Energy (68)

How Renewables Can Decarbonise Energy Sector, Improve Lives

A new comprehensive publication dubbed REthinking Energy released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reveals that falling costs, driven by innovation in technology and policy, is spurring renewable energy deployment and with it a myriad of socioeconomic benefits.

REthinking Energy, now in its third edition, was released on Sunday at IRENA’s seventh Assembly, the Agency’s ultimate decision-making authority. The Assemble sat for a couple of days in Abu Dhabi to discuss 2017 renewable prospects.

“Renewables are gaining ground by nearly every measure. Accelerating the pace of the energy transition and expanding its scope beyond the power sector will not only reduce carbon emissions, it will improve lives, create jobs, achieve development goals, and ensure a cleaner and more prosperous future,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.

The publication highlights how global investment in renewables has steadily grown for more than a decade, rising from less than USD 50 billion in 2004 to a record USD 305 billion in 2015. Despite this enormous growth, current investment and deployment levels are making headway to meet international carbon reduction targets.

“As we advance deeper into a new energy paradigm, we need to pick-up the pace of our decarbonisation efforts. Policies and regulations continue to remain crucial to this end and to develop the renewables market,” explained Mr. Amin.

“We are seeing more and more countries hold auctions to deploy renewables, and as variable and distributed sources of renewables take-on a greater role, regulators have implemented changes to enable grid integration at scale. Heating and cooling, and the potential of renewables for transport, are areas where future efforts are needed.”

The publication provides insights on the innovations, policy and finance driving further investment in sustainable energy system, including that:

  • Renewable energy auctions are gaining popularity in developed and developing countries, generating record-breaking low energy prices;
  • Demand for battery storage is increasing rapidly and playing a larger part in integrating variable renewables;
  • New capital-market instruments are helping increase available finance by offering new groups of investors access to investment opportunities;
  • Institutional investors are moving into renewable energy as it offers stable returns over the long term;
  • New business models promise new ways to finance renewable energy.Off-grid renewables provide electricity to an estimated 90 million people worldwide, and enable people to climb the energy ladder. They are cost-effective and can be installed in modular fashion, linked to grid extension plans. REthinking Energy describes how off-grid solutions can provide modern energy access to hundreds of millions of more people and achieve development goals.REthinking Energy was released at IRENA’s seventh Assembly, which this is gathering 75 ministers from over 150 countries, to advance the global renewable energy agenda and make concrete steps to accelerate the global energy transformation.
  • “Achieving universal electricity access by 2030, will require us to boost global power generation — nearly 60 per cent of that will have to come from stand-alone and mini-grid solutions,” said Mr. Amin. “Meeting this aim with off-grid renewables depends on the right combination of policies, financing, technology and institutional capacity. Making needed changes and accelerating deployment will allow countries to address global issues in sustainability, education, gender equality, health, water and food.

The publication states that solar PV will grow the fastest in terms of capacity and output, and new ways to store electricity will be a game changer for growing variable renewable energy generation. IRENA estimates that battery storage for electricity could increase from less than 1 GW today to 250 GW by 2030.

Off-grid renewables provide electricity to an estimated 90 million people worldwide, and enable people to climb the energy ladder. They are cost-effective and can be installed in modular fashion, linked to grid extension plans. REthinking Energy describes how off-grid solutions can provide modern energy access to hundreds of millions of more people and achieve development goals. 

“Achieving universal electricity access by 2030, will require us to boost global power generation — nearly 60 per cent of that will have to come from stand-alone and mini-grid solutions,” said Mr. Amin. “Meeting this aim with off-grid renewables depends on the right combination of policies, financing, technology and institutional capacity. Making needed changes and accelerating deployment will allow countries to address global issues in sustainability, education, gender equality, health, water and food.”

REthinking Energy was released at IRENA’s seventh Assembly, which this is gathering 75 ministers from over 150 countries, to advance the global renewable energy agenda and make concrete steps to accelerate the global energy transformation.

World Lawmakers Meet To Discuss Renewable Energy Policy

Lawmakers from around the world are meeting today in Abu Dhabi to discuss the policies needed to support the transformation of the global energy system. Held the day before the opening of the seventh Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the 2017 Legislators Forum, “Renewable Energy – the Role of Legislators in Catalyzing Action”, is the second meeting of its kind hosted by the Agency.

The Forum facilitates dialogue between lawmakers on the deployment of renewables and critical challenges facing the energy transformation underway in countries around the world, covering areas of policy, legislation, and tools to support legislators.

“Lawmakers have a rich history of creating the policy and legal frameworks that can drive renewable energy deployment. Their role is even more critical as governments look to transform their energy infrastructure and markets,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “By bringing together lawmakers from around the world concerned about energy issues, IRENA can better support their efforts to accelerate the energy transition.”

