be followed.


The association is also working with several partners including United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), USAID, UKAID, World Bank and government of Uganda to deepen solar uptake.

Access To Clean Energy Still Hard

Mr. Julius Magala, the Energy Access Coordinator, Clean Start Programme (UNCDF) who opened the media training session, applauded USEA for the initiative and its role in promoting the use of clean energy among Ugandans.

“Access to clean energy remains a challenge for many communities in Uganda and hinders economic development. It’s therefore important that USEA and the media work together to help address the bottlenecks that people face in accessing quality clean energy solutions, if Uganda is to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” he said.

“UNCDF is committed to working with USEA to help improve the lives of many Ugandans by promoting and investing in initiatives that promote access and the use of clean energy,” Magala added.

According to a study on the use and Viability of Solar Energy in Uganda by the National Association of Professional Environmentalists, 88% of Ugandans use kerosene for lighting and 79% use firewood for cooking while only 1% use solar energy for the two purposes. The heavy reliance on biomass by the country as a source of energy in day to day life puts the country at risk of environmental degradation and climate change.

Solar Provides Cheap Alternative

Ms. Joyce Nkuyahaga, the Chief Executive Officer of USEA, mentioned that solar provides an alternative source of power especially in rural areas. The main source of power in Uganda is hydroelectricity which has not covered the main parts of rural areas and remains largely expensive. An increase in power tariffs on the national grid to Shs718.9 per kwh made electricity inaccessible.

In the earlier days of solar entering onto the Ugandan market, it was considered expensive but like Mr. Tamusuza and Ms. Nkuyahaga noted, this is changing for the better. Ms. Nkuyahaga reveals that now you can get a solar package of 4 solar lamps, a radio, phone charging at Shs500, 000 with a three year warranty and can last for over ten years. It doesn’t come with monthly tariffs, all you do is put it in the sun for natural recharging.

She further revealed that 500, 000 households have been covered by solar in the past six years while UMEME, the company that distributes electricity on behalf og government has reached only reached 1.3million connections.

And with improvement in solar technology, solar performance has also improved. Consumers are finding alternative uses of solar because increased capacities and efficiency. Today many people are using solar for irrigation and industry use.

At Power Trust Uganda, they are selling a solar milling machine. Such innovations are set to help rural areas where there is no electricity to add value to their farm produce.

Mr. Paul Jack Kulosi, the business development manager at Power Trust said with the solar milling machine one can add value to 800 kilograms of maize that way one can produce food for home use and also get animal feeds.

Siemens, Ethiopia Collaborate To Address Urgent Energy & Infrastructure Challenges

Siemens announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to support the government's objective of becoming a low middle-income country by 2025.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) addresses the country's energy and infrastructure sectors. Other key aspects of the agreement include 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.

Ethiopia's Growth and Transformation Plan serves as a catalyst towards realizing its national vision of accelerated and sustained economic growth in order to eradicate poverty and increase prosperity.  "Siemens can make a significant contribution to Ethiopia's development.

We will apply our vast experience and proven technologies as well as training and education capabilities to help shape the future of Ethiopia and its people. One of the starting projects affirming our strong commitment in the region is the East Africa Interconnector," said Joe Kaeser, CEO for Siemens AG.

Siemens is currently helping to increase the reliability of energy supply through an interconnector being built between Kenya and Ethiopia. The roughly 1,000 kilometres-long transmission line will transmit environmentally friendly hydroelectricity from Ethiopia to Kenya. The project currently supports 200 direct jobs in Ethiopia alone and is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Africa.

The primary goal of this agreement is to commit to a long-term partnership between Siemens and the people of Ethiopia to develop, fast track solutions that will enable government to stabilise and expand existing grid infrastructure, explore solutions for industrial parks and co-develop microgrid solutions for remote villages.

Sabine Dall'Omo, Siemens CEO for Southern and Eastern Africa says, "This milestone agreement is another step in demonstrating our strong commitment to the people and government of Ethiopia. We are here today as we have been since 1927, to help achieve affordable and reliable power supply, create jobs, increase access to training and develop local skills alongside local partners."

GE Reinforces Commitment To Improve Energy Access In West Africa

GE to provide energy solutions to help foster economic development and growth in Benin and Cote d'Ivoire; In Benin, GE will supply the nation's first Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS), this grid solution is expected to increase energy reliability and efficiency; In Cote d'Ivoire, GE will rehabilitate and improve the power capacity of the Ferke, Man and Taabo substations while reducing the losses in energy transmission.

