Energy (263)

New Renewable Power Accounted For 72% Of All Power Expansion In 2019

Renewable Capacity Statistics 2020 shows that renewable energy capacity expanded by 7.6% last year with Asia dominating growth and accounting for 54% of total additions. 

The renewable energy sector added 176 gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity globally in 2019, marginally lower than the (revised) 179 GW added in 2018.  

Renewables accounted for at least 70% of total capacity expansion in almost all regions in 2019, other than in Africa and the Middle East, where they represented 52% and 26% of net additions, respectively.

The additions took the renewable share of all global power capacity to 34.7%, up from 33.3% at the end of 2018. Non-renewable capacity expansion globally followed long-term trends in 2019, with net growth in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and net decommissioning in Europe and North America.


Growth in hydro was unusually low in 2019, possibly because some large projects missed their expected completion dates. As in many previous years, China and Brazil accounted for most of the expansion, each adding more than 4 GW.

Wind energy

Wind performed particularly well in 2019, expanding by nearly 60 GW. China and the United States continued to dominate, with increases of 26 GW and 9 GW respectively.

Solar energy

Asia continued to dominate global solar capacity expansion with a 56 GW increase, but this was lower than in 2018. Other major increases were in the United States, Australia, Spain, Ukraine and Germany. 

Bio energy

Expansion of bioenergy capacity remained modest in 2019. China accounted for half of all new capacity (+3.3 GW). Germany, Italy, Japan and Turkey also saw some expansion.

Geothermal energy

Geothermal power capacity grew by 682 MW in 2019, slightly more than in 2018. Again, Turkey led with an expansion of 232 MW, followed by Indonesia (+185 MW) and Kenya (+160 MW).

Off-grid electricity

Off-grid capacity grew by 160 MW (+2%) to reach 8.6 GW in 2019.
Bioenergy accounts for 40% of off-grid capacity, but it is growing relatively slowly. In 2019, offgrid solar PV increased by 112 MW and hydropower grew by 31 MW, compared to growth of only 17 MW for bioenergy.

Rosatom Earned $7 Billion From Electricity Sales In 2019

The revenue of Rosenergoatom, the Rosatom subsidiary tasked with operating Russian nuclear power stations, reached a record $7.01 billion (453.3 billion roubles) in 2019.

In 2019, total revenue from the sale of electric energy generated by Russian nuclear power plants increased by 17.5% on the year, while total nuclear power generation amounted to 208.8 billion kWh, a 2.2% increase on the year.

Today, Rosenergoatom is the largest power generator in Russia and the second largest in the world in terms of nuclear generating capacity, an important player in the global nuclear power industry, which is successfully developing and embracing a largescale digital transformation.

The share of electricity produced by Russian nuclear power plants in the national energy system in 2019 amounted to 19.4%, with every fifth light bulb in Russia powered by energy generated by nuclear power plants.


CSOs Want MPs To Censure Energy Minister Over Murchison Falls Feasibility Study

Over 19 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have written to the Speaker of Parliament requesting that parliamentarians censure the minister of energy over the energy ministry's continued push to develop a dam at Murchison Falls.

In a letter to the Speaker of Parliament Alitwala Rebecca Kadaga, the CSOs described government’s interest in carrying out a feasibility study for a dam at Murchison Falls on River Nile in Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP) as unfortunate because of known environment risks.

When appearing before parliament’s Natural Resources Committee last month, State Minister for Energy, Simon D’Ujanga indicated that government would go ahead with conducting a feasibility study for a planned dam at the Murchison Falls.

The minister also confirmed that the government of Uganda signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with South Africa’s Bonang Power and Energy Ltd to undertake the feasibility study in December 2019.

This was in total disregard of parliament and other Ugandans’ objection to the planned dam, the CSOs said, adding that an electricity-generating dam at Murchison Falls will inevitably destroy the Murchison Falls landscape which is a major eco-system and tourism site.

