Energy

Energy (103)

Ugandan Projects Get Renewable Energy Funding

The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF), in collaboration with partners Power Africa and GE, last week announced the winners of the 2017 Women in Energy Challenge in Uganda, where only 20% of the population is connected to electricity.

Joint Energy and Environments Projects (JEEP) and Conservation and Development Uganda Limited (CODE) will each be awarded a grant of $100,000 to expand their renewable energy enterprises to reach women beneficiaries.

Dr. Maria Bawabya Senkezi, JEEP’s Chairwoman, says investing in women entrepreneurs is critical because “women invest money back into the community.”

The Women in Energy Challenge, part of the Off-Grid Energy Challenge, was launched in 2016 by USADF and GE to identify and accelerate enterprises either led by women or benefitting women, and help African entrepreneurs compete in the global economy.

The Off-Grid Energy Challenge is a part of Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid initiative, which aims to drive private investment in off-grid and small-scale renewable energy solutions. By funding energy entrepreneurs, USADF is bridging the energy gap for some of Uganda’s most vulnerable populations.

Joint Energy and Environments Projects (JEEP) is a 100% women-owned enterprise in central Uganda. With a $100,000 grant, it will install 6 green power units in Kalangala district, a remote island district in Lake Victoria.

Fishing is the main industry in this island district in Lake Victoria, but commercial ice to preserve fish is both expensive and limited. As a result, a significant amount of fish is lost before it can be sold in the market.

The 6 green power units which JEEP establishes will each have solar-powered cold storage facilities for preservation, phone charging and solar home systems for sale, and each will be run by a women’s group trained in bookkeeping.

The green power units will each repay a portion of their profits to JEEP to be used to replicate the model throughout the region. This will not only provide local jobs, but will increase incomes for local women.

Conservation and Development Uganda Limited (CODE) is a majority-women owned enterprise in western Uganda where surrounding national parks limit the amount of available firewood, and as a result, women bear the brunt of energy poverty, walking long distances in search of firewood and cooking fuel.

Through the grant, CODE will sell an initial 350 Agro-Eco kits using a flexible repayment financing model, which will provide alternative and safer fuel sources. Using a low-cost distribution system using Village Savings and Loan Associations, CODE will collect revenues and expand their business to impact more and more households in the region.

The U.S. African Development Foundation is the only U.S. agency dedicated entirely to Africa, and solely funding 100% African-owned businesses and African entrepreneurs. USADF aims to promote innovative solutions that increase access to reliable, affordable and sustainable power – particularly for vulnerable populations who will have little to no access to grid power.

“We launched this Women in Energy Challenge to find the best and the brightest female entrepreneurs that are making a difference in bringing electricity to rural communities. We are very pleased to see that these women-led enterprises are showing promise in finding alternative solutions to Uganda’s energy crisis,” says C.D. Glin, USADF President and CEO.

“Providing energy access to Africa’s population is a priority for us,” said Jay Ireland, President & CEO of GE Africa. “The Women in Energy Challenge is one of our commitments towards supporting local entrepreneurs and we are delighted that African women-owned enterprises are solving local challenges.”

In Uganda, where USADF has a $5 million co-funding agreement with the Government of Uganda, USADF has awarded three Off-Grid Challenge grants to energy enterprises.

Since 2013, USADF has partnered with GE and Power Africa to fund over 70 off-grid energy companies in nine countries in Africa, and invested over $7 million in Africa's energy entrepreneurs, which has already resulted in over 20,000 actual connections benefitting over 100,000 people.

To learn more about the USADF Off-Grid Energy Challenge, visit www.USADF.gov/off-grid.

Let Us Promote Energy Transition To Renewable Energy Technologies

Imagine a world where everyone’s energy needs are adequately catered for without harming the environment but energy coming from 100 percent renewable energy resources. That world is possible if we accelerate the promotion and adoption of the concept of energy transition from the current dependence on non-renewable energy technologies to renewable energy resources.

The global demand for energy keeps increasing everyday especially in the transportation industry, manufacturing industry and meeting the household energy demands however currently these come at accost to our environment. 

We cannot afford to continue damaging the environment to meet these needs at the expense of our livelihoods and the future generations to come yet there is already and existing alternative we can fully adopt without having to innovate further. 

Energy transition therefore, is defined as a gradual shift from an energy system dominated by non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels towards an energy system using a majority of renewable energy sources such as solar energy, wind power among others.

This shift is necessary to address the current challenges of depending on non-renewable energy sources which has resulted not only in the pollution of our environment but also in changing the global temperatures at a rate we cannot even adapt.