Today, GE Renewable Energy's Grid Solutions business announced that it has signed two deals to build energy systems in Benin and upgrade three substations in Cote d'Ivoire. These agreements align with GE's commitment to providing scalable power solutions in partnership with governments and utilities to meet West Africa's growing energy needs while developing self-sustaining electricity systems for businesses and households in the region.

In Benin, 85 percent of electricity utilized is currently imported from neighboring countries. To strengthen the country's grid and manage electricity losses that result during energy transmission, GE will design and supply the first Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) in Benin for the Société Béninoise d'Energie Electrique (SBEE) and undertake the rehabilitation of substations and telecommunication infrastructure at the National Distribution Control Center in Cotonou.  

Part of GE's Digital Energy portfolio, ADMS is engineered with adaptive algorithms and predictive analytics to help utilities operate the grid more efficiently and enable automation. The system will be able to predict issues, identify the faults on the grid and propose a restoration plan.

"The Distribution Management System (ADMS) will help optimize energy distribution, reduce electricity losses and minimize shortages," said the National Coordinator for MCA-Benin II. "This project is aligned with the government's ambition to efficiently manage the generation from power plants, microgrids and other grid infrastructure to improve the quality, efficiency and availability of power to our customers. "This system will also help manage the security and maintain control of the grid."

Cote d'Ivoire
Under this contract, GE will rehabilitate and expand three 225kV substations in Ferke, Man and Taabo. This project will help improve the electricity supply in the northern, western and central part of Côte d'Ivoire.

"With about 90% of the country's population having access to electricity and the growing demand for energy, limited distribution systems cause a total energy loss of approximately 20% annually. There is a need to rehabilitate and strengthen the country's grid infrastructure," said Bile Gerard TANOE – Secretary General of CI-ENERGIES. "This project will improve the power capacities of Ferke, Man and Taabo substations to help mitigate total energy losses and provide the reliability needed to limit the total unavailability of these critical substations," he added.

"Energy is a key component for on-going development in Sub-Saharan Africa. With only 45 percent of electrification rates in many countries in the region, it is critical to develop an end-to-end solution to increase energy access and foster economic development," said Lazarus Angbazo, President & CEO of GE Renewable Energy's Grid Solutions business in Sub-Saharan Africa. "These projects reinforce GE's involvement in implementing key infrastructure for energy transmission and interconnection development in Africa through smart solutions and turnkey project expertise."

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

Renewable Energy Now Accounts for a Third of Global Power Capacity

The decade-long trend of strong growth in renewable energy capacity continued in 2018 with global additions of 171 gigawatts (GW), according to new data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) this week.

The annual increase of 7.9 per cent was bolstered by new additions from solar and wind energy, which accounted for 84 per cent of the growth. A third of global power capacity is now based on renewable energy. 

IRENA's annual Renewable Capacity Statistics 2019the most comprehensive, up-to-date and accessible figures on renewable energy capacity indicates  growth in all regions of the world, although at varying speeds.

While Asia accounted for 61 per cent of total new renewable energy installations and grew installed renewables capacity by 11.4 per cent, growth was fastest in Oceania that witnessed a 17.7 per cent rise in 2018. Africa's 8.4 per cent growth put it in third place just behind Asia.

Nearly two-thirds of all new power generation capacity added in 2018 was from renewables, led by emerging and developing economies. 

"Through its compelling business case, renewable energy has established itself as the technology of choice for new power generation capacity," said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. "The strong growth in 2018 continues the remarkable trend of the last five years, which reflects an ongoing shift towards renewable power as the driver of global energy transformation. 

"Renewable energy deployment needs to grow even faster, however, to ensure that we can achieve the global climate objectives and Sustainable Development Goals," continued Mr. Amin. "Countries taking full advantage of their renewables potential will benefit from a host of socioeconomic benefits in addition to decarbonising their economies."   

IRENA's analysis also compared the growth in generation capacity of renewables versus non-renewable energy, mainly fossil-fuels and nuclear. While non-renewable generation capacity has decreased in Europe, North America and Oceania by about 85 GW since 2010, it has increased in both Asia and the Middle East over the same period. Since 2000, non-renewable generation capacity has expanded by about 115 GW per year (on average), with no discernible trend upwards or downwards. 

