Energy (93)

Winners Of $7m Access Co-Development Facility Competition Announced

Access Power a developer, owner and operator of renewable power projects in emerging markets in partnership with EREN Renewable Energy, a global independent power producer, announced the three winners of the 2017 US$7 million Access Co-Development Facility (ACF) - an innovative funding and support platform for renewable energy projects in Africa.

The three winning projects, hailing from Tanzania, Rwanda and Ghana, were selected from a technologically and geographically diverse pool of 82 entrants from 23 countries after having presented to a live panel of industry expert judges.

The panel based their final selection on the commercial, technical and environmental merits of the projects presented, as well as the local regulatory environment and capability of the project teams. The winners will share the US$7 million pot provided by the Access Co-Development Facility as well as technical support and expertise.

This year’s winners are:

Tanzania: 30MW, Kondoa, Solar PV project

Rwanda: 9.7MW, Rukarara, Hydro project

Ghana: 48MW, Winneba, Wind project

When completed, the projects will collectively provide over 85MW of electricity, enough to power more than 420,000 homes and business across Tanzania, Rwanda and Ghana. The winners were announced today in Copenhagen at the 19th annual Africa Energy Forum, following a presentation by the five shortlisted developers to a panel of expert judges.

Reda El Chaar, Executive Chairman of Access Power said: “We are very excited to begin working with today’s winners in partnership with EREN and help bring their projects to fruition. Each of these projects has the power to dramatically improve the lives of the communities around these renewable energy facilities.

“By partnering with us, these local entrepreneurs will gain access to not only our pot of $7 million but also our network of contacts and technical experts, underlining the unique nature of the ACF in creating a clear route to market.”

The winning projects will now enter into Joint Development Agreements with Access Power, who will take an equity stake. Winners will also be able to leverage Access Power’s organisational, financial and technical knowledge, as well as access to our network.

They will also receive assistance with the funding of third-party development costs including feasibility studies, grid studies, environmental and social impact assessments and due diligence fees.

This year’s competition was notable for the dominance of solar, with just under half of this year’s entries and three of the five shortlisted projects falling under the category, but also for the high number of applications from countries with low levels of electrification.

Of the 23 countries represented in this year’s edition, 18 have electrification rates below 30%. This year’s application process also further highlighted the rise of East and West Africa as hotspots for renewable energy development, with nearly 80% of all applicants hailing from both sides of the continent.

IRENA, State Grid Of China To Accelerating Energy Transition

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the world’s largest utility, agreed to enhance their co-operation with a view to advancing the energy transition under global and regional initiatives, including the Paris Agreement and the Belt and Road initiative.

The framework of the agreement includes opportunities for collaboration on activities related to integrating high shares of wind and solar, grid integration, interconnection and smart grids.

The framework also includes initiating technical co-operation in the context of IRENA’s Clean Energy Corridor initiatives and capacity building activities related to integrating renewable power in energy systems in developing countries.

The agreement was formalised on the sidelines of the Eighth Clean Energy Ministerial in Beijing, China between IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin and SGCC Chairman Shu Yinbiao. 

“As the world’s largest renewable energy market, China is at the forefront of renewable energy and it is State Grid that provides the electricity backbone for over 1 billion people,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.

“Providing more electricity – and more renewable electricity – than any other utility in the world, State Grid’s extensive experience with grid infrastructure and integrating renewable energy into power systems will help improve understanding of how we can bring larger shares of renewable power online. We look forward to working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable energy future both in China and around the world.”

State Grid Chairman Shu Yinbiao said at today's signing: "As the largest utility in the world, State Grid Corporation of China is dedicated to the interconnection of world power infrastructure to realize efficient, clean and sustainable development of global energy and contribute to the Belt and Road Initiative.

Based on the consensus of advancing the energy transition towards a low-carbon and green energy future, State Grid will implement extensive win-win cooperation with IRENA in terms of power grid technology, equipment and international standards.”

China is the world’s largest renewable energy market with over 27% (545 gigawatts) of the world’s installed renewable energy capacity and over 40% of the world’s renewable energy workforce. 

SGCC constructs and operates power grids throughout China as its core business, providing power to over 1.1 billion people throughout China. The company also has overseas operations in Europe, Latin America and Australia.