In fact, climate change impacts are already visible with the occurrences of large-scale catastrophes, flooding and drought, infestation of pest and diseases and widespread food and water shortages; the faster we transition away from dangerous fuels, the better we will be to protect our communities from harm.

The Paris agreement on climate change formulated in 2015 has enabled nations make historic commitment to protect our climate and pledged to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. To achieve this goal and commitments made, we must transition to 100 percent clean energy as soon as possible. 

According to the statistics from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Uganda has vast renewable energy potential with not less than 5,400 MW from sources such as Solar, wind, geothermal, hydro among others and this potential is enough to power the country to 100 percent clean energy that we must transition.

Just think of the comfort it brings to drive your car without worrying about fuel cost but electrically charged, or taking a warm shower with solar powered heaters, even the amount of school hours our children will enjoy out of lighting from wind power. 

Better still, seeing our mothers prepare a decent meal with solar energy and not worrying about smoke affecting their respiratory system or the number of business unemployed youth would start up without worrying of the monthly bill.

Therefore, it is important for our leaders at all levels to accelerate our transition to 100 percent renewable energy. This can be done through putting priorities on clean energy technologies; promoting the deployment of clean renewable energy sources and then civil society organizations continue to work together to sensitize the communities to swift from use of dirty fuels to more cleaner sources for sustainability in the energy sector.

By Samuel Okulony

Environmentalist

Programmes and Research Coordinator

Africa Institute for energy governance

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

GE, Partners To Train Students In Advanced Manufacturing

GE, the world’s Digital Industrial Company has announced a skill development partnership programme involving its GE Lagos Garage, the Lagos State Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment and the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB) aimed at developing the skills of students in the State in advanced manufacturing.

The GE Garage Advanced Manufacturing programme will involve 20 final year students and five instructors from the five Government Technical Colleges in the State taking part in an intensive one-week training that will hone their skills in advanced manufacturing.

The selected technical colleges, spread across the state and under the supervision of the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board are located in Ikotun, Ikorodu, Agidingbi, Ado-Soba and Epe. The programme takes place at the LASTVEB HQ School Complex, Ikeja GRA. The programme will commence on Monday July 24 and end on Friday July 28.

During the programme, the students will be exposed to cutting-edge technology, experiencing GE’s Digital Industrial leadership in shaping modern manufacturing. They will also learn how such readily available technology can help their future businesses.

To facilitate this, GE has set up a temporary scaled version of its Garage at the venue. This comprises select equipment like 3D printers, CNC mills, among other equipment. As a guide, greater emphasis will be placed on Additive Manufacturing, 3-D printing, CAD designing, rapid prototype development, basic subtractive manufacturing using CNC mills to demonstrate mould making; and basic business knowledge. The program will be run by GE Garage engineers and instructors to enhance the students’ current capabilities whilst helping them develop new skill sets.

Speaking on the development, the Director, Communications & Public Affairs, GE Africa, Patricia Obozuwa said the initiative was aimed at promoting advanced manufacturing and technology in the modern work environment by extending the GE Lagos Garage entrepreneurship programme through LASTVEB to its colleges.

In this vein, she said, a condensed version of the current GE Garage curriculum will expose the technical college students to latest developments in advanced manufacturing, taking into consideration the student’s vocational studies exposure and their area of specialization, to ensure proper focus and impact.

Obozuwa restated GE’s commitment to empowering people through technology, pointing out that this was the very reason behind the GE Garage initiative.

“We are committed to supporting skills development in Nigeria, and across Africa. We see ourselves as partners in building a sustainable future for Africa, and we believe that partnerships such as this are necessary if we are to overcome Africa’s economic challenges,” she said.

Speaking in the same vein, the Lagos State Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti commended GE Nigeria for their efforts in transferring such important skills to Lagosians.

He said the collaborative initiative is in line with the ministry’s mission to promote and sustain entrepreneurship and employment through effective use of wealth creation strategies and resources by collaborating with all stakeholders.

According to him, the ministry was established in fulfilment of the promise of His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, to address the unemployment crisis in the State.

“It pursuit of this mandate to create employment, the ministry came up with similar initiatives like the 'Graduate Internship Programme,' a 3-month paid Internship Scheme for graduates who have been unemployed for a minimum of one year after National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). The Programme is designed to give candidates an opportunity to develop employability skills which are often vital in securing employment,” he said.

Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB), Mrs. Omolara Erogbogbo expressed the belief that programmes such as this will go a long way in bridging the unemployment gap as well as addressing skills deficit in the country.

She highlighted the importance of vocational education to Nigeria’s socio-economic well-being, saying that the era when vocational education was believed to be undertaken by school drop-outs and pushovers was over.