“Clearly, the minister and executive’s position to go ahead with the feasibility study undermines the role of parliament as an institution that represents all Ugandans. The minister and executive’s position is also against public interest as it will hurt community livelihoods, tourism, fisheries, employment opportunities and cultures among others. This has been variously pointed out by many stakeholders including communities, cultural institutions, CSOs, tour operators, government agencies and others.

It is noteworthy that government is also going against Ugandans’ wishes on a dam at Murchison Falls when available evidence shows that government’s spending spree on hydropower dams has only increased Uganda’s indebtedness amidst low power access, high power prices, low job creation, increased poverty rates from 19% to 27% and unacceptable destruction of biodiversity.

For the government to desire to construct another hydropower dam and destroy the mighty Murchison Falls amidst the above failures demonstrates the highest level of government failure to appreciate the importance of tourism and other industries in the country. It also demonstrates a high level of impunity.

Through this letter, the undersigned CSOs are calling on parliament to use the powers vested in the institution under Article 118 of the 1995 Uganda Constitution to censure the minister of energy and stop impunity. This will serve as a warning to other government officials who disregard the recommendations of institutions such as parliament and the voices of Ugandans.

Parliament is our hope to fight government impunity that has led to the destruction of environmental resources including forests, national parks, rivers, lakes, wetlands and others. Let us not allow Murchison Falls to also get destroyed,” reads part of the letter dated February 26, 2020.


Reinventing Steam Power Technology For A Low-Carbon Future

By Africa Energy Indaba

As prevalent debates concerning the implementation of carbon neutral sources continue to make headlines, also increasingly rife, is the energy industry's endeavour to explore a broader array of renewable energy sources including biomass.

Great strides have been made in Africa's development in biomass. Interestingly, Africa has the highest portion of bioenergy, at 45% of the total energy mix, thereby validating the continent's potential to capitalise on this renewable energy source. 

Furthermore, there are currently industrial scale biomass and waste-to-energy plants being explored in Angola, Tanzania, Cote D'Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

Within a global context, using GE's renewable steam technology, the Kamisu Biomass Power Generation plant in Japan will run on 100 percent biomass to generate 50 megawatts (MW) of reliable energyAccording to GE, this is one example of how the company is adapting its technologies to meet market demand to support more renewable fuel sources like biomass. 

Lee Dawes, GE Steam Power Sub-Saharan Africa CEO says the South African context will be different. While biomass and waste to energy are considered in the latest IRP, there has been no clear determination on how it will be implemented. 

"A consideration to reduce CO2 emission could be a coal to biomass conversion. Depending on the size of a plant, typically, existing power plants can be adapted to utilise a wide range of biomass fuels up to 20% to supplement or displace coal providing additional benefit to reduce CO2, NOx and Sox". 

Notwithstanding, in accordance with the Paris Agreement and mounting concerns for the adverse effects of climate change, South African policies are striving to accelerate decarbonisation while meeting the need for rapidly growing demand for reliable, affordable and environmentally sustainable power. 

He also argues that while biomass is considered a renewable energy source, its sustainability will depend on continuous growth and the cultivation of the biomass sources to ensure a carbon neutral state. Where the biomass is a secondary revenue stream, it often contributes to the commercial viability of such projects".

With all these developments in energy, it remains imperative to note that, despite the energy source employed, maintaining a sustainable balance between developmental as well as environmental national needs while managing current challenges to ensure energy security, economic stability and jobs, remains high on government's agenda. 

Policymakers will have to devise and implement strategies to ensure a successful transition, taking into consideration the various implications of such a shift, such as the interdependencies of fuel sources along with impact of renewable penetration on the grid.

"At GE we respect the choices that countries make regarding their energy mix and fuel sources. Once countries have chosen the fuel that best meets their energy, cost and sustainability needs, we support them with the most efficient technology that has the least possible environmental impact. 

In countries like South Africa where coal provides self-sufficient and affordable means of energy security, it is essential that the plants provide high levels of efficiency and rely on leading air quality control technologies.

Therefore, access to finance, upgrade, maintain and in some cases extend the life of existing assets in a sustainable manner is essential, adds Dawes. 

