Power developments in Africa, April 2018

Construction begins on 57 MW 

Construction has started on the 57 MW Western Area Power Generation Project in Sierra Leone. The power plant is located in the Kissy Dock area, 4 km east of Freetown. BB Energy, an independent energy trading company, will provide HFO under a 15-year fuel supply agreement and electricity will be sold under a 20-year power purchase agreement with EDSA, the Sierra Leone state owned utility, and the Government of Sierra Leone. Two expansions of the plant to 128 MW are envisaged but have not yet been planned.


Mini-grids in Rwanda

Energy 4 Impact will include community members in the development and operation of mini-grids in Rwanda. Under the Sida-funded Scaling Off-Grid Energy in Rwanda programme, community-owned cooperatives will join forces with mini-grid developers to construct pico-hydro grids at ten sites across Rwanda, providing clean energy access to 7500 people. Initially, the mini-grid will connect 300 households, six grocery stores, three churches, two schools, a healthcare facility and an office to the power before expanding. Energy 4 Impact is supporting 30 pico-hydro developers in Rwanda to set up power plants through grant financing and technical support.


Two hydropower plants in Morocco

Alten Africa will develop the biggest PV power plant in Namibia and sub-Saharan Africa (outside South Africa), with installed capacity of 45,5 MW. The plant will occupy a land area of 100 ha and is located in the Mariental municipality, 230 km south of the capital, Windhoek. The plant will have around 140 000 crystalline silicon panels mounted on solar trackers to feed clean electricity into Namibia’s national grid.


Guinea to sell hydropower

China’s EximBank has approved $1,3-billion in financing for a 450 MW hydroelectric plant in Guinea to enable it to export electricity to neighbouring countries. State-owned EximBank first agreed to fund construction of the Souapiti dam, about 50 km outside the capital Conakry, in 2007 but the project did not get off the ground as Guinea experienced a period of political instability. China Water Electric (CWE) began building the dam in December 2015, and the government said at the time it expected construction to take about five years.


Work on Kenyan transmission line continues

The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Ketraco plans to complete the much delayed Loiyangalani-Suswa transmission line by June this year. The company says the 428 km 400 kV line is more than 70% complete and required the erection of 182 transmission towers. The main contractor Grupo Isolux Corsan of Spain filed for bankruptcy early last year, dealing the project a major blow. On completion, the transmission will transport the green power generated by the Lake Turkana Wind Power project to the national grid.


Off-grid solar systems

The European Investment Bank has approved US$25-million for d.light design to design solar kits which are easy to use and inexpensive for users thanks to a pre-payment system. Emphasis will be placed on rural and suburban populations and micro-entrepreneurs. This EU financing will enable d.light design to develop the installation of solar kits – including not only panels and lamps but also low-energy equipment in sub-Saharan Africa with the ambitious goal of reaching 10-million solar installations within five years.


Power-as-a-service in Nigeria

Rensource, a Lagos-based distributed energy provider, has raised US$3,5-million to grow its power-as-a-service renewable energy business. The funds will be used to expand the Nigeria operations into Kano and Abuja. The investment will also allow the company to launch a new service to enable businesses in Nigeria to leverage Rensource’s infrastructure to pursue energy independence. The tiered, subscription-based energy service offers clean, seamless power, freeing households and businesses from unreliable public energy providers and toxic diesel generators. The funding positions Rensource for profitable growth in the Power-as-a-Service renewable energy market in West Africa.


Waste-to-energy in Ghana

Armech Africa, a designer and manufacturer of modern industrial processes will construct a 60 MW power plant through the incineration of 3000 t of waste produced daily in Accra, Ghana. The waste-to-energy power plant will be financed by the Armech Group via the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, without any sovereign guarantee from the Ghanaian government. Energy China, one of the world’s largest suppliers of electrical solutions, will construct the facility.


Solar park inaugurated

The first phase of Egypt’s Benban solar park in Aswan has been inaugurated. The park is said to be the largest in the world with 1,8 GW total capacity. The first phase is Infinity Solar’s 50 MW power plant, which is the first of a total of 41 for the park. The Benban project was allocated a 37 km2 plot and is set to be completed by mid-2019. The 41 projects will be connected to the Egyptian high-voltage network through four new substations, which will connect to an existing 220 kV line, which passes nearby the Benban site.

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