IRENA Expands Effort To Drive Corporate Renewable Energy Use

As part of its efforts to boost renewable energy use by businesses around the world, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has today launched a global company survey questionnaire on the corporate sourcing of renewables.

The information from the survey, which was launched at the Eighth Clean Energy Ministerial during the Corporate Sourcing of Renewables Day, will feed into IRENA’s forthcoming REmade Index, the first global reference index on voluntary corporate renewable energy purchasing for all end-uses.

The REmade Index report – due out later this year – will recognise companies sourcing renewables, highlight latest trends and provide recommendations to accelerate the trend.

“Whether making direct investments in renewable energy, signing corporate PPAs or buying renewable energy certificates, the remarkable set of commitments and actions we are seeing in the corporate sector on renewables is a clear sign that the business case for renewable energy is stronger than ever,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.

“These achievements from companies around the world are only the beginning of what companies can do to help accelerate the energy transition. As this trend continues, global interest in identifying and removing market barriers and sharing best practices, both in the public and private sectors, will only grow.

By mapping out global efforts and potential for corporate sourcing in decarbonising the global energy mix, the REmade Index is designed to do just that,” Mr. Amin added.

IRENA’s initial work on corporate sourcing shows that that the drivers for corporate procurement are changing. With the business case for renewables firmly established, many companies outside the energy sector are turning to renewable energy, not only out of corporate social responsibility but as a result of sound business decisions based on costs, profitability and security of supply.

"Since our first power purchase agreement in 2010, Google has signed 20 different renewable energy purchasing deals in 5 countries totaling 2.6 GW.  However, we're not yet able to purchase renewable energy everywhere we have significant operations, as we are limited by policy and regulatory hurdles in some markets," said Michael Terrell, Head of Energy Policy at Google.

"We're very excited that IRENA has begun this effort to take stock of policy frameworks around the world with a view to unlocking markets for corporate renewable energy sourcing."

Findings from the corporate survey, which is being launched today, will be compiled along results from the already completed survey amongst IRENA member states. The responses indicate that while many countries wish to facilitate the voluntary demand for corporate sourcing of renewables and recognise its potential, today’s enabling frameworks do still not sufficiently take into account the needs and drivers for companies to invest in renewables.

“We have seen continued wind and solar energy technology cost reductions in recent months, with record-low auction results from different regions of the world,” said Thorsten Herdan, Director General for Energy Policy, German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

“In many areas, the business case for corporates to source renewables has further improved. With the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Corporate Sourcing Campaign, we have initiated important work, supported by IRENA and further partners from civil society and business, to better understand and to improve the market and regulatory framework conditions for corporate sourcing.” 

The REmade Index is being developed in support of the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Corporate Sourcing of Renewables Campaign, launched at last year’s Ministerial in San Francisco with the objectives of advancing the business case for the corporate sourcing of renewables and identifying and implementing policy recommendations and best practices. The Campaign also aims to increase corporate commitments on renewables, and to recognise and incentivize the implementation of those commitments.

The REmade Index is also supported by the IRENA Coalition for Action, a multi-stakeholder coalition to support the accelerated deployment of renewables worldwide.

IRENA Commits To Drive Sustainable Energy Revolution

More than 300 high-level government representatives from 110 countries and the European Union — the largest number ever represented at an IRENA Council meeting — gathered Tuesday in Abu Dhabi to attend the 13th Council of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

At the outset of the meeting, the Council elected H.E. Mr. Li Fanrong, Deputy Administrator of the National Energy Administration of China as Chair of the meeting and Colombia as Vice-Chair.

“In our efforts to meet growing energy demand with cleaner, low-carbon and sustainable sources of energy sources, China has become one of the fast-growing renewable energy markets in the world.

It has now become evident in China that renewables can not only contribute to the on-going energy transition, but also drive sustainable economic growth,” said Mr. Li.

“China is open to cooperating with all countries across the globe on renewable energy development and deployment, and honored to be part of the IRENA’s invaluable efforts at the centre of international cooperation for greater renewable energy deployment.”

In the opening session, IRENA’s Director-General Adnan Z. Amin, presented the Progress Report of IRENA’s work. “We are in the midst of a major energy transition and renewables are at the centre stage of it experiencing continuous growth and development in more and more countries around the world,” said Mr. Amin.

