Power developments in Africa, November 2014

October 22nd, 2014, Published in Articles: Energize


Botswana renews diesel contract

APR Energy says its existing 70 MW diesel power module contract in Botswana has been extended for a further 12-month period. The company has successfully supported the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), the national electric utility, through the provision of its turnkey diesel power modules since late 2009, when it was appointed to counteract electricity shortages driven by demand growth and supply constraints in the southern Africa region. The announcement reflects its leading industry position in the region with 800 MW of installed power capacity on the continent. APR’s 70 MW facility in Francistown has been a key component of Botswana’s power generation infrastructure for four years, filling a critical gap in the country’s drive toward permanent energy sufficiency. www.aprenergy.com

Djibouti looks to renewable power

Djibouti, a small country on the horn of Africa with less than one million citizens, has a peak electricity demand of about 70 MW. Most of its electricity needs are imported via HV transmission interconnection from neighbouring Ethiopia. In order to promote self-reliance in these energy matters, Djibouti has launched a US$30-million programme to develop its geothermal resources. The project will be funded by, among others, the African Development Bank, with work starting in 2015. In the first phase, four wells will be drilled and the steam used to power generators producing an expected output of about 50 MW. The second phase is hoped to produce another 50 MW. www.djpl.org

Ethiopia hydro project under threat

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a 6000 MW hydropower project, has an uncertain future. The huge dam is being built on the Blue Nile River, the Nile’s main tributary, causing Egypt to suspect that it might reduce the volume of water coming down the river. Historically, the Nile provided almost all of Egypt’s water. For millennia, Egypt has been one of the most powerful countries along the length of the Nile, and has enjoyed almost complete control over the river. Recent attempts to prolong these rights into the future have been rejected by Ethiopia, and the two countries have been unable to reach agreement. www.renewableenergy.com

Ghana to get largest solar plant

Mere Power Nzema, an independent generation company, is to build a 155 MW peak solar PV plant in Ghana, to complement the nation’s energy needs. The solar project could be one of the largest in Africa. The Ghanaian government recently passed a renewable energy law and a programme to achieve a total installed generation capacity of 5000 MW within the next few years.  It believes the provision of reliable, sustainable and accessible energy is a critical condition for industrial take-off and growth. Oil and gas revenues have given Ghana’s economy a temporary advantage by providing the resources for the country to achieve real growth in agriculture and light industry. www.ghana.gov.gh

Kenya to launch geothermal plants

Kenya is preparing to put two geothermal power plants into operation, says Davis Chirchir the country’s cabinet secretary for energy and petroleum. The Olkaria I and IV geothermal plants will generate about 140 MW each, according to reports. Producing electricity with geothermal steam is cost-effective, as there are no fuel costs as with fossil fuel or nuclear plants. As a result, the plants should lead to a reduction in the cost of electricity, partly by increasing competition in the power industry. Chirchir says that power costs could fall by up to 60% in Kenya, which wants to boost power production capacity from the current 1712 MW to 5000 MW, using geothermal and wind. www.energy.co.ke

Malawi opens new power plant

The US$55-million Kapichira II hydro-electric plant in the southern district of Chikhwawa in Malawi was opened by President Joyce Banda recently. This development adds 64 MW to the national grid, bringing total nominal capacity to 351 MW. Malawi’s control system has a forecast peak demand of 350 MW, so there is no reserve. The government hopes the latest addition will curb blackouts and satisfy a growing appetite for energy in the east African country. By next year, however, demand is expected to reach 571 MW. The national energy corporation, Escom, says its generation capacity suffers from ageing equipment and siltation in the Shire River, where the major hydro-electric power stations are located. www.escom.mw

Mauritius uses sea water for cooling

The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) has approved a US$1-million grant to Sotravic for the development and installation of a sea water air conditioning system in Mauritius, a low-carbon technology which lowers building cooling costs using cold ocean water. It will contribute to an annual reduction of 40 000 tons of CO2 emissions. It will also be the first such project in Africa with a high demonstration effect for other coastal cities on the continent. When completed, the project will replace energy-intensive traditional air conditioning systems in buildings currently consuming the equivalent of 30 MW of electricity with a system that requires only 4 MW of electrical power. www.sotravic.net

Zimbabwe to get coal-fired plant

A 2200 MW thermal power station is among the projects planned to follow the development of a new coal mine in Zimbabwe. Subject to some conditions, China Africa Sunlight Energy has been given environmental permission to start work on at its Gwayi concessions in Matabeleland North. The environmental impact assessment (EIA) certificate says the company may start work on its $2,1-billion mining project which would eventually include a coal-fired thermal power station, a gas extraction plant and a coal brick factory, among others. The coal mine is expected to produce 300-million metric tons of thermal coal a year. A coking coal plant and a coal washing plant are also planned. www.ccs.org.za


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