Power developments in Africa, June 2019

PV-diesel project for Senegal

A German company is to supply seven PV-diesel hydrid systems in remote Senegalese locations. The plants will enable Senegal to supply power to 140 000 people and avoid 19 kt CO2 emissions per annum. It will be part of a 26,8-million investment financed by the German bank, KFW and Senelec, Senegal’s national electricity supply company. The project sites will be spread over four large regions: The Saloum Islands, the Thies region in the western part of the country, and the Tambakounda and Kolda regions in the east.

Grid updates to increase accessibility

More than 80% of Ghanaians now have access to a reliable supply of electricity. This development has resulted in an improvement in citizens’ lives, with new job opportunities, an increase in industrial development and an improvement in the country’s balance of payments. By continuously upgrading and extending the grid and introducing modern systems which comply to relevant ISO standards, Ghana’s Gridco is ensuring that the country’s industrial, commercial and residential consumers are supplied with a reliable supply of affordable electricity.

IPPs to sell power to large users

Namibia wishes to secure NamPower amid competition from distributed power providers and reduce reliance on imports, which currently account for about half of the country’s power consumption. In early May, the Ministry of Mines and Energy published its Electricity Supply Industry Market Framework, which will allow independent power producers (IPPs) to sell directly to large customers. The framework was approved by cabinet in mid-April and the Electricity Control Board (ECB) is drawing up rules which will come into effect in September.

Africa’s first “green” city under development

Rwanda is to build Africa’s first green city. The city is to have environmentally-clean mini-factories, all-electric vehicles and be powered by renewable energy. Two projects are currently under development: Cactus Green Park, a housing development with 410 houses on 13 ha of land; and a larger development on 125 ha. The projects are funded by the country’s Green Fund underwritten by the German Development Bank. These projects will be replicated in other parts of the country in coming years.

East African pipeline to be constructed

The governments of Ethiopia and Djibouti have signed a deal to build a 765 km pipeline to transport gas from the landlocked state to Djibouti, partly bordered by the Red Sea. The pipeline is expected to transport up to 12-million m3 of gas from the Ethiopian hinterland to the coast where a 3 mtpa LNG plant and export terminal is to be constructed. The deal comes more than 40 years after Ethiopia found extensive gas deposits in its south eastern Ogaden Basin.

Hydropower project nears completion

Ethiopia’s Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is nearing completion. The project is located about 500 km north west of the capital Addis Ababa. At completion, the dam will be the largest in Africa: 1800 m long, 155 m high and with a total volume of 74 000-million  m³. Two power stations, positioned on the right and left banks of the river, comprise 16 Francis turbines with a total installed power of 6000 MW and estimated production of 15 000 GWh per year.

Seeking to reduce ballooning debt

Zambia’s state power utility Zesco is seeking to renegotiate its power purchase agreements with independent power producers (IPPs) in an effort to curb its ballooning debt. At end-April 2019, the utility owed IPPs about $680-million, and the company says low power tariffs mean it has little hope of reducing the burden. Although Zesco had sought to raise tariffs to address its debt, President Edgar Lungu has directed that the power utility’s application for a tariff increase be suspended.

Solar power projects to be increased

Ethiopia has expanded the recently launched Request for Pre-Qualification for solar projects from 500 to 750 MW. Interested parties need to submit their application by 9 July 2019. Prospective bidders which have already registered are not required to do so again and have the right to include the two new projects. This tender represents round two of the World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar programme. Round one took the form of a 250 MW solar tender that is yet to announce a winner.

Cameroon’s new hydropower plant

Construction work is under way on a 30 MW hydropower plant at the Lom Pangar Dam as Cameroon’s Electricity Development Corporation (EDC) seeks to improve power supply. While the main purpose of the Lom Pangar project is to regulate the flow of the Sanaga River to reduce the seasonal variability of water flow, the hydropower plant, being built downstream of the regulating gravity embankment dam, will use regulated water flows to generate cheaper and cleaner power for local communities.

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