“This transition has multiple socio-economic benefits in terms of fueling economic growth, creating jobs and improving human welfare and the environment. We look forward to working closely with our Members and stakeholders to further accelerate the global energy transition through strengthened international cooperation and innovative partnerships.”

For the remainder of the Council, participants will discuss the Agency’s future work as part of IRENA’s Work Programme and Budget for 2018-2019, and its Medium-term Strategy for 2018-2022.

Programmatic discussions will cover the investment needs for a low-carbon energy system, renewable energy jobs, and adapting electricity market design to high shares of variable renewable energy.

Events covering battery storage, renewable energy project development and facilitation, and the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility, is also planned.

Composed of 21 IRENA Members, the Council meets twice annually to facilitate cooperation among Members, oversee implementation of the IRENA work programme and complete substantive preparations for the Agency’s annual Assembly.

Investment Increases Renewable Energy Jobs – IRENA Report

More than 9.8 million people were employed in the renewable energy sector in 2016, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2017, released at IRENA’s 13th Council meeting, provides the latest employment figures of the renewable energy sector and insight into the factors affecting the renewable labour market.

“Falling costs and enabling policies have steadily driven up investment and employment in renewable energy worldwide since IRENA’s first annual assessment in 2012, when just over five million people were working in the sector,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “In the last four years, for instance, the number of jobs in the solar and wind sectors combined has more than doubled.

“Renewables are directly supporting broader socio-economic objectives, with employment creation increasingly recognised as a central component of the global energy transition. As the scales continue to tip in favour of renewables, we expect that the number of people working in the renewables sector could reach 24 million by 2030, more than offsetting fossil-fuel job losses and becoming a major economic driver around the world,” Mr. Amin added.

The Annual review shows that global renewable-energy employment, excluding large hydropower, reached 8.3 million in 2016. When accounting for direct employment in large hydropower, the total number of renewable-energy jobs globally climbs to 9.8 million. China, Brazil, the United States, India, Japan and Germany accounted for most of the renewable-energy jobs. In China for example, 3.64 million people worked in renewables in 2016, a rise of 3.4 per cent.

IRENA’s report shows that solar photovoltaic (PV) was the largest employer in 2016, with 3.1 million jobs — up 12 per cent from 2015 — mainly in China, the United States and India. In the United States, jobs in the solar industry increased 17 times faster than the overall economy, growing 24.5 per cent from the previous year to over 260,000.

New wind installations contributed to a 7 per cent increase in global wind employment, raising it up to 1.2 million jobs. Brazil, China, the United States and India also proved to be key bioenergy job markets, with biofuels accounting for 1.7 million jobs, biomass 0.7 million, and biogas 0.3 million.

“IRENA has provided this year a more complete picture on the state of employment in the renewables sector, by including large hydropower data. It is important to recognise these additional 1.5 million working people, as they represent the largest renewable energy technology by installed capacity,” said Dr. Rabia Ferroukhi, Head of IRENA’s Policy Unit and Deputy Director of Knowledge, Policy and Finance.

The report finds that globally, 62 per cent of the jobs are located in Asia. Installation and manufacturing jobs continue to shift to the region, particularly Malaysia and Thailand, which has become global centre for solar PV fabrication.

In Africa, utility-scale renewable energy developments have made great strides, with South Africa and North Africa accounting for three-quarters of the continent’s 62,000 renewable jobs.

“In some African countries, with the right resources and infrastructure, we are seeing jobs emerge in manufacturing and installation for utility-scale projects. For much of the continent however, distributed renewables, like off-grid solar, are bringing energy access and economic development.

These off-grid mini-grid solutions are giving communities the chance to leap-frog traditional electricity infrastructure development and create new jobs in the process,” Dr. Ferroukhi said.

Efacec “Brings” Electricity To Rural Rwanda

Efacec has just been chosen by the winning consortium of the international tender launched by the Republic of Rwanda for the construction of three new 200kV substations. These infrastructures are essential to distribute power to the country’s rural areas, such as Rwabusoro, Mamba e Rilima.

The technical abilities and skills of Efacec’s High Tension Substations area was the reason behind being chosen by the tender’s winning company – STEG International Services, from Tunisia – to implement the project of engineering, supply, supervision and commissioning of the three new substations on a turn-key basis. This contract is worth approximately 10.5 million euro and has an 18 months’ execution deadline.

