Power developments in Africa, Jan/Feb 2014

February 13th, 2014, Published in Articles: Energize


Botswana explores more thermal

The Botswana government has invited bids to develop a new 300 MW coal-fired power station. Australian mining company, African Energy, wants to win the deal, using its Sese coal project, 50 km south of Francistown, Botswana’s second biggest city in the northeast. The Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources says it wants the project to deliver power into the national grid as early as 2016 and no later than 2019. In 2013 Botswana was hit by perennial power cuts after its 600 MW power station at Morupule B, scheduled for the end of 2012, was delayed. With an estimated 212-billion t of coal reserves, Botswana aspires to be a power exporter. www.mmewr.gov.bw

Guinea buys diesel power

EDG, the state-owned power supplier to Guinea, has contracted Aggreko to supply 50 MW of emergency electricity. This is an attempt by government to stop rolling power cuts that have led to street protests. The deal, initially scheduled to last for six months, will cost Guinea $10-million and hopefully enable the west-African country to fix other thermal and hydro power stations currently in need of repair. Aggreko provides power in other countries in the region, including Senegal, Niger, Cameroon and Ivory Coast, from mobile generators. These are usually driven by large diesel engines, which, although comparatively expensive to run, are quick to set up and synchronise with the grid. www.aggreko.com

Burkina Faso plans power stations

The World Bank has approved a US$50-million credit to Burkina Faso to improve access to electricity in the cities and the use of renewable energy in some rural areas. The funding is aimed at the country’s electricity sector support project, underpinning the government’s strategy for accelerated growth and sustainable development between 2011 and 2015. The project calls for the construction of two 7,5 MW power stations in Fada N’gourma and Ouahigouya, two cities in remote areas of Burkina Faso which are showing fast-growing economies. The World Bank says Burkina Faso has a 14% electrification rate and electricity demand growing at nearly 10% a year. www.afdb.org

Ghana projects funded by AFD

Yves Boudot, Director of Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) for Africa, says his office will continue to finance power projects in Ghana. Boudot says the AFD has demonstrated that efficient public companies can have access to direct international financing without state guarantee. AFD is financing the reinforcement and extension of the power grid in Northern Ghana and Burkina Faso, which will allow the Ghanaian national electricity transmission company, GRIDCO, to scale up development in the region. Financing the rehabilitation of the Kpong hydro power plant will continue, and plans are in place to provide support for other projects. Ghana’s quest to achieve 5 GW power generation capacity is reportedly on course. www.ghana.gov.gh

Nigeria buys gas turbine

Ughelli Power is a gas fired thermal power plant acquired by Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) in the first round of the Federal Government’s privatisation of power generation assets formerly owned by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). Ughelli Power is situated in Delta State and has an installed capacity of approximately 900 MW. It currently supplies about 8% of the electricity in the Nigerian national grid. Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) in conjunction with UBA Bank and FCMB and Fidelity Bank has provided a US$215-million debt financing facility for the acquisition. The aggregate commitment of AFC for the acquisition is $55-million. Nigeria commenced restructuring and reform of its electricity sector in 2000. www.africafc.org

Zambian Kansanshi copper mine project

ABB has won a turnkey contract to build a new substation and refurbish and upgrade an existing substation at First Quantum Minerals’ Kansanshi copper mine. Near Solwezi, the capital of the North-Western Province of Zambia, the new substation will be a main link in a new 330 kV transmission ring linking the capital Lusaka and the Copperbelt area.  It could improve power quality in the Zambian network, which has showed signs of strain. ABB said the project included design, engineering, supply and installation, using technology that featured HV and MV air-insulated switchgear, and power transformers meeting IEC 61850 standards. The company would also supply telecommunications systems with PV-powered repeater stations. www.abb.co.za

Zimbabwe eyes mini-hydro

Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) a subsidiary of Zesa, is considering a 30 MW mini-hydro plant near Gairezi in Nyanga. ZPC, which houses Zesa’s generation facilities, obtained a licence for the project in 2012. The US$100-million project is expected to take about three years to complete. The necessary EIA is already in progress. At present Zimbabwe generates about 1200 MW at peak, notably less than its 2200 MW average demand. The resultant power deficits impact negatively on industrial performance and the economy. ZPC is reportedly also considering refurbishing and reactivating its thermal power plants at Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati, replacing the current boilers with new circulating fluidised bed technology. www.zpc.co.zw

Rwanda power and water projects

The government of Rwanda has unveiled two major projects in the eastern province of the landlocked central African country. The US$15-million clean water project is projected to supply potable water to about 50 000 citizens in the Ngoma and Kirehe areas. At the same time, a US$30-million project to rehabilitate, expand and upgrade a transmission substation at Musha, boosting the usable voltage from 70 kV to 110 kV, was announced. This is viewed as a start to a programme to address poor quality of supply and frequent outages on the system. Rwanda hopes to provide access to electricity to about 70% of its citizens by 2017. www.gov.rw

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