“The next step for renewables is accelerating its deployment and that’s going to require an environment that policies can help foster,” said HE Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change & Environment. “Legislators have the unique responsibility in bringing about that renewable friendly environment and it’s only fitting that IRENA plays a guiding role in this effort through gatherings like the Legislators Forum.”

The meeting will allow participants to exchange best practices and learn from each other’s experiences in creating effective renewable energy policy. It will focus on policy and legislative tools as well as financing mechanisms available to raise the level of ambition towards an accelerated energy transition, using available databases, analytical reports, and direct legislative assistance.

On 12 January, participants of the Legislators Forum were invited by the UAE’s Federal National Council to visit the country’s parliament and meet with a group of its members.

“With the right set of  legislation and policies in place, countries can set the stage for renewable energy to flourish, and put the world on a path for a more sustainable future,” said the Speaker of the Federal National Council of the United Arab Emirates HE Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi. “We have to think holistically and develop an end-to-end strategy that balances a number of interrelated considerations: R&D and innovation, standards, cost of implementation, impact on existing jobs and companies, education and reskilling, and new employment and economic growth opportunities.”

The Legislators Forum is taking place in the context of the seventh IRENA Assembly, which gathers global energy leaders from more than 150 countries. During the Assembly delegates will discuss IRENA’s strategic and programmatic direction to help countries accelerate deployment of renewable energy, and in doing so, meet climate goals, boost the economy, and increase energy access and security. Outcomes from today’s Legislators Forum will be presented at the Assembly’s discussions.

IRENA is mandated to be the global hub for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange by 150 Members (149 States and the European Union). 27 additional countries are in the accession process and actively engaged. IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.


Leaders Gather In Abu Dhabi To Accelerate Renewable Energy Deployment

Government officials from more than 150 countries including 75 ministers, and leaders from international organisations, the private sector and civil society are gathering this week for the Seventh Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The Assembly brings together energy leaders to set the global renewable energy agenda and take concrete action to accelerate the ongoing global energy transition.

“2016 was a remarkable year for renewable energy. The falling costs of solar and wind power in markets around the world highlight the increasing cost-competitiveness of renewable energy which has become the preferred option for new power generation capacity in many countries around the world,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.

“In addition, innovations in technology and new business models are bringing renewable solutions to people who previously had no access to energy. These developments, coupled with the entry into force of the Paris Agreement and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, underscore growing momentum for renewable energy and give fresh impetus to the case for transitioning to a sustainable energy future.  Efforts now need to turn to scaling-up renewables in end-use sectors such as transportation, industry, and heating and cooling.”

Taking place 14-15 January at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, with a day of preliminary meetings and discussions on 13 January, the Seventh Assembly will focus on the critical role of renewable energy in powering economic growth, combatting climate change, expanding energy access and meeting global sustainable development goals.

Notable events taking place throughout the three days include:

  • The 2017 IRENA Legislators Forum on 13 January will gather legislators from around the world to discuss the key role of legislators in accelerating the deployment of renewables.
  • high-level meeting on renewable energy in South East Europe on 13 January will discuss the opportunities and challenges to expand the share of renewable energy in the region’s energy mix. The event will also be a platform for IRENA to launch its publication on cost-effective renewable energy generation in the region.
  • high-level event on renewable energy in islands settings on 13 January will discuss pathways for renewable energy deployment on islands and the enhanced efforts needed to support them.
  • Ministerial Roundtable on 14 January, ‘Towards an Economy Fuelled by Renewable Power: Innovation for the Next Stage of the Power Sector Transformation’, will discuss the innovative models and technologies needed for power sector transformation to inegrate higher share of renewables. 
  • On 14 January, IRENA and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) will announce the funding of renewable energy projects in a number of developing countries as part of the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility.
  • Ministerial Roundtable on 15 January, ‘Catalysing off-grid renewable energy deployment - Towards universal electricity access and the attainment of SDGs’, will discuss how off-grid renewables can be best integrated into national electrification strategies and improve livelihoods.
  • The launch of REthinking Energy 2017 on 15 January, an IRENA publication that examines the dramatic changes of the energy sector under way and how they provide an opportunity to develop an energy system that underpins sustainable development objectives.
  • Three Programmatic discussions: Plenary discussions amongst Members will take on ‘Enabling the private sector to accelerate renewable energy deployment – Corporate sourcing of renewables,’ on 14 January and on ‘Driving the decarbonisation of the energy sector through innovation’ and ‘Investment pathways towards advancing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) on 15 January.