This construction work will be fundamental to give flow to the 80MW produced in Mamba’s Biomass Power Station for the national electricity grid. Currently only 25% of Rwanda’s households have power. This project is part of the government ambition to bring electrical energy to 70% of Rwanda’s families, until 2018.

According to Ângelo Ramalho, Efacec’s CEO, “being chosen for this project attests, once again, Efacec’s skills. We are proud of this new act of trust bestowed to our company. We’ll continuously work in order to bring power to all the parts of the world”.  The partnership established with STEG results from an ongoing project that Efacec has in Tunisia for STEG: the execution of a substations contract.

Efacec Power Solutions (EPS) 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.

EPS develops its activity in strategic markets, such as Spain, Central Europe, United States, Latin America, Brazil, Maghreb, Southern Africa and India.

Biomass Energy Investment Could Change Uganda’s Story

Government should take steps to bring down the country’s reliance on fossil fuels below the current 85% population reliance to be a good global citizen on climate change. Uganda, which signed Paris agreement on climate change in October 2015, could now shift its focus to implementing the pacts.

To both her 34.8 million people growing at an annual rate of 3.2%, one of the fastest in the entire world, Uganda pledged a 22% cuts in carbondixide emissions in 2030 compared to business-as-usual. The estimated emissions in 2030 is 77.3 Million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year (MtCO2eq/yr), according to the INDC.

The country has already paida heavy price to the potentially catastrophic buildup of the human-derived greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere that makes the country most vulnerable to global warming and climate change impacts. Northern and eastern Uganda has experienced both droughts and floods in 2007 floods, following the heaviest rainfall in 35 years, which destroyed crops and affected thousands of people.All these have a nexus with lack of efficient clean energy option.

From the elixir of unprecedented reduction of water in the shores of Lake Victoria to the core of the mudslide storythat buried over 360 people in Mt Elgon’s rolling slopes of Bududa district in 2010, fossil fuel energy’s overlapping phantoms haunts.

The chairman of the eastern Bududa district suggested that the death toll could be as high as 450 as nearlya hundred more of his flock went missing and presumed dead; including up to 60 children who took refuge in a nearby health centre that was subsequently destroyed

President Yoweri Museveni, while inspecting the disaster; walking over chunks of mud burying families declared to one of his closest security personnel with whom he was in tandem that he had never seen“such a disaster in his entire life anywhere in the country.”

What caused this mega mudslide? This was the first question casted upon the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness even before plans to extend handouts such as the relocation of the over 3000 affected families.Even thegovernment’s bankrolling to provide temporary shelter and food that followed cannot match a simple magic bullet Uganda needs to fight deforestation, one of the primary, yet still multifaceted causes of mudslides in the country.

As the government was drawing plans to assist the affected people, in 2011, the same disaster reoccurred. This time round, it was even more disastrous burying two villages of Namaga and Bunakasala in the Bumwalukani Sub County in the same Bududa district. Estimated 450 more died.

At global level, about 40% of all the carbon emitted by human activity has come from cutting forests. In Uganda, forests provide fuel-firewood. According to an economic survey by J.E.M. Arnold and Jules Jongma theChief of the Plans Unit of the FAO Forestry Department,   an estimated 86% of all the wood consumed annually is used as fuel.

As Uganda’s population grows, this dependence leads inexorably to pressures on the wood resource which all too often have resulted both in the destruction of the forest and in a worsening of the situation of millions of individuals whose life is conditioned by the products of the forest.

A survey also reveals that the Mt Elogon slopes was one of the record forested reserves the country was proud of untilthe 1970s. Deforestation is a major harbinger of weather related disasters toa country that hasn’t yet produced a barrel of petroleum (though is preparing to unearth 6.5 billion barrels of oil).

The state minister for Environment,Dr Goretti Kitutu blamesthe Bududa District mudslides to lack of appropriate energy solutions. “Locals have encroached the steep slopes of Mount Elgon National Park,” Dr Kitutu cried, “in search of firewood and arable land for agriculture.”

“And when 52 millimeters of rainfall came for two days, we had a disaster…villages were wept out and only 8 people survived, and they are tramautised up today,” she said at a training of judicial and officers of the directorate of public prosecution in Entebbe, Wakiso District.

Realising that Solar and Wind Energy that provides enough energy for heavy-duty household chores say cooking, may still be expensive to the local Ugandans, the government now and in the past has tried to push for development of alternative energy sources.