GE has made significant progress in assisting governments and utilities to improve the availability and reliability of their plants with the leverage of private finance. This has been implemented by capitalising on the opportunities presented by new digital solutions. 

"Across the world digital technologies are transforming the energy industry by increasing levels of productivity, lowering operational costs and extending the life of machinery. It's time for South Africa to join this Fourth Industrial Revolution." 

The rolling power blackouts, which carry a significant economic burden to the country, have rendered it imperative to focus intensively on plant availability and reliability.

It is critical to also note that responsible investment in energy does not only concern infrastructure and technology, it similarly concerns people and policy choices. GE believes it has a role to play in this by investing in the right technologies, developing the right technical skills needed to help the industries grow and support the development of local suppliers.

Dawes notes that, in partnership with Eskom, GE has invested considerably in skills training having trained a significant amount of skilled and unskilled youths, comprising artisans, welders, engineers, fitters and boilermakers. In addition, they support local businesses through a preferential procurement process.

"We understand the importance of ensuring that the future generation of engineers, technicians and scientists have access to the training and support that they need to develop and contribute to the development of the country," said Dawes. 

"We recognise that technology and skills development are key drivers to ensure the long-term development of any sector, economy or country and with our digital tools we are ready to take the next step.", he concluded.

As two of the continent's most revered sources within the energy realm, GE and the Africa Energy Indaba have been placed as thought leaders in this revolutionary industry. Anyone vested in the sector will do well to attend this year's prestigious Africa Energy Indaba to keep abreast of prevalent topics affecting energy stakeholders and its entire value chain.

Rosatom’s First Wind Farm Has Entered The Wholesale Electric Power And Capacity Market

The largest wind farm in Russia has begun supplying electric power to the wholesale electricity and capacity market. The Adygea Wind Farm is the first completed project of NovaWind JSC (the Rosatom division responsible for wind energy projects). It has a total capacity of 150 MW and consists of 60 wind turbines.

As part of the current localization programme, the company was able to achieve batch production of wind turbine components and assemblies in Russia. The degree of localized sourcing of the facility’s equipment, as confirmed by Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, is at 65%. Through its localization programme, NovaWind plans to bring this figure up to 80-85% in the future.

In this project, Rosatom acts as a system integrator that effectively accomplishes a full range of tasks, including designing wind farms, making its own production of wind turbine components, managing the supply chain and delivery of components to sites, as well as subsequently overseeing service and operation.

Rosatom is currently implementing a programme for wind farm construction at four more sites in the Stavropol Kray and the Rostov Region. The company’s next largest wind farm, with an installed capacity of 210 MW, will appear in the Kochubeyevsky district of the Stavropol Kray.


Engie Africa Brings Off-Grid Power To Over 4m People On The Continent

ENGIE Africa ha announce that it has successfully accelerated the Access to Energy (A2E) strategy that it launched in 2018.

ENGIE has achieved this through the development of its three A2E off-grid energy solution companies: Fenix International, ENGIE Mobisol, and ENGIE PowerCorner.

With these three innovative entities, ENGIE Africa is bringing decentralized electricity to more than four million people in nine countries (Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Nigeria, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mozambique). This growth is in line with the Group’s ambition to reach millions of households and businesses with clean, distributed energy across Africa.

Fenix, which was acquired by ENGIE in 2018, expanded its operations significantly in 2019. To date, it has sold more than 700,000 solar home systems that power 3.5 million people in rural communities across six countries.

Now employing 1,200 full-time team members, Fenix launched sales in Mozambique in June 2019. In the last month, the company has reached milestones in multiple markets, with 150,000 solar home systems sold in Zambia, 50,000 sold in Benin, and 20,000 sold in Côte d’Ivoire.

ENGIE complemented its range of solar home system solutions by finalizing the acquisition of Mobisol in October 2019. The higher capacity (40–200W) of ENGIE Mobisol’s products offers consumers access to modern energy services and appliances to establish solar-powered small businesses.

ENGIE Mobisol has operations in Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya, and has installed more than 150,000 solar home systems, providing clean and reliable energy to 750,000 people and counting in East Africa.