Highlights by technology: 

  • Hydropower: Growth in hydro continued to slow in 2018, with only China adding a significant amount of new capacity in 2018 (+8.5 GW).
  • Wind energy: Global wind energy capacity increased by 49 GW in 2017. China and the USA continued to account for the greatest share of wind energy expansion, with increases of 20 GW and 7 GW respectively. Other countries expanding by more than 1 GW were: Brazil; France; Germany; India; and the UK 
  • Bioenergy: Three countries accounted for over half of the relatively low level of bioenergy capacity expansion in 2018. China increased capacity by 2 GW and India by 700 MW. Capacity also increased in the UK by 900 MW 
  • Solar energy: Solar energy capacity increased by 94 GW last year (+ 24 per cent). Asia continued to dominate global growth with a 64 GW increase (about 70% of the global expansion in 2018). Maintaining the trend from last year, China, India, Japan and Republic of Korea accounted for most of this. Other major increases were in the USA (+8.4 GW), Australia (+3.8 GW) and Germany (+3.6 GW). Other countries with significant expansions in 2018 included: Brazil; Egypt; Pakistan; Mexico, Turkey and the Netherlands. 
  • Geothermal energy: Geothermal energy increased by 539 MW in 2018, with most of the expansion taking place in Turkey (+219 MW) and Indonesia (+137 MW), followed by the USA, Mexico and New Zealand.                                                         

Globally, total renewable energy generation capacity reached 2,351 GW at the end of last year – around a third of total installed electricity capacity. Hydropower accounts for the largest share with an installed capacity of 1 172 GW – around half of the total. Wind and solar energy account for most of the remainder with capacities of 564 GW and 480 GW respectively. Other renewables included 121 GW of bioenergy, 13 GW of geothermal energy and 500 MW of marine energy (tide, wave and ocean energy).

Francesco La Camera Assumes Office Of IRENA Director-General

Francesco La Camera, on Thursday, 4 April 2019, took office as the Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). He replaces Adnan Z. Amin.

Director-General La Camera will lead the Agency during a period of rapid change in the global energy landscape driven by an unprecedented growth in renewable energy and the ever-growing urgency to limit climate change.

While progress has been especially significant in the power sector, further efforts are needed to scale-up renewable energy solutions in end-use sectors such as transportation, heating and cooling.

"The global energy transformation is entering a new phase," said Mr. La Camera. "We must do everything we can to accelerate the pace and scope of change if we are to meet climate objectives, while ensuring that the new energy paradigm is fair and inclusive.

This is also a unique opportunity to spur economic growth in a sustainable manner and close the energy access gap by creating a world where energy is abundant and available to all. As Director-General of IRENA, I will work tirelessly with all IRENA Members, stakeholders and partners to support the transition to a sustainable energy future."

Mr. La Camera previously served as Director-General of Sustainable Development, Environmental Damage, EU and International Affairs at the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land & Sea since 2014. During this time, he developed cooperation and partnership agreements with a wide range of countries.

He also spearheaded international cooperation on issues related to climate change and the environment, playing a key role in bringing together multilateral organisations to develop joint initiatives designed to implement the Paris Agreement and the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals.

With a near-universal membership of 159 countries and the EU, IRENA is uniquely positioned as the global intergovernmental organisation on renewable energy, acting as a centre of excellence, as well as a knowledge and innovation hub, which supports countries world-wide in their transition to a sustainable energy future.

IRENA is the global intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international co-operation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy. 

African Energy Chamber Lures Germany To Bring Investment To Continent

The African Energy Chamber congratulates the German Government and the African-German Business Association (Afrika-Verein der deutschen Wirtschaft) on the success of the 13th German-African Energy Forum that took place in Hamburg on March 27 and 28, under the theme "Realizing & Financing Africa's Energy Revolution".

With a strong focus on the financing of energy projects on the African continent and highlighting innovative approaches for financing off-grid projects and partnerships, the Chamber believes the time is now for Germany to compete and become and active participant in Africa's development.

The Chamber team participated in various negotiations with German companies on energy projects that will create jobs, investments and business opportunities in Africa especially for women entrepreneurs and young people.

"Initiatives such as the German-African Energy Forum are important to create the platforms Africa needs to attract technology and capital within its energy value-chain," declared Centurion Law Group CEO and AEC Executive Chairman NJ Ayuk from Hamburg.

"Germany's energy collaboration with Africa is key for the continent's energy security and the development of reliable and affordable supply of power to Africans. I am sincerely happy to see a lot of good deals taking shape."

The African Energy Chamber notably highlighted in Hamburg the role that natural gas can play for Africa's energy industry, calling on German companies to invest in natural gas infrastructure projects in Africa such as gas-to-power, petrochemicals or fertilizers and share their expertise in that field.

