Power developments in Africa, September 2018

Gas-fired plant extended, converted

The Azito Power Expansion Project involves the expansion of an existing 288 MW gas-fired power plant located in Côte d’Ivoire, into a combined cycle plant, with the addition of a 140 MW heat-recovery steam turbine. The Ivorian privately-run power utility, Compagnie Ivoirienne de l’électricité (CIE), is the sole off-taker and will on behalf of the government buy all available capacity and energy produced by the plant. The project will use existing infrastructure to evacuate the additional power from the power plant.

Construction of new PV plant commences

Enel has started the construction of the Ngonye solar project in Zambia, the company has reported. This 34 MW solar PV plant is the company’s first project in the country. Ngonye is located in Lusaka South’s multi-facility economic zone. The contract states that Enel will finance, construct, own and operate the plant, the company says. The plant will be supported by a 25-year power-purchase agreement and is expected to generate about 70 GWh of clean electricity per annum.

Wind and solar plants for West Africa

Gigawatt Global is to install 800 MW of solar and wind farms in West Africa, beginning with Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria and the Gambia. The US’s Power Africa programme will be a lead source of funds for the projects but will also involve other development banks and investors. The funds are expected to have a split of 80% debt and 20% equity. Energiya Global will do the work on the ground. Project development is expected to kick off in early 2019, including feasibility studies, training courses and the signing of power purchase agreements.

Developments to meet Africa’s energy needs

Energy Partners says that Africa should not be viewed as one large power grid, but rather a collection of localised power distribution hubs using microgrids, powered by battery storage and solar- and wind-powered generation will meet the needs of many of the millions of people living in sub-Saharan Africa who have no access to reliable electrical supply. The losses related to high voltage power lines incurred over enormously long runs undermines the viability of such infrastructure.

Egypt announces nuclear site

Egypt has reportedly announced that El Dabaa, on the Mediterranean coast, will be the site for its proposed 4,8 GW nuclear power plant. The vendor is said to be the Russian state-owned nuclear company Rosatom which has apparently offered a US$25-million loan to Egypt to cover the cost of construction. It is understood that an annual interest of 3% will be applied to the loan and that repayments will only be expected ten years after the loan is made. The repayment period is said to be between 25 and 28 years thereafter.

Tender offered for new PV plant

The Zambian ministry of energy has announced that it will soon be calling for tenders for a 100 MW PV plant. Ten potential suppliers have been shortlisted, having been prequalified in November 2017. Possible sites for the PV plant are being considered by the minister of energy. The country’s electricity supply corporation (ZESCO) will determine which sites have sufficient grid capacity for the additional power. The process is expected to be completed in 2019 following an evaluation of technical and financial criteria.

Unstable oil prices make renewable energy an option

TH Energy says that unstable oil prices in recent months make renewable energy an interesting option for industrial companies in Africa. Many Africa companies rely on diesel-powered generators to power their businesses, but should consider renewable energy sources instead, the company says. As the cost of solar PV equipment continues to decline, replacing diesel generators with solar power makes financial sense for mines and industrial applications, the company says.

Partnership to light the homes of millions

Azuri Technologies has reported that it has agreed a partnership with Unilever to supply its Quad lighting solutions to millions of people in Kenya who live off the electricity grid. The solar home lighting system will be co-branded with Unilever’s Sunlight brand and offered through Unilever’s existing distribution channels. The system includes a 10 W PV panel, LED lamps and connectors for charging a mobile phone. A rechargable radio and torch are also included.

World’s largest CSP project

The world’s largest concentrating solar plant (CSP) is under construction in Morocco. The Quarzazate CSP complex’s second and third phases are underway and are expected to be operational by the end of 2018. The project is known as the Noor CSP complex. Noor 1 has three hours of thermal energy storage. Noor 1 and Noor 2 will add 200 and 150 MW of electricity generation respectively to the complex. The complex is apparently being built between the Sahara Desert and the Atlas Mountains.

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