Power developments in Africa, April 2017


Two 17 MW solar parks for Burkina Faso

South African-based BioTherm Energy has been selected to develop two 17 MW solar PV plants near the villages of Pá and Kodéni in Burkina Faso, once the feasibility study has been concluded. The US Trade and Development Agency awarded a grant for the feasibility study to Société de Production d’Energie Solaire de Kodéni SAS. Tetra Tech, a consulting and engineering firm based in Pasadena, California, will conduct the feasibility study.

Solar project to complement mine power

EREN Renewable Energy (EREN RE) and its partner African Energy Management Platform (AEMP) signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with IAMGOLD Essakane SA gold mine to complement its existing heavy fuel oil power plant in Burkina Faso with a 15 MW solar farm. Located 330 km from Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou, due to its isolated location, the mine is currently off-grid and relies on costly and carbon-intensive diesel power. The 15 MW solar project will be commissioned by the end of 2017 and will decrease the mine’s fuel consumption by 6-million litres per year.

Peat-to-power project

A $350-million deal to finance an 80 MW peat-to-power project in Rwanda has reached financial close. The power plant, which is expected to increase installed capacity in Rwanda by 40%, will utilise the country’s significant peat reserves to improve the national generation capacity. The plant is being constructed in the Mamba Sector of Gisagara District, one of the most remote areas in Rwanda, and is expected to be completed within three years.

Liberian energy efficiency and access project

The project will improve access to reliable and cost effective services for households and public institutions in the priority corridors in Liberia (Great Monrovia, South East region, and BOMI region). The main project components include expansion of the distribution network in Great Monrovia and BOMI and connection of villages and towns in the South East region. Liberia has been affected by a civil war resulting in the destruction of infrastructure, a drop in local production and a sharp decline of its economy.

Feed-in tariff programme, Egypt

Egyptian-based Infinity Solar and Germany-based IB Vogt and Solizer, announced the financial closure of a 64,1 MW solar power project in Benban, Aswan in Egypt. The project was approved on 6 March 2017 under the first round of the Egyptian Feed-in Tariff (FiT) programme. The solar park will cover an area of
98,6 ha with nearly 20 000 solar panels mounted on a horizontal tracking system. The plant will produce 110 000 MWh/year. It is part of the Benban solar development complex which will have a total capacity of up to 1,86 GW.

220 kV transmission lines project

Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has awarded a contract for the erection of the Isang – Rakola 2 x 220 kV 80 km transmission lines to ensure a reliable electricity supply to Gaborone and its surrounds. The bidding process ended with Kalpataru Power Transmission Limited, a company from India, as the main contractor. The main contractor has total responsibility of timely procurement and delivery of the completed project to BPC. The project’s contract value is
P215-million, and P92-million of this is being spent on local construction and installation.

Construction begins on PV plant

Construction of the photovoltaic plant in the Bir Rebaa North field, in the Algerian desert has begun. The plant will supply electricity to the oil field, which is operated by Groupemen Sonatrach Agip. It will be a 10 MW facility which will connect and supply electricity to the national grid. The project is part of a collaboration between Eni and Sonatrach, established in a November 2016 agreement to cooperatively promote and develop renewable energy sources.

Construction begins for hydroelectric power plant

The construction of the 80 MW Regional Rusumo Falls Hydro-electric project in Rwanda began recently. The construction of the power generation plant is financed by the World Bank and the transmission lines to the national grids in the three countries is financed by the African Development Bank. The project will provide 26,6 MW to each of the beneficiary member states and strengthen the regional power interconnection between Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania. Construction will take three years.

70 MW extension of geothermal plant

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will support a 70 MW extension of the Olkaria I geothermal plant in Kenya by funding $122-million. The extension will include the turbine, construction of necessary wells, the steam gathering system and interconnection facilities. The expansion forms part of the Last Mile Connectivity Project which is a government initiative to ensure increased electricity access to Kenyans. The initiative includes ensuring that existing distribution transformers be exploited to the maximum through extension of low voltage network to reach households lying within transformers protections distance.

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