Biomass Briquettes and their Potential

Briquettes are an alternative fuel source that is currently gaining concordin Uganda, which have also been successfully integrated into the economy in other developing countries such as China and Thailand. Briquettes are composed of commonly found organic household waste, such as peanut shells, banana peels, corn husks, sawdust etc. and are compressed either by hand or by briquette machine into small dense products that can be used instead of charcoal and excess amounts of wood harvested from nearby forests.

Crops grown in Uganda such as maize, cereals, roots, cane sugar and coffee all produce residues that are suitable for briquetting as does dried organic municipal solid waste (MSW). Data provided by the government indicates that 1.2 million tonnes of agricultural litters are available each year and an additional 1,500 tonnes of MSW are likely to be produced in the capital city Kampala daily. These two sources combined provide a theoretical limit which indicates that at most 6% of the country’s total wood consumption and up to 50% of the charcoal trade could be replaced by briquettes from waste.

The good news is the compressed-wastes are less expensive than both charcoal and dried tree stems. In recent years Uganda has faced steady increases in charcoal prices. In 2008, the average price of a 40 kg charcoal sack was USh15,000 (US$6) and during 2009 it rose to USh25,000 (US$10), an increase of 66% in just twelve months. Prices increased substantially again in 2011, with the cost of a sack in the capital Kampala reaching USh60,000 (US$24). Today a sack is 70,000 ($28).

Meanwhile, 4 pieces of firewood (which is estimated to substitute 3.3 kg of charcoal) were sold for Ush2,000 (US$0.8). Research by the Uganda Briquettes Association expects Ush80,000 (US$33) of charcoal to last 2 weeks, whereas Ush80,000 Briquettes would last for between 4 to 10 weeks, depending on the family size and cooking frequency.

Eco-fuel Africa works with local communities to turn farm and municipal waste into clean burning fuel briquettes and organic fertilizers. Its CEO Sanga Moses, a Ugandan native contributes to the faith that this innovative energy solutions but cites raising capital as a challenge. “Banks charge very high interest rates and ask for a lot of collateral security that organizations like ours do not have while other forms of capital are simply no-existent,” says he. “This limits our ability to rapidly expand as our demand exceeds supply”

In tandem with achieving the agreed carbon cuts, it is high time the government provides special support in areas such as skills development and low interest loan schemes to promote the use of biomass fuel. This will slow down the rates of deforestation, and, if complemented with efforts like afforestation, we will survive the severe tragedies caused by cutting down forests and thrive in a cooling globe below 1.5-degree Celsius.

By Boaz Opio, environmentalist

Project To Trace Conflict-Free Gold In DRC

Partnership Africa Canada has announced the Just Gold project has successfully implemented a system to trace legal and conflict-free artisanal gold in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Just Gold project began as a pilot in Ituri Province in 2015. The announcement is a milestone for the project—moving it from the pilot stage—having proven a successful chain of custody from mine site to exporter.

“After almost two years of testing the Just Gold project with an aim to develop a chain of custody and due diligence system for artisanal gold in DRC, we are excited to share news of our success,” said Joanne Lebert, Partnership Africa Canada’s Executive Director.

“The Just Gold project can now move from a period of testing to implementation and ensuring we have a long-term, sustainable and viable solution for traceable, legal and conflict-free exports of artisanal gold from Congo,” said Lebert.  “We look forward to sharing our lessons learned with key actors and to deepening our collaboration with the DRC Government.”

The Just Gold project creates incentives for artisanal gold miners to channel their product to legal exporters—and eventually responsible consumers—by offering fair and transparent pricing and by providing capacity-building, such as technical assistance to miners in return for legal sales. Miners are taught better exploitation techniques and offered Juts Gold project equipment, in return for which any gold produced must be tracked and sold through legal channels.

“Proving that artisanal gold in eastern Congo can be conflict-free, legal and traceable is a major step in responsible sourcing efforts in the Great Lakes region. The government of Democratic Republic of Congo is taking major strides in complying with regional standards and demonstrating how the implementation the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains can contribute to progressive improvements in the sector, supporting artisanal gold men and women miners to enter international markets,” said Lebert.

Partnership Africa Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Minister of Mines Martin Kabwelulu on September 2016, outlining support for the organization’s activities to strengthen natural resource governance. Specifically, the Ministry of Mines recognized the Just Gold project as a system of traceability and encouraged its implementation. Partnership Africa Canada has provided technical support to the Ministry since 2011.