Mini-grid developer and operator ENGIE PowerCorner now has 13 mini-grids in operation across two countries (Tanzania and Zambia), serving 15,000 beneficiaries. It is constructing new mini-grids in Uganda (in joint venture with Equatorial Power), Benin and Nigeria, with the aim to triple its number of customers this year. ENGIE PowerCorner focuses on powering income-generating activities and productive usages, thus contributing to the increase of the economic welfare of its rural customers.

Fenix’s inclusive solar home systems for household usages, combined with ENGIE Mobisol’s focus on larger households and small business appliances, together with ENGIE PowerCorner’s focus on income-generating activities and small-scale industries, enables ENGIE to offer affordable energy products and to extend its customer base from rural to urban areas.

Yoven Moorooven, CEO of ENGIE Africa, says: “We strongly believe in the huge potential of the off-grid electrification sector and that it will be instrumental in rapidly and cost-effectively bridging energy gaps across Africa. We will build upon our successes to sustain and meet our long-term ambition of impacting tens of millions of lives across Africa. ENGIE has an important role to play in industrializing and scaling up the off-grid solar business. We are keen to offer the lowest cost and best quality Access to Energy solution that addresses our customers’ needs.”

ENGIE is expanding its offerings beyond electricity provision, integrating cost-effective and tailor-made solutions “as a service” to accompany customers every step of the way. This expansion links energy access to other products and services: internet, water, productive appliances, clean cooking, financial services and products.

Universal electrification is the seventh of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that the global community has committed to achieve by 2030. ENGIE is confident that universal access to energy is achievable in the foreseeable future, through smart investments in a combination of national grid extension, solar home systems and mini-grids.

Togo Buoyed By 50MW Photovoltaic Solar Power Complex, The Largest In West Africa

The African Energy Chamber congratulated the Republic of Togo for breaking ground on its 50MW Mohamed Bin Zayed Photovoltaic Solar Power Complex today in Blitta.

The project was launched in presence of H.E. Faure E. Gnassingbe, President of the Republic of Togo, and Hussain Al Nowais, Chairman of AMEA Power, the company in charge of designing, financing, building, launching, operating and maintaining the facility.

The Moyamed Bin Zayed Solar PV Complex is West Africa's largest ongoing solar PV project and supports Togo's ambitions to increase its rural electrification rate to 50% by 2022, and 100% by 2030.

"AMEA Power is a foreign investor who understands Africa and has demonstrated a commitment to supporting local content wherever it operates," declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group.

"As public and private sector interest for Africa grows in the Middle East, such players are most welcomed. Their work in and with Africa contributes to the development of a sustainable and prosperous future."

The project further confirms the growing presence of AMEA Power in the continent. The UAE-based company has become a serious investor in Africa's energy sector and represents the growing appetite of private players and investors from the Middle East to invest in Africa.

At the end of 2019, Saudi Arabia-based ACWA Power signed two long-term power purchase agreements for 250MW of solar PV projects in Ethiopia, while state-owned ADNOC is reportedly looking at several investments into the African upstream oil & gas sector.

Liberia Gets $35m For Renewable Energy From African Development Fund

The African Development Fund has approved a $34.74 million grant and loan to boost renewable energy access and promote an attractive investment climate in Liberia.

At a signing ceremony on 29 January in Monrovia, Dr. Orison Amu, the African Development Bank’s Country Manager in Liberia, and Samuel Tweah Jr., Liberia’s Minister of Finance & Development Planning, inked financing agreements for two projects. The ceremony was attended by officials from government, the Rural Renewable Energy Agency (RREA), the National Investment Commission (NIC), development partners and other stakeholders.

Under the first project, the Renewable Energy for Electrification in Liberia, more than $33 million, primarily in the form of a grant from the Bank and the Strategic Climate Fund’s Scaling-up Renewable Energy program, is to support renewable energy sector growth.

The funds will go towards construction of a mini dam on the St. John River in Nimba County in northeastern Liberia and the development of the Gbedin hydropower Falls with a total capacity of 9.34 megawatts of power, to be transmitted through an 8 km, 33kV line connecting 7,000 households.