 

 

 

 

 

Bujumbura Gets Green Energy Lights

Downtown Bujumbura just got a little brighter, thanks to an innovative partnership between Mayor Freddy Mbonimpa and Gigawatt Global, a founding member of United States Power Africa's Beyond the Grid program.

This week solar-powered ‘light islands’ began appearing in the heavily-trafficked central bus station and nearby marketplace, extending commercial hours and personal safety. 

“The city of Bujumbura is very pleased to be working with Gigawatt Global on this important solar street lighting project,” said Mayor Freddy Mbonimpa.

“This project will enhance security as well as provide opportunities for economic development to the citizens of Bujumbura. It is the hope and wish of all involved that this project can spread throughout the city, as well as expand to other cities in Burundi within the near future.”

Gigawatt Global is now in discussions to scale the solar-powered ‘light islands’ program throughout the city and in other major Burundian towns.

“We are grateful and pleased to work with the city of Bujumbura, and the Honorable Mayor Freddy MBONIMPA to realise this important first step of the solar street lighting project,” said Michael Fichtenberg, Managing Director of Gigawatt Global Burundi.

“We intend to expand throughout the capital and to other locations as part of our larger program of green electrification in Burundi, with 40 'light islands' planned in the first phase of the program,” Fichtenberg continued.

“Every country in which we develop commercial scale solar fields will receive additional benefits like these ‘light islands’ and rural electrification with mini-grids.”

Gigawatt Global, which provides 100% financing for its projects, pioneered commercial scale solar power plants in sub-Sahara Africa, launching the first one in Rwanda in 2014, which is currently supplying 6% of the country's generation capacity.

Gigawatt Global will complete a 7.5 Mw solar field in the Gitega region of Burundi in the next six months, which will supply 15% of the East African country's generation capacity. Similar projects are currently being developed in 10 African countries, including Liberia and South Sudan, among many others. 

“Over 95% of Burundi's 11 million people lack access to electricity. Gigawatt Global is honoured to play a role in advancing economic and social development through green power in the country,” says Josef Abramowitz, CEO of Gigawatt Global.

 “By expanding our investments from commercial scale projects to include off-grid installations, we are positively impacting the lives of millions of people in Burundi and throughout Africa, and are becoming a leading force in green energy projects across the continent.”

The ‘light islands’ project in Bujumbura is produced by a team that includes local members Patrick NZINTUNGA, Gigawatt Global Regional Coordinator, and Deo HUGERE, Gigawatt Global Engineer.

The engineering, procurement, and construction components of this project are being carried out by Asantys System. The pilot program is supported by the Energy & Environmental Partnership (EEP), an initiative of the governments of the United Kingdom, Austria and Finland, and with an impact investment from entrepreneur Alex Goldberg.

“God bless the people of Burundi,” says Goldberg. “In Bujumbura, we found a place ripe for innovation and open to economic development.”

As part of Gigawatt Global's commitment to additional Corporate Social Responsibility, one of its investors, Mark Gelfand, funded and built the STEM Centre (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) at the Université Polytechnique de Gitega.

Mobisol Boosts Capital Base With Finnfund Loan

Mobisol has strengthened its capital base by an additional substantial senior loan facility from Finnfund (Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd.), following an already provided senior loan in 2016 toMobisol’s operations in Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya. 

This additional funding, granted up to 10 million Euros, will support Mobisol’s fast expansion in East Africa, where the company installed nearly 10 megawatts of capacity in Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya, providing clean and reliable electricity to households and small businesses in low-income communities.

In this way, Mobisol enables particularly rural families and business owners to power a range of appliances, such as televisions, stereos and refrigerators to improve their standard of living and earn incremental income through solar powered businesses, such as mobile phone charging stations, barber salons, movie theatres and more.

The new financial commitment will pave the way for further growth. “Mobisol is very pleased about the sustained support from Finnfund, which allows us to further ‘plug in the world’ and connect more people to a reliable source of energy,” said Thomas Gottschalk, Chief Executive Officer at Mobisol.

“This is not only adding to the socio-economic growth in insufficiently served regions in East Africa, but also contributes to a greener and more sustainable future globally.”

Jaakko Kangasniemi, Chief Executive Officer of Finnfund, commented: “Finnfund is excited to support Mobisol’s work and expansion in East Africa. For us, as an impact investor, the key is that supplying electricity to new areas can improve human lives, reduce inequality, and even help people out of poverty. Simultaneously, the use of renewable energy helps us to fight against climate change, one of the biggest challenges of our time.“

 Mobisol, a leading player in decentralized solar electrification, offers a clean and affordable alternative to fossil fuels for lower-income households and small businesses in rural sub-Saharan Africa.