“IRENA is now the recognized leader for authoritative and objective knowledge resources on renewable energy costs, resource potentials and employment,” said Mr Amin. “The Agency has also developed practical tools to enable countries to better plan their energy transition. Our annual Assembly provides a critical opportunity for high-level engagement with our Members and partners to examine how international cooperation can speed the transition to a sustainable energy future through concrete action and initiatives.”

The Assembly marks the opening of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and preceeds the World Future Energy Summit, a global gathering of thousands of energy leaders. IRENA will participate in a number events throughout the week, covering topics ranging from the decarbonisation of energy systems to the scaling up of variable renewable power.


Eskom Uganda Sinks Shs110m To Upgrade Njeru Primary School

In line with its policy of shared values among communities, Eskom Uganda has embarked on a facelift project that will give a whole new look to the currently dilapidated Njeru Primary School, a government school under the Ministry of Education and Sports started in 1960.

The School was previously located in the present day Nalubaale power station and it was displaced to pave way for construction of the then Owen falls dam and transferred to Njeru village, where its presently location.

The School is currently dilapidated with broken windows and roofed with asbestos roofing materials which is said to be a Health risk for the pupils.

Eskom Uganda, the generating company running the Nalubaale and Kiira power stations has now come out to reinstate the lost glory of the School which faded away with the reduced number of children currently standing at 400, by injecting110 million Uganda shillings, to cover the renovation works which shall in the first phase include, replacement of the asbestos roofing material with iron sheets, replacement of the damaged window glasses, painting of both the interior and exterior surfaces and replacement of the doors and locks.

Speaking during an engagement meeting with the Njeru municipal council executive officials at Eskom offices today, the Managing Director Eskom Uganda, Thozama Gangi noted that the first phase of the renovation is expected to be completed by 31st January 2017 before the beginning of the new term.

She said that the second phase will include installation of proper electricity supply, water harvesting, renovation of staff housing and a computer lab. “We are in a changing world with fast moving technology we should not live the children behind. We are looking for partners who will join us to create a conducive environment for the children in Njeru primary school” said Thozama.

She further said that Eskom is willing to help the parents by finding innovative ways to utilize the available land so that they may be able to feed their children hence motivating them.


The Chairman of the school board Pastor Fred Kiwanuka said that the idea by Eskom to give Njeru Primary School a face lift will not only change the School, but the entire Education system in Njeru.

“We welcome this humanitarian initiative that Eskom is implementing in our community. Indeed, Eskom has always been here for the community whenever we need their intervention. This spirit of giving as being demonstrated by Eskom should be emulated by other companies around us”, he said.

In line with its policy of shared values under its CSR program, Eskom MD will also meet with Jinja Municipality Mayor Majid Batambuze to explore areas of intervention in 2017. Currently, Eskom together with Hon. Moses Balyeko have embarked on a project to upgrade Kimaka Health centre.

Fury as Tororo Cement Goes Against all Country Laws to Abuse Environment before Destroying Wetlands with Impunity

Top managers at Tororo Cement can make one believe they track their descendants in flogs’ fraternity. This belief is prompted by the way the cement industry, which would be interested in hard grounds and environment protection, have, to the contrary, a great knack for wet-lands consumption, to the tune of total destruction.

The post Fury as Tororo Cement, one of Uganda's leading cement makers,  Goes Against all Country Laws to Abuse Environment before Destroying Wetlands with Impunity, this is according to a report that appeared first on The Investigator, an online publication.


Students Graduate At Eskom Aided Training Centre

Gulu War Affected Training Centre, (GWATC), an Eskom Uganda aided facility, last week held its sixth graduation ceremony with 99 students receiving certificates in catering, tailoring and hair dressing.

The training centre was established in the aftermath of the Northern war by Ms. Betty Lalam who started with only 5 students in a shop verandah in 2005. The centre is funded by Eskom Uganda, the Nalubale and Kiira dams Concessionaire.

“The People of Gulu and indeed the whole of Acholi Sub region, especially those who have gone through this training centre look at Eskom as God’s messenger, send to wipe tears off our eyes, following the trauma that we went through during the LRA war which ravaged this area. We can never thank them enough.” Lalam said praising Eskom.

Lalam said the fresh graduates are joining 1,814 other beneficiaries who have graduated from the centre since inception and have gone off to start profitable ventures using the skills they acquired at the centre.

Eskom Uganda Managing Director Thozama Gangi said Eskom started with initial donation of Ushs200m to build classroom blocks for GWATC which were officially opened and handed over to the Director and Board members on January 14th, 2010.

According to Thozama, who was speaking at the graduation, the company has since continued to offer assistance to the school by offering a sewing machine to the best student on graduation day.

