Power developments in Africa, Nov-Dec 2018

November 12th, 2018, Published in Articles: Energize

Universal electrification becoming a reality

Kenya’s Lake Turkana Wind Farm is making the promise of nationwide access to electricity a reality. Electrification rates have reportedly increased from 28% in 2013 to 60% in 2017. The rate is expected to reach 80% by 2020. Lake Turkana Wind Farm is the biggest in Africa, with a generating capacity of 300 MW. The project, which took 15 years to build, was funded by the African Development Bank in cooperation with the Kenyan government, the French Agency for Development and the European Investment Bank.

Promise of electricity used to garner votes

Malawi could add an additional 3000 MW to its electricity network. Speaking at a rally, former President Joyce Banda said that the additional power would help to prevent the frequent interruptions in electrical supply which plague the country and hamstring its economic growth. Banda said that when she was the president of the country, she had managed to get 65 MW of generating capacity from the Chinese government, and that her People’s Party would find the additional power needed to stabilise the network.

Major investment in gas-to-power project

Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano and the chairman of the Qua Iboe Power Plant, says US$1-billion will be invested in the power plant which, once completed, is expected to add 540 MW of electricity to Nigeria’s national grid. He said the large investment in the gas project should attract other businesses to the Nigerian state of Akwa Ibom in the south of the country. He said that the project would boost the economy and create jobs for the region’s youth.

Geothermal project brings power to more Kenyans

Despite the region’s severe drought – which severely affects hydro-electric schemes – Kenya’s electricity system is growing, providing more and more people with electricity. The additional electricity is being generated by the country’s Mennegai geothermal power station which, by producing approximately 10 GW, supplies about 500 000 homes and 300 000 businesses with electricity. The project is said to have cost almost €400-million, almost half of which came from the Kenyan government.

Ethiopia to increase electricity tariffs

The Ethiopian Electric Utility has announced new electricity tariffs for its residential customers. The tariff increase will be implemented in four different phases, rolled out over four years. The incremental tariffs will have seven stages for household customers depending on their utilities and the amount of electricity they consume. The objective of the increased tariffs is to improve the quality of service and to make the service more accessible, the utility says. The increases are expected to come into effect before the end of 2018.

PPA signed with private generation company

Kenya has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Kenergy Renewables. This private company is to provide the national grid with 40 MW of electricity sourced from a solar PV farm in the north of the country. The project is expected to cost in the region of US$65-million and to provide electricity to about 50 000 households. This project, which is one of many in the country’s drive toward universal access to electricity, is expected to increase Kenya’s overall electricity generation from renewable sources to almost 80%.

Zimbabwean power stations to be upgraded

India has extended a UD$333-million line of credit to Zimbabwe for the upgrade of the Hwange Thermal Power Station and the rehabilitation of the Bulawayo Thermal Power Plant. Of this, $310-million will go towards the Hwange rehabilitation programme while $23-million will be used on the Bulawayo project. The Hwange Power Station will be upgraded to extend its lifespan by 15 to 20 years. The power plant has design capacity of four 120 MW units and having been commissioned between 1983 and 1985, its lifespan expired in 2016.

Namibian power generation to be developed

Namibia is set to fully embrace renewable energy technologies and move from being a net importer of energy and could even become an exporter of energy to other countries within the Southern African Power Pool. An engineering, procurement and construction contractor for a 120 MW power generation solution has been selected to optimise the country’s local electricity supply by integrating renewable energy sources such as wind, solar PV, energy storage and flexible generation capacity. This project activity is also expected to increase local employment opportunities.

East-African nuclear power project

Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) is calling for bids for potential nuclear power generation. KNEB has identified several sites where the nuclear power stations could be located and is seeking a company which will be able to identify the suitability of such sites. The organisation seeks to expedite the development of nuclear electricity in Kenya and aims to commission its first plant in 2027. Potential partners Rosatom, CGN, Atkins, and Kepco have all demonstrated their experience in the safe management of nuclear power plants.

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