Will Africa’s sunshine generate the power so desperately required to improve the lives of millions. Like the mobile revolution in Africa, will this renewable energy resource be the next attraction for big business.
Here is commentary on some of the latest renewable energy projects in Africa that NEPAD the agency responsible for African regional integration, infrastructure and trade which covers the Energy, Water, ICT and Transport sectors oversees.
2020 Targets of the African- EU Energy Partnership (AEEP)
African targets include the following deliverables for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency:
Africa and the EU will take joint action to increase both energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy in Africa by: building 10 000 MW of new hydropower facilities taking into consideration social and environmental standards; building at least 5 000 MW of wind power capacity; building 500 MW of all forms of solar energy capacity; tripling the capacity of other renewables, such as geothermal, and modern biomass; and improving energy efficiency in Africa in all sectors, starting with the electricity sector, in support of Africa’s continental, and regional targets.
Last year, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development in cooperation with other international agencies that also had a focus on renewable energy, set a target of 2020 for Africa to expand its renewable energy capacity as well as achieve universal access. Below are active projects that are contributing to make those targets a reality.
Nigeria seeks to enhance its renewable energy position
Nigerian Minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola, has announced the construction of the first solar power project in Nigeria which is the 1.2megawatts solar power plant in the lower Usuma Dam in Abuja. The project is aimed at boosting the country’s renewable energy position.
There is no doubt that the world is moving towards renewable energy as the fuel of the future, Nigeria is said to be endowed with all it takes to succeed in this venture, but until operators of the various segments of the energy sector start to think along the perspective of the Shell CEO who said that when one considers the areas of the world where energy demand is still expanding, like Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, there is an enormous opportunity.*Source: Construction Review Online
Nzema Solar Power Station – Ghana
Renewable energy company Blue Energy Group (UK) is planning to build Africa’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant. According to the company, its 155-megawatt Nzema project will boost Ghana’s current generating capacity by 6 percent and meet 20 percent of the government’s target of generating 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The $350 million scheme is set to be fully operational in 2017.
The project, which has all necessary planning consents (local, regional and federal), environmental permits and regulatory approval is currently being financed with a constellation of international lenders and DFI’s. The project has a valid PPA with ECG (approved by the regulator) and a binding connection agreement with Ghana GridCo to connect at transmission voltage into the West African inter-connector. Blue Energy expects to be seeking EPC proposals early in 2017 with a view to financial close in the fourth quarter 2017. *Source Blue Energy Group
Soroti Solar Plant – Uganda
Uganda has an electrification rate of just 18%. Accelerating industrialisation and continued economic and population growth in the region has led to a 7-9% per annum growth in demand for power.
The Soroti solar power plant is a 10MWp fixed-tilt solar PV power plant in Soroti, Eastern Uganda. Solar power projects require long-tenor loans and can experience difficulty in attracting long-term capital investors. EAIF provided Access Soroti with a US$5.35m loan with a tenor of 17 years. The project mobilised an additional US$14.2m from commercial and development finance sources. Grants were also received under the GETFiT programme, which EAIF has helped to develop, ensuring that the tariff for the electricity generated by Access Soroti ($0.11/KWh) remains competitive with other energy sources. The project sponsor, Access Uganda Solar, sells power to the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd under a 20 year Power Purchase Agreement.
Access Sorotit is the first industrial-scale solar project in Uganda and will assist in diversifying the country’s energy mix. The project will bring down the average cost per unit of electricity and reduce CO2 emissions by 263,355 tonnes per annum. Access Soroti marks the first major step in utilising the abundant solar irradiation of Uganda to address the country’s current electricity shortage and meet growing demand for sustainable, affordable power in the future. *Source: Private Infrastructure Development Group
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