Current activities in DRC include the Just Gold project, capacity building to implement both the International Conference on the Great Lakes (ICGLR) Regional Certification Mechanism (RCM) and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance applicable to high-value minerals, as well as support to civil society for monitoring and reporting on supply chain integrity.

Partnership Africa Canada has also undertaken research and analysis of the artisanal gold supply chain to understand women’s roles in the sector. Through sensitization and outreach, the Just Gold project improves awareness of women’s rights, and their right to access, control and benefit of resources. The project also supports and fosters women’s leadership opportunities through skills-building and training.

Partnership Africa Canada's work in DRC developed from its engagement as a technical partner to the ICGLR, providing capacity-building to implement the six tools developed by the ICGLR's Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources.

Funding for the Just Gold project and Partnership Africa Canada’s work in the Great Lakes region is provided by Global Affairs Canada. Additional funding for the Just Gold project is provided by USAID through the Capacity Building for Responsible Minerals Trade (CBRMT) project and International Organization for Migration.

Siemens Signs Power Supply Agreements With Uganda, Sudan

Siemens will work more closely with Uganda and Sudan in the areas of power supply, industry, transportation and healthcare. The African states signed the corresponding Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) at the World Economic Forum 2017 in the South African city of Durban. The documents were signed in the presence of Brigitte Zypries, German Federal Minister for Economics and Energy, Joe Kaeser, President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG and further high-ranking personalities.

“Africa’s economies are gaining ground and can develop their full potential with the right partner. Siemens wants to support their sustainable development – with solutions and projects in Africa, for Africa. The agreements with our African partners are important steps along this path,” said Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of Siemens AG. “Our goal is to double our order intake in Africa to more than €3 billion by the year 2020.”

Brigitte Zypries, German Federal Minister for Economics and Energy, said: “Africa is a continent with economic opportunities and the German industry is an outstanding partner for the countries of Africa to realize these opportunities. I am very pleased that with the agreements signed today, good progress is being made towards the goal of better infrastructure and thus more growth and employment. I particularly welcome the training program because well-trained skilled workers are a key pillar of prosperity and development. And it is precisely these elements that I also support with the ‘Pro! Africa’ plan.”

“Siemens is a company that invests for the long term, and we are interested in the long-term fundamentals of these markets and the diversification of their economies,” said Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO of Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa. “The opportunity for industrialization in Africa is now. It is estimated that Africa imports one-third of the food, beverages and other similar processed goods it consumers. The potential exists for Africa-based companies to meet this domestic demand and in so doing create sustainable revenue streams and opportunities for job creation.”

Under these agreements, Siemens and its partners will develop solutions in the areas of power supply, transportation, industry and healthcare. Another key point in the agreements relates to continuing training programs for various technical fields in order to create a pool of well-trained local workers. Furthermore, Siemens is joining the “Make IT Alliance” of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development to promote start-ups and technology companies across the African continent. The agreement was signed in the presence of Guenter Nooke, German Chancellor's Personal Representative for Africa in the ministry.

Africa possesses vast economic potential with forecasted growth rates of up to five percent. Spending on African infrastructure has more than doubled to $80 billion over the last 15 years, and the aspiring urban centers offer growth opportunities for the entire continent. More than a billion people worldwide have no access to electric power, and half of those people live in Africa. In Uganda and Sudan, Siemens’ primary goal is to increase national power generating capacities and to connect the local population to the power grids. A reliable and extensive power supply system is the fundamental prerequisite for economic growth.

African countries need infrastructure and industrial projects that generate sustained income streams to fully exploit their own economic potential. New financing concepts and long-term investment guidelines that will remain in effect for 30 years will create a stable investment climate for international investors and help to implement planned infrastructure projects.

Siemens has already developed financing solutions for its megaproject in Egypt and power plant projects in Nigeria and is supporting its African partners’ efforts to implement these major infrastructure projects. Siemens promotes economic growth in Africa through far-reaching partnerships in the competence fields of power generation, transportation and healthcare, as well as the digitalization of industry.

