Power developments in Africa, January 2018

Largest solar farm in West Africa

The first solar power plant in Burkina Faso, and the largest in West Africa, was commissioned in November 2017. The project was financed by the French Development Agency and the European Union, and will produce about 5% of the country’s consumption. The cost of electricity to the final consumer is almost a quarter of that charged by the national operator on the conventional network. With interconnections to the surrounding cities of Ouahigouya (180 km north of the capital) and Gorcy (140 km northwest of Ouagadougou), thousands of families now have access to electricity.

Hydropower in Cameroon

The 420 MW Nachtigal Hydroelectric Project, a run-of-river scheme in Cameroon, has received a €150-million loan to help finance the project, which is expected to come online in 2022, thereby increasing the country’s electricity generating capacity by 30%. Nachtigal will bridge the energy gaps in Cameroon and the central African sub-region while reducing the use of fossil fuels, thereby making a positive environmental and socio-economic impact in the surrounding communities.

Egypt increases renewables

Scatec Solar and partners have achieved financial close for six solar PV power plants in Egypt totalling an extra 400 MW. The projects will be built in the Benban solar park in Aswan in upper Egypt which will be the largest solar installation in the world with a planned total capacity of 1,8 GW (870 GWh per year). Construction will start in early 2018, once customary governmental conditions under the renewables programme have been met. These plants will also support Egypt’s emission reduction targets.

Kenya’s last mile connectivity project

Kenya Power signed 23 contracts for the implementation of the Last Mile Connectivity Project (LMCP) funded by both the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank. Under the AfDB’s phase II of LMCP, 314 200 households will receive power from 5320 existing, and 1000 new distribution transformers across 47 counties. Intensive implementation of various connectivity strategies including the LMCP and the electrification project targeting informal settlements and low-income areas has seen Kenya Power’s customer base grow by 1,4-million new customers in the last financial year.

Solar PV in Zambia

The Agricultural Knowledge & Training Centre (AKTC), operated by the German and Zambian Ministry of Agriculture, has become even more independent from the volatile power supply in Zambia. A combined photovoltaic plant and battery system supplies the farm for up to 13 hours a day with 450 kWh of renewable energy for the irrigation of 90 000 m2 of agricultural land. The pilot plant consists of 260 solar PV panels with a total capacity of 86 kW and has a 160 kWh battery storage system.

New substation in Walvis Bay

The inauguration of a new substation in Walvis Bay, Namibia, increased the capacity of the regional electricity distributor, Erongo RED, to deliver electricity to key installations in the region. The project is a joint venture between Erongo RED and NamPower. It was constructed at a cost of more than N$570-million. The NamPower substation feeds directly into the substation of Erongo RED for local distribution and connects with other substations in the region.

Hydropower for Nigeria

Construction work on a 3050 MW Mambilla Hydro Power Plant begins soon. Construction of the plant was awarded to a consortium of three Chinese firms at a cost of $5,8-billion to be jointly financed by both the Chinese and the Nigerian governments. Private sector operators have started indicating interests in rendering services to start off the project, and proposals for the provision of insurance services as well as transportation services for all the heavy equipment were also being received.

Nationwide solar electricity for Côte d’Ivoire

The Lumos Mobile Electricity Service, a new, nationwide solar electricity service for Cote d’Ivoire, aims to bring power to millions of people. The service is paid for using mobile phone credit and is available to the roughly 10,5-million MTN Cote d’Ivoire subscribers, through a partnership between Lumos and MTN. Only around 40% of Ivorians are connected to the national electricity grid. The service has been available in neighbouring Nigeria since 2016, and is already supplying 250 000 with electricity.

Extra power for Madagascar

Siemens will fast track power generation in Madagascar to increase capacity by an additional 300 MW by 2019. Madagascar has 676 MW of installed generation capacity which serves 20% of the population. Opportunities exist to increase the installed capacity through hydropower and explore oil reserves to meet the targets set by government. One of the short-term initiatives is the installation of a 44 MW aero-derivative gas turbine for mobile power generation in Antananarivo.

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Source: EE plublishers

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