Power developments in Africa, July 2018

Power project nears completion, financial close

Ncondezi Energy’s integrated 300 MW power and coal mine project in Tete, Mozambique, is nearing completion. The company says its integrated financial model (FM) is ready for submission to Mozambique’s energy company and the mineral resources and energy ministry. The FM indicates that project economics can be maintained with more than 10% reduction in the previously agreed tariff envelope, which strengthens the commercial negotiating position of the project. The coal-fired project is expected to start delivering power into the grid in 2022.

Supporting off-grid projects for remote areas

The African Development Bank has approved a proposal to help Zola EDF Cote d’Ivoire (Zeci) to provide access to off-grid electricity to approximately 100 000 rural households with pay-as-you-go solar home systems by 2020. Zeci’s business model consists of selling solar kits, which meet international quality standards, under a lease-purchase agreement for a three-year period which will make it easier for low-income customers to access clean energy. The bank says this is in line with the country’s strategic plan for the energy sector.

Botswana won’t sell troubled power plant

Botswana has scrapped talks to sell the 600 MW coal-fired Morupule B power station to a state-owned Chinese company linked to the plant’s builder. The plant, which was commissioned in 2012 and built by China National Electric Equipment Corporation (CNEEC) at a cost of $970-million, has often broken down, leading to a reliance on diesel generators and imports from South Africa. However, power generation at the plant has improved in the last year due to remedial work and currently operates at about 81% capacity.

Power to an extra 2,5-million people

A British venture-backed company, BBOXX, which develops solutions to provide affordable, clean energy to off-grid communities in the developing world, recently announced that it has signed an agreement with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to provide power to 2,5-million people who reside in the cities of Goma, Bukavu and Kinshasa. The company says it plans to provide 20-million people with electricity by 2020. Through a vast network of shops and outlets, the company also provides hundreds of jobs to local employees.

Settling differences over Nile mega-dam

The leaders of Ethiopia and Egypt have vowed to resolve their differences over a dam Addis Ababa is building on the Nile River that Cairo fears threatens its water supplies. Talks over the Grand Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia’s $4-billion hydroelectric project, have been deadlocked for months. Safeguarding Egypt’s share of the Nile, its main source of drinking water and water for industry and farming, is at the top of Sisi’s agenda as he begins his second term in office.

Lake Kivu gas-fired power project

Symbion Power says it expects to begin preliminary work at its 56 MW methane-fired power project on Lake Kivu, Rwanda, in August this year. Lake Kivu is the only lake in the world that emits methane gas from the lake bed into the water. The gas is captured and injected into reciprocating gas engines in a power plant on the shore which produces power for delivery to the Rwandan grid system. The concession is for 25 years.

Support of renewable energy in Africa increased

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) reports that its programme to support African governments and utilities in procuring solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity from independent power producers (IPPs) has made significant headway in four countries, with construction of the first project under way in Zambia. The first $60-million project, which is being developed by a consortium comprising Neoen and First Solar has reached financial close and is in construction, while the second, being developed by Enel Green Power, is expected to close imminently.

Ghana wave project gains pace with local blessing

Ghana wave energy project, being developed by Seabased and TC’s Energy, is gaining momentum with a number of local permits and agreements already secured to support the scheme’s delivery. The developers say local content will play a key role for the delivery of the 100 MW clean energy scheme. TC’s Energy, a Ghanaian renewable energy production company which holds a power purchase agreement for 1000 MW with Electric Company of Ghana, will own and operate the wave plant.

Global utility turns to off-grid solutions

Engie, a global utility company operating in Africa, is working to supply off-grid power to Zambia as part of its commitment to supply power to 20-million of the 600-million African who have no access to electricity. The company says it will start construction on a mini-grid in Zambia following its recent success in Tanzania. The company, working with partners, offers a decentralised and digitally-enabled energy from renewable sources service, which it says will put universal access to energy within reach.

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