Finnfund (Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd) is a Finnish development finance institution, aiming to foster sustainable development by providing long-term risk capital for private projects in developing countries.

 

 

 

Y’ello Box Brings Mobile Phone Electricity To Nigeria

The Y’ello Box is a solar electricity system that officially launched earlier this year and allows families and business owners to harness the power of the sun cheaply and efficiently, in a way we’ve never seen before.

In homes, clinics, schools and businesses across Nigeria, people are running fans, charging phones, watching TVs and lighting rooms, all using affordable, reliable, clean electricity. The Y’ello Box is already powering the lives and businesses of more than one hundred thousand Nigerians. 

Designed and operated by Lumos Mobile Electricity Service, the Y’ello Box provides electricity to customers 24 hours a day, which people pay for using their MTN mobile phone.

It has proved itself to be the most reliable and affordable service on the market, with customers delighted at the switch from traditional fuel.

Yuri Tsitrinbaum, CEO of the Lumos Mobile Electricity Service said: “People don’t have access to the power they need. Fuel is very expensive and other services are unreliable. The Y’ello Box saves customers money all while providing better and more reliable electricity. As Nigeria modernizes, our demand for power increases. It’s time we did more to harness the power of the sun. That is why the Y’ello Box is changing so many lives. It is affordable, it is reliable and paying by mobile phone makes it easy.

“Lumos is growing rapidly across Nigeria, as we invest more money, create business opportunities for Nigerians and employ more and more people. Equally important is the fact that the service is improving the everyday operations of community centers like schools, health clinics and religious institutions,” added Tsitrinbaum.

Mobisol Acquires Lumeter To Expand Off-Grid Solar Pay-As-You-Go Solution

Mobisol, a leader in decentralized solar electrification, Tuesday announced that it has acquired Lumeter, one of the largest providers of pay-as-you-go (PAYG) software for the off-grid solar industry.

The acquisition creates strong synergies between Lumeter and Mobisol’s software for pay-as-you-go services. The combined company creates an unrivaled player with strong pricing power, expertise in the metering sector for stand-alone solar systems and mini-grid solutions.

Furthermore, it has the ability to deliver PAYG functionalities for large productive use systems to underserved areas of the world. Following this acquisition, the Mobisol platform now supports more than 500,000 people globally with access to clean, reliable and affordable power.

Approximately 2 billion people worldwide live without a reliable electricity source to meet their daily energy needs and are forced to turn to unhealthy and environmentally harmful alternatives such as kerosene lanterns and generators.

While some sub-Saharan African countries are attempting to implement costly and slow-moving on-grid infrastructure, off-grid options such as solar stand-alone systems are made affordable through PAYG software, generate power from day one and are easy to install. Mobisol estimates that its software saves up to 80% in daily operations.

Through a comprehensive feature set, like automated invoicing, remote monitoring to reinforce payments, complete control of the supply chain from production facilities to sales outlets, and automated credit checks, overhead is reduced and digitalization of operations possible.

 “While pay-as-you-go software pioneers like Lumeter and Angaza Design have very successfully paved the way to meet consumer needs, we will now be able to take this approach to a new level, offering opportunities to manufacturers and distributors on a larger scale” said Stefan Zelazny, Chief Innovation Officer at Mobisol.

“We are able to provide a hardware agnostic software suite that makes major consumer and commercial implementations possible. We see the Lumeter acquisition as a key step in our plan to expand the pay-as-you-go market for Mobisol, its off-grid partners and other technologies beyond solar.”

Mitra Ardron, founder of Lumeter adds: “I am glad to see Lumeter’s technology developed further with Mobisol. By bringing together the customers, hardware, and back end solutions of the two leading companies in PAYG will bring advantages to all of our partners.“ Mobisol has installed nearly 10 megawatts of capacity in Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya, providing clean and reliable electricity to households and small businesses in low-income communities.

In this way, the company enables rural families and business owners to power a range of appliances, such as televisions, stereos and refrigerators to improve their standard of living and earn incremental income through solar-powered businesses, such as mobile phone charging stations, barber salons, movie theaters and more.

Lumeter brings proven pay-as-you-go software for the off-grid solar market that taps into existing micro-finance systems to bring affordable solar power to millions of households without other options.

Mobisol is now in a position to offer the most complete solution, including hardware, software and operational expertise, for off-grid solar pay-as-you-go power for large consumer uses as well as commercial systems (up to 600Wp). In addition, the acquisition achieves short-term cost savings as well other long-term strategic opportunities for growth and new revenue opportunities.

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.”

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