“For me, I look at what is happening here today as a demonstration of Eskom’s commitment to continue making a difference in the lives of ordinary people, to ensure their wellbeing is improved.

Initially, the Gulu War Affected Training Centre was set up to equip women affected by the 20-year insurgency that ravaged Northern Uganda with Vocational hands-on skills like tailoring, catering and hairdressing to help them get a decent living. With Eskom’s support that vision has come to bear fruits as you can see for yourselves today” Thozama said.

According to Thozama, the idea of constructing the facility was hinged onto the relevance of community rehabilitation following the devastating war that ravaged these region years back.

Thozama said Eskom has since attracted other partners including MTN Uganda which donated 15 computers to start up an ICT lab within the facility. MTN also donated one Inverter and solar batteries.

“Eskom Uganda is proud to be one of those companies that came out to stand with the communities here at a time of need. We wanted to be part of the process that would eradicate those ugly scars left by war, in the hearts of our brothers and sisters in this region”, Thozama added.

The Guest of Honour at the event, South African High Commissioner His Excellency Prof. Rtd. Major Gen. Solly Mollo urged the graduants to make good use of the knowledge they have acquired at the centre to add value to their lives.

He hailed Eskom for standing with the people of Acholi in times of need, equating the move to a good friend who sticks around even in bad times. Major General Mollo pledged to explore channels through which the Acholi Cultural institution can engage in a cultural exchange with the South African people.

Other Eskom Uganda humanitarian initiatives

Eskom Uganda believes in adding value to the lives of local communities and hence it has over the last 13 years invested in environmental upgrade, sports sponsorship, health and education.

In Environment, Eskom has engineered the planting of over 40,000 trees around Jinja district. Eskom also partnered with Busoga Development Agency to plant trees along all major roads in Busoga Sub-region.

In Health, Eskom has partnered with local leadership to upgrade and rehabilitate Kimaka Maternity Clinic in Jinja. Eskom is looking at equipping the clinic with modern equipment to reduce maternity related risks.

In Education, Eskom plans to rehabilitate the Njeru Primary school in Buikwe district. Work begins in December 2016 to re-roof the school and install solarsupply system and stock a state of the art computer room as well as water supply system in partnership with other corporates.

Transferring skills to Ugandans

About 390 graduate trainees in Uganda have been absorbed by Eskom to gain hands on experience in hydro generation engineering since commencement of operations. EUL has continued to offer a continuous industrial training of 30 students per annum.

In line with government of Uganda’s focus on Skilling Uganda, Eskom is already making a contribution towards taking Uganda to a middle income economy by 2020. This year, Eskom has undertaken to train 25 Engineers, technicians and operators from UEGCL as part of Eskom’s contribution towards skills development of UEGCL.

Nigeria Launches First Renewable Energy Association

Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN) was launched by industry leaders at the West African Power Industry Convention. The launch was attended by guests from over 100 organizations working in, and supporting, the renewable energy sector in Nigeria.

REAN is an umbrella association for organizations working across the renewable energy spectrum within the country, including renewable energy enterprises, project developers and promoters.

The association will provide a strong private sector voice to call for policies which catalyze the growth of the renewable energy market, and increase finance to the sector. REAN’s goal is for renewable energy—including solar, hydro, biomass and wind—to contribute forty percent of the national energy mix by 2030.

96 million people in Nigeria lack access to energy, by far the largest number of any country in Africa. Although Nigeria’s grid capacity is over 12,000 Megawatts (MW), only 4,500MW is available due to a chronic lack of investment.

An increasing range of decentralized renewable energy solutions provide a fast and affordable way to increase energy access, while greater support for renewable solutions is also critical for meeting the country’s ambitious climate goals set out this month at COP22.

REAN’s members manufacture, install, maintain, sell and finance an array of renewable energy solutions, from rapidly deployable decentralized technologies—including household solar, renewable mini-grids and off-grid irrigation systems—to larger grid connected solutions.

REAN President, Mr. Segun Adaju, said: “At this critical time for energy and climate we are delighted so many renewable energy enterprises are coming together to support the launch of the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria. It is vital for the sector to have a united voice with which to call for supportive policy, financing and regulation. We hope that many more organisations will join the association in the coming days and weeks, and join our efforts to ensure that all Nigerians can access clean, safe power.”

The launch event included presentations on the energy sector in Nigeria, and details of the REAN structure, constitution and plans for 2017. All organizations working in the renewable energy industry are invited to join the association.

The growth of REAN has been supported by its founding members, as well as national and international organizations including the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria, Heinrich Boll Foundation, the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association and Power for All.