"Natural gas is the future of Africa's energy security and our move to beat the resource curse and create jobs for young people" declared NJ Ayuk. "Germany, and Europe in general, has expertise in the processing of natural gas, be it producing power from methane through waste-to-power facilities, or developing the right technologies and equipment needed for the development of robust and efficient gas value-chains."

For over a decade, the German-African Energy Forum has attracted thousands of participants from over 50 countries. The Chamber recognizes the contribution of this event to Africa's energy dialogue and to attracting investments within the continent and will be pursuing such engagement at the APPO Cape VII Congress & Exhibition in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on April 1st-5th, 2019.

General Electric Appoints Brenda Mbathi As East Africa CEO

General Electric has announced the appointment of Brenda Mbathi as the Chief Executive Officer for East Africa. In her role, Brenda will play a pivotal role in steering the next phase of strategy and growth for General Electric in East African markets, excluding Ethiopia which shall continue to be led by Daniel Hailu, CEO, GE Ethiopia.

Based in Nairobi, Brenda will lead the development of diverse programs with public and private sector projects and partnerships across East Africa.

Commenting on the appointment, Farid Fezoua, President and CEO, General Electric Africa, reiterated GE’s commitment to work together with governments, private sector and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in order to develop public private partnerships and sustainable outcome-based solutions.

“We are optimistic about East Africa and the opportunities to develop breakthrough solutions in power, healthcare and aviation. We believe that the appointment of Brenda is a step further in making this vision a reality. We are also glad to bring on board a great female leader, with the experience and passion required to drive our growth in this region. This appointment is a testament to our localization and Diversity & Inclusion strategy for the region,” he said.

Brenda joined General Electric in 2015 and brings on board more than 27 years of experience in government affairs, CSR and corporate relations. In addition to her role as Government Affairs Director, Brenda leads Corporate Social Responsibility for Sub-Saharan Africa, including implementing a OneGE strategy under the “Kujenga” brand for CSR. Brenda will be a part of the Africa Leadership Team.

“I am very excited to be leading General Electric’s regional growth in East Africa and look forward to working with our business leaders, team of dedicated and talented colleagues, as well as our trade partners, to ensure GE’s continued growth and success in the market,” Brenda Mbathi said.

Partnership with Governments and local companies form a very important part of GE’s growth in East Africa and across the continent. Through these collaborations, GE has made significant investments to develop infrastructure projects, including sustainable energy solutions, provide efficient and reliable transportation as well as improve access to quality healthcare.


Hanergy Debuts At The Solar Show Africa 2019

The world's largest thin-film solar power solution company, Hanergy Thin Film Power Group, showcased its path-breaking solar-power products, at the 22nd edition of The Solar Show Africa 2019, Africa’s largest and longest running power and electricity show that lasted from March 26-27th.

As part of the two-day exhibition and conference held at Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, Hanergy showcased a series of its most promising solar solutions, such as HanTile, HanWall, HanBrick, Humbrella, HanPack, HanPaper, Solibro Slide-In mounting system, GSE & MiaSolé Flex modules, presenting solar-powered solutions for industries, and residential individuals.

The show welcomed over 8000 attendees and hosted a mecca of solar solution providers spanning 4 halls and thousands of square metres. Amongst 148 exhibitors besides Hanergy, other prominent Chinese players were Trina Solar, Jinko Solar & JA Solar.

Hanergy’s debut at The Solar Show Africa 2019 is a clear indication of company’s massive expansion plans in African continent. Hanergy is underway with its robust expansion plan in Africa, and has already initiated several projects locally.

The company’s participation in this year’s exhibition and conference has been instrumental in exploring significant partnerships with varied national and international companies.

Mr. Pan Xiang, Sales Director of Hanergy South Africa says, "We're extremely delighted to have exhibited our revolutionary energy solutions for the first time at The Solar Show Africa 2019 which is undoubtedly one of the Africa’s leading exhibitions for solar industry and its partners.

We believe, not only has the prestigious exhibition and conference presented Hanergy with a platform to showcase our promising solar solutions for Africa market, but our participation has also ensued unique networking opportunities allowing us to solidify our current relationships and build new ones to expand in Africa market."

“We have explored multiple partnerships with a number of national and international companies. Hopefully, we’ll soon be able to announce the partnerships with number of companies in days to come,” he added.

