Power developments in Africa, September 2019

Solar project to increase access to electricity

Cameroon’s electric power utility has signed a memorandum of understanding with a consortium led by Scatec Solar for the construction of two solar photovoltaic power plants in the north of the country. The two projects include a 10 MW plant in Guider and a 15 MW plant in Marousa. The two projects are designed to provide 49 MWh of electricity. They are expected to be completed in 2020 and will probably cost €22-million. The project aims to increase access to electricity in the country.

Funding sought for large hydroelectric scheme

Nigeria is seeking a loan from China to build the 3 GW Mambilla hydropower generation plant on the Dongo River. Expected to commence operation in 2030, Mambilla will be Nigeria’s biggest power plant. The project is estimated to cost US$5,8-billion and will generate up to 50 000 local jobs during the construction phase. The facility will comprise four dams and two underground powerhouses having 12 turbine generator units in total. Each underground powerhouse will house six, 250 MW Pelton turbine units.

Largest wind farm in Africa planned

Kenya’s massive 310 MW Lake Turkana wind farm is part of the country’s power generation capacity growth strategy, which seeks to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. The US$680-million wind power project is expected to increase the country’s total electricity generation capacity by up to 13%. The country’s Garissa solar power and Ngong wind power projects increased its generation capacity from 1,77 GW to 2,7 GW earlier this year. Renewable energy projects are said to have saved the country US$77-million in diesel fuel.

Hybrid plant to power gold mine

Resolute Mining has signed a joint development agreement with Ignite Energy for the construction of a solar-HFO-battery hybrid off-grid power plant at its Syama gold mine in Mali. The new plant will produce 40 MW of power and will replace the mine’s existing 28 MW diesel-powered plant. Ignite Energy will act as an independent power producer to design, fund, construct, own, and operate the hybrid plant. The mine expects to save about 40% in the cost of electricity from the new facility.

Egyptian wind farm nears completion

The Gulf of Suez wind farm in Egypt is being developed by a consortium of three companies comprising Orascom Construction, GD France and Toyota. The 200 MW, 650 GWh project, located on the west coast of the Red Sea, is due for completion before the end of 2019. The project was financially supported by the European Development Bank, the European Union and the French Development agency. Electricity generated by the plant will be sold to the country’s electricity transmission company at a contract price for 20 years.

Hydropower project reaches financial close

The 14 MW Kikagati hydropower project, which is to be constructed on the Kagera River, has reached financial close. The first tranche of debt funding has been released to the developer, the Kikagati Power Company, which will own and operate the plant. Construction of the project is expected to begin soon. The project comprises a 300 m-long, 8,5 m-high dam and three 5,5 MW turbines. Uganda and Tanzania, which are separated by the Kagera River, will share the power generated by the project.

Small-scale renewables in Africa get a boost

The Clean Energy Fund, one of two multi-donor trust funds within the Climate Investment Funds, has approved US$20-million for the Facility for Energy Inclusion (FEI), a facility sponsored by the African Development Bank to provide sustainable financing for small-scale renewables in Africa. FEI is expected to contribute to the installation of about 600 MW of renewable energy projects in various African countries, to avoid emissions of about 30-million t of CO2 equivalent, over the next 20 years.

Another gold mine powered by the sun

The Fekola gold mine in Mali is to be powered by the sun. The mining company, B2Gold, says its 30 MW solar-HFO hybrid power plant will be one of the largest off-grid renewable energy-heavy fuel oil hybrids in the world. The mining company expects to be able to use solar power exclusively during daylight hours, saving about 13-million l of heavy fuel oil per annum. The project, which should be completed by late-2020, is expected to cost about US$38-million, with a four year payback, the company says.

Oil and gas exploration to attract foreign investment

Uganda’s second licensing round for the exploration of oil and gas in the country aims to increase international investment to fund infrastructure projects such as oil refineries, crude oil export pipelines, roads, industrial parks and upgrades to the country’s Kabaale International Airport. Uganda’s natural reserves are believed to exceed 1,4-billion barrels of crude oil and 500 bcf of natural gas. The country’s oil and gas industries are said to be performing well, with up to 88% exploration success, making Uganda’s oil and gas sector an attractive investment destination.

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