Power developments in Africa, October 2014

September 29th, 2014, Published in Articles: Energize


Botswana opens new coal source 

The Minister for minerals, energy and water resources in Botswana has approved the transfer of title of the Mmamabula West prospecting licence to African Energy Resources. Analysis of extracted samples and geological surveys indicate that Mmamabula West contains 892 Mt of identified coal and 1541 Mt of “inferred resource”. This means that the area probably contains a total of 2,5 Bt of thermal coal, which could be significant for the country’s energy requirements. Recently African Energy entered into a potentially long term partnership with ACWA Power International, for power generation in Botswana that could also see the JV tender for additional projects in Africa.


Kenya’s  micro solar home system

The Energy Access Fund by Schneider Electric sponsored One Degree Solar, a company which designs and manufactures micro-solar products for low-income households and small businesses in Africa. BrightBox is a micro-solar home system which powers up to four light bulbs and radios, phones, and virtually any USB-charged device. The strength of this programme lies in the combination of Schneider’s research and development capabilities and local employees who know their own country’s problems and ecosystems. Answering the rural energy challenge is key both for the continent’s economic development and for the people who directly benefit from improved agricultural, educational and healthcare technologies.


Morocco wind project gets support

The African Development Bank (AfDB) says the Jbel-Sendoug (Khalladi) Wind Project in Northern Morocco has been awarded a grant of US$960 000 by the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA). The objective of this funding is to support outstanding preparation activities which are intended to bring the project to a point where it will be attractive to investors. Once this point has been reached, the project should be able to attract the equity and debt funding it needs. The Khalladi wind project is a 120 MW initiative led by the private sector which will be developed near the Mediterranean coast, 15 km east of Tangiers.


Mozambique develops energy resources

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a US$15-million loan for technical assistance to Mozambique. This loan aims to support the energy boom that the country is experiencing after offshore gas finds, exploration of large coal reserves and to develop the country’s hydro resources. Gas reserves offshore of Cabo Delgado Province show that Mozambique has one of the world’s largest gas reserves, while its hydropower resources are significant. Specifically, the loan will help to acquire the skills needed to deliver the various power projects and support the closure of three major projects: new transmission lines, Mpanda Nkuwa hydro and liquid natural gas trains.


Nigeria investigates blackouts

Nigeria, where only 40-million of its 160-million people have access to public power supply, has set up a panel to investigate the frequent power system failures experienced in the country in recent months. According to local media reports, Chinedu Nebo, the Minister of power, set up the 13-member ”Technical Investigative Panel on System Collapse” in Ajuba. The committee was given two weeks to, among others, determine the immediate and remote causes of system collapses and review all the collapses that had occurred from January to date. Nigeria has resorted to privatization to raise power generation and improve transmission.


SADC shares energy

Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia (Zizabona) have agreed to share power if one has a shortfall. Each of the four countries owns 20% of the Zizabona project while the remaining 10% is held by Eskom and Zambia’s Copperbelt Energy Corp. The power shortage within the region is serious. Namibia wants help from Zambia as drought has crippled its hydropower plant at Ruacana while Eskom has reduced exports because of growing demand at home.Namibia generates nearly 45% percent of its power needs and imports the rest. It already gets 50 MW from Zambia and wants nearly 100 MW more. It has asked Mozambique for 100 MW and Zimbabwe for 50 MW.


South Sudan distribution networks

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved grant of US$26-million to rehabilitate and expand the distribution networks located chiefly in the three main cities in Juba province, South Sudan, where only 1% of the population has access to grid electricity. The Power Distribution System Rehabilitation and Expansion Project includes a capacity-building component for the power utility, South Sudan Electricity Corporation (SSEC). The project consists of the construction of 145 km of 33 kV lines; 370 km of MV lines; the purchase and installation of 195 transformer stations; and 20 000 prepaid meters for connecting new customers. This intervention is the first donor-funded project undertaken by SSEC.


Zimbabwe infrastructure rehabilitation

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved the Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project Phase II (EPIRP II), granting a loan of US$17-million from the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund. The objective of EPIRP is to improve the availability and reliability of electricity supply through the rehabilitation of generation, transmission and distribution facilities. This will happen through the rehabilitation of the Ash Handling Plant at the Hwange Power Station and the power transmission and distribution facilities in the country. This involves the electricity supply to critical social infrastructure facilities and to the inhabitants of the seven targeted areas of Zimbabwe – Kwekwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mutare, Harare and Hwange. Together these areas house 5-million people.


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