Deemed to be the basis for promising projects, the varied exhibits from Hanergy received unprecedented response, particularly the visitors expressed a lot of interest in HanTile, a pioneering solar rooftop solution; Solibro’s Slide-In mounting system; GSE & MiaSolé Flex modules. Hanergy’s Booth No -  K5&K6 spanning 72 square metres of area, received maximum footfalls giving company an opportunity to host a virtuous number of potential clients.

Africa had 580 million people who were off-the-grid in 2016 and is expected to be home to 80 percent of the world’s off-the-grid population by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency.

With incredible market opportunity that’s not being met by the relatively small handful of companies that are operating on the continent, Hanergy has a righteous opportunity to strengthen its foothold in the country by aiding off-grid African communities to embrace solar energy through collaboration with local government authorities.

Hanergy’s solar cells set the world record for conversion efficiency several times, with the newest one being 29.1%. It launched and upgraded handful of consumer products in 2018, including Humbrella, solar-powered umbrella; SolarTank, solar backpack; HanPower, solar power bank, retaining its leading position in mobile energy sector. Subsequently, with the debut of HanTile in April 2018 and HanWall in September 2018, Hanergy upped-the-ante in global building-integrated PV segment.

Ethiopia To Present NEP Updates During East Africa Conferences

Two co-located energy meetings taking place in Addis Ababa from 27 – 29th March welcome a special update on the new version of Ethiopia’s National Electrification Program 2.0 (NEP), presented by the Government of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

This update will be the first since the NEP 1.0 launched in 2017, taking place during the co-located ‘Regional Energy Co-operation Summit’ and ‘Africa Energy Forum: Off the Grid’ ( meetings.

The NEP outlines how the country plans to achieve universal energy access by 2025 using a sector-wide integrated approach, with a special focus on off-grid electrification. The Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE) and the Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) have already commenced pilot projects with Ethiopia’s first ever mini-grids, electrifying 12 remote communities across the country with roll-out phase of hundreds of such mini-grids.

MoWIE will be joined by local and international stakeholders to delineate the next steps on power sector reform. This includes the implementation of cost reflective tariff adjustment, further unbundling of generation and transmission operations, and loss reduction with improved performance to attract the private sector and encourage renewable IPPs in coming years.

Karmen Tornius, Programme Manager for the East Africa conferences, commented, “This will be the first time the market has heard these announcements, so it’s an exciting time for Ethiopia’s energy sector.

The country presents many unique investment opportunities with its rapidly growing economy and population. Coupled with a more open landscape for private investment, the potential is huge.”

The Government has already announced the commencement of a tender for six mega solar projects worth USD 798 million, with an estimated capacity of around 750 megawatts (MW). According to the Ministry of Finance, these will be followed by hydropower IPPs and further investments in large-scale wind and geothermal projects.

Both meetings will welcome H.E Seleshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Ethiopia alongside government officials from Djibouti, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya and international financiers, donor organisations and power developers.

Active participation of energy sector institutions MoWIE, EEU (Ethiopian Electric Utility), EEP (Ethiopian Electric Power) and the EEA (Ethiopian Energy Authority) is core to the event.

Ethiopia To Develop 70 Mw Geothermal Energy Project

State utility firm Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) on Monday signed an agreement with two Chinese firms and one Kenyan firm for the 70 MW geothermal energy drilling project.

The two Chinese firms were Shandong Kerui Oilfield Service Group and Shandong Kerui Oilfield Service Group Co. Ltd. Another firm Kenya Electricity Generating Company was also part of the agreement.

In a press statement, EEP said the two Chinese firms and one Kenyan firm are expected to supply drilling materials as well as drill wells for possible geothermal energy sources in central Ethiopia.

Named the Aluto- Langano geothermal project, it's part of the Ethiopian government's plans to generate up to 5,000 MW of geothermal energy in the coming few years. Ethiopia currently produces only 7.3 MW of geothermal energy.

EEP said the agreement with the three firms will see the drilling initially of 22 wells to probe their geothermal energy generation potential.

EEP further said the geothermal energy project is expected to consume 173.2 million U.S. dollars, with the World Bank expected to cover the total project's cost through loans and grants.

Ethiopia has the longest section of the 7,000-km East African Rift Valley, which boasts an estimated geothermal potential of 10,000 megawatts (MW), but the country has been unable to match the neighboring Kenya's installed geothermal power capacity of about 630 MW.

Geothermal energy is considered a reliable renewable energy sources although it involves a greater start-up cost.
SOURCE: Xinhua

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