The system would allow for grid expansion to isolated communities and support the connection of schools, health centers, businesses and industries to the national grid, increasing the rural electrification rate in Liberia.

Minister Samuel Tweah Jr. said the project, scheduled for completion by 2024, would help unlock one of the main constraints to economic development -- access to a reliable, affordable and sustainable supply of electricity.

The second project - Support to Investment Promotion Agencies in Transition Countries – received approval for an additional $1 million to assist in promoting business investment in Liberia and building the capacity of the National Investment Commission. The funds will come from the Bank’s Transition Support Facility.

“As a Bank we understand the challenges faced by Government and the efforts underway to attract Foreign Direct Investment,” said Amu. “This project aims at contributing to those ongoing efforts by (the Liberian) government.”

As of January 2020, the Fund has 16 on-going and recently approved operations in Liberia with a total commitment of $413 million. The active portfolio spreads over six sectors covering infrastructure, predominantly roads, and energy. With this new signing, energy now accounts for 26% of the Fund’s total commitments in Liberia.

Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea discuss Energy Cooperation

The Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, held a meeting today with his Ethiopian counterpart H.E. Samuel URKATO, Minister of Petroleum.

This follows the visit of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali to Equatorial Guinea and aims to confirm the support and sharing of Equatorial Guinea's experience to the Ethiopian hydrocarbons sector, promoting the exchange of information and know-how between the two countries.

H.E. Samuel Urkato expressed his sincere thanks for the good reception of his Equatorial Guinean counterpart and of the country in general, specifying that the great discovery of gas in Ethiopia will enrich the bonds of union between both African countries.

On the same day, H.E. Samuel Urkato, accompanied by Mr. Robustiano Eyegue Mangue, Director General of Hydrocarbons, visited the CNG plant for the transformation of vehicle flue gas and also visited the oil installations complex of the Marathon, Ampco Methanol and EG LNG companies with the objective of learning about the operation, productivity, distribution and sale of the final product produced in the complex.

Siemens Supports Ghana's Energy & Infrastructure Transformation Trajectory

Siemens has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Republic of Ghana to address the country's energy and infrastructure challenges while contributing to the government's growth and development agenda of creating high-quality jobs and enhancing the vocational skills of Ghana's youth.

The MoU was signed by Siemens and the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) in the presence of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo and the President and Global Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG, Joe Kaeser.

Under the agreement, the two companies will work collaboratively to upgrade and extend Ghana's transmission infrastructure, improve the country's grid capacity and stability, enable and expand a stable power export to neighboring countries in the West African Power Pool.

"Access to electricity is an imperative need for the people and business and, thus, for the economic success of any economy. As Ghana has significantly invested into generation capacity, there is now an urgent need to build a reliable, affordable and sustainable electrical network for the country and its people. With our proven and unique end-to-end electrification solutions, our expertise, and reliability, Siemens can be a technology partner and help the country achieve its objectives," Joe Kaeser, President, and CEO of Siemens. 

The President of the Republic of Ghana has set out to achieve an ambitious strategy to transform the country, both socially and economically, driving its progress to become a sustainably industrialized county. The Government is currently delivering on the promises made in their 2016 election manifesto. These goals include the issuing of National ID Cards, the reduction of electricity prices, reviving Ghana's railways and reversing the trend of declining economic growth.

"We applaud Ghana for all its achievements under the leadership of President Nana Akufo- Addo. We are eager to contribute to Ghana's successes by creating local value and being a powerful and reliable regional partner to the country's socio-economic development goals," says Joe Kaeser.

To support Ghana's increasing need to reform the national Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system, Siemens will also educate and train young Ghanaians in various engineering disciplines and provide training on Siemens equipment for STEM education and TVET.

Joe Kaeser further stated that Siemens is pleased to be entering this partnership and contributing to the growth and development of Ghana. Improving the energy sector in Ghana is now one of the key priorities for Siemens, therefore the implementation of this MoU will help leapfrog the country and its people towards its industrial and societal development goals.

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