Siemens has been active in Africa for more than 157 years. Today, with more than 3,600 employees based in a total of 15 African countries, the company contributes decisively to the continent’s economic development. In addition, Siemens is investing an average of €10 million per year for training programs and is promoting programs to increase integrity in politics and society. In the spirit of Germany’s current presidency of the G20 group and the recently published Marshall Plan for Africa, Siemens is developing new projects for the continent, with the long-term goal of promoting the African economy and creating local jobs.


Geocycle Aims For A Future Without Waste For Uganda

Geocycle was recently launched in Uganda with the aim of providing a solution to waste management that leaves no residue. Under the Geocycle brand, the LafargeHolcim Group offers waste management services in over 50 countries around the world.   

“Our promise is to offer a superior solution to disposing off waste in landfills. Geocycle will collect, segregate and incinerate waste in cement kilns of Hima Cement Limited, in a partnership that is set to deliver a “zero-waste” future for Uganda,’ said Israel Tinkasimiire, the Geocycle Country Manager, at the launch event at the Kampala Serena Hotel. 

With the ever increasing urbanization and industrialization, rapid change in lifestyles, Uganda’s waste challenge has grown in leaps and bounds. There are many urban authorities grappling with huge volumes of both organic and inorganic waste that is poorly disposed-off. On average there is about 2,500 tons of waste generated in Uganda on a daily basis with only about 10% of this waste disposed of in a safe manner. 

Geocycle aims to provide the entire waste management process from collection, transportation, segregation, auditing, as well as disposal in a process that does not require waste to be disposed-off in landfills. 

“Geocycle will collect waste directly from municipalities, industries, oil and agricultural companies, pre-process it in its waste management platforms and co-process (or reuse) in the cement kilns. Currently, Geocycle collects, segregates and incinerates agricultural waste in the Hima cement kilns,” adds Tinkasimiire. 

Geocycle contributes to the Lafargeholcim’s sustainability ambitions (the 2030 Plan) which targets to use 80 million tons per year of resources from waste by 2030. 58% of fuel used in Hima Plant in Kasese is from agricultural waste. 

Speaking at the launch, Daniel Pettersson, the Hima Cement Country CEO said: “For almost 10 years now, Hima Cement plant has been using biomass to fuel its cement kilns and dryer. These include coffee husks, rice husks, bagasse, palm kernels and sawdust which acts as a replacement for fossil fuels. Today, over half of the thermal energy for the kiln comes from biomass rather than heavy furnace oil which means a reduction in CO2 emissions by 70,000 tons annually.” 

“We believe in a future without waste; our dedicated experts work persistently toward this goal. We take the extra step to solve waste challenges for our customers and society as a whole. State-of-the-art technology, tailored processes and in-depth expertise enable us to provide sustainable, safe and reliable answers to society’s waste challenges,” he explained. 

The launch of this initiative will further enable Hima Cement improve its energy efficiency by re-purposing other forms of waste and also contribute further to Hima Cement’s objective to reduce its carbon footprint. Olivier Doyen, the Head of Geocycle in Sub-Saharan Africa disclosed that currently, Geocycle has 85 waste treatment platforms and provides fuel for 180 cement kilns.

“When you dump your waste, you do not know what happens to it after you dispose it off. It can actually turn out to be an environmental hazard. Geocycle means we do not produce any residue at the end of the process and do not release any gases into the atmosphere.” 

Geocycle Uganda is already engaging with Fort Portal Municipality which produces approximately 100 tons of waste per day and is in close proximity to the Hima plant in Kasese. 

“Our strategy shall involve partnering with the urban authorities so that we manage the waste on their behalf. From there we shall spread to other parts of the country including Kampala, where the waste generated per day is in the region of 800 tons,” disclosed Tinkasimiire. 

Waiswa Arnold, the Director of Environmental Monitoring and Compliance at the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) lauded the launch of Geocycle saying the solution will help many municipalities whose waste management processes remain an unfunded priority. 

“Many local authorities do not have enough capacity to collect and dispose off waste. Waste is certainly is a big challenge. When uncollected, especially urban centers leads to flooding, contamination of water sources thus leading to diseases. NEMA welcomes the Geocycle initiative which aims to have zero-waste future.” 

Globally, Geocycle preserves land equivalent to the size of 85 football fields annually, processes 14 million tons of waste materials worldwide leaving no residues and prevents greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that produced by 250,000 cars. It also saves energy equivalent to that of heating 180,000 households by processing waste from municipal sources.

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