Eskom Wins East African Sustainable Development Award

Uganda’s largest electricity generation company, Eskom Uganda, won the East African Sustainable Development award,at the East African Book of Record awards, for its outstanding contributionsand positive performance that it has made to the region.

The East African Book of Record, with its culture of document and profiling outstanding achievements within the region has an attraction of over 150 millionfollowers and readers in East Africa and beyond and is affiliated to the Guinness book of records.

The awards recognize the value of specific projects and reward institutions that have delivered projects which exceed the expectations of the public and focuses on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted a year ago in New York to embrace the need for economic development that leaves no one behind and gives everyone a fair chance of leading a decent life.

Eskom Uganda Limited has engaged in a number of projects in education, sports, environment and Health not forgetting the charities and donations which are all in the name of serving the community and giving back to the people.

The company has since 2015, sponsored the Sustainable energy exhibition by the Ministry of energy as part of its commitment to the promotion of sustainable energy best practices, goods and services through demand side management.

This year, the company undertook an initiative to train 25 Engineers, technicians and operators from UEGCL as part of Eskom’s contribution towards skills development of UEGCL technical team andalso launched the construction of the Gulu War Affected Centre that provides skills and knowledge to persons that were affected by war in Northern Uganda.

IRENA Given €1m To Accelerate Renewable Energy Deployment

The Government of Wallonia of Belgium has committed €1 million to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) as part of the Government’s support to international climate efforts.

The announcement was made during a meeting between IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin and Mr. Paul Furlan, Walloon Minister of Housing, Energy, Climate and Local Government and City Policy, Government of Wallonia, at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP22, in Marrakech, Morocco.

“In the post-Paris context, the Walloon Region strongly wishes to contribute to the clean and fair development of developing countries especially in Africa, by supporting renewable electrification,” said Minister Furlan.

Renewable energy can play a major role in the alignment of global climate and development objectives, and IRENA provides an active and direct support to countries to accelerate the deployment of renewables.

“The Paris Agreement highlighted renewable energy as a key solution to advance climate action and achieve universal access to sustainable energy,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech.

"We are grateful to the Wallonian Government support for its continued support to IRENA’s work, and especially at this critical juncture for global efforts to accelerate the transition to a sustainable energy future.”

Developing Countries To Benefit From IRENA $50m Renewable Energy Funding

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) have officially opened the fifth round of funding for renewable energy projects in developing countries. The funding round of approximately USD 50 million is part of ADFD’s USD 350 million (AED 1.285 billion) commitment offering concessional loans to renewable energy projects endorsed by IRENA.

Since 2012, the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility has enabled USD 333 million in loans to 15 renewable energy projects in 14 developing countries. Selected projects thus far have included off-grid, mini-grid and on-grid projects using wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass sources. Thanks to the first three cycles, more than 68 megawatts of renewable energy capacity will be brought online, improving the livelihoods of 760,000 people.

“Many developing countries are blessed with abundant renewable energy resources, yet access to financing can still hinder development,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “IRENA’s partnership with ADFD helps overcome this challenge by offering concessional loans to quality renewable energy projects in developing countries, which then leverage additional investment. Funding from the Facility helps boost renewable energy deployment and trigger economic growth, offering sustainable and affordable energy to people with limited or no access to electricity.”

His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director-General of ADFD added, “The IRENA/ADFD Project Facility is a pioneering partnership that supports the developing world’s energy needs by tapping into their abundant renewable energy sources. Selected projects have the potential to improve the livelihoods of millions of people by facilitating sustainable economic growth, bolstering energy security and expanding energy access.

This collaboration with IRENA exemplifies our core business of partnerships and alliances to drive advancements in all key economy sectors, especially the renewable energy sector, which will guarantee a long-term, sustainable and environmentally conscious future. At ADFD, our aim is to provide governments with the financial resources and instruments to achieve their desired development goals and ensure a secure future for their citizens.”

Through the Facility, ADFD provides consessional loans ranging from USD 5 million to USD 15 million per project. Finance is offered at 1 to 2 per cent lending rates with a 20-year loan period, including a 5-year grace period. Loans for each project cover up to half of the estimated project cost so additional co-financing must be acquired from other sources. To help facilitate additional sources of funding, project developers can register and seek financing sources from IRENA’s Sustainable Energy Marketplace.

Only projects located in IRENA Member States, Signatories of the Statute, or States in Accession are eligible to apply. Applications are evaluated by an international panel of experts who review the projects based on technical feasibility, economic/commercial viability and socio-economic and environmental benefits.

The deadline for applications for the fifth cycle is 15 February, 2017. Results will be announced in January 2018.


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