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Norway’s development fund to double power investments in Africa

Norway’s state-owned development fund, Norfund, plans to double or even triple its investments in Sub-Saharan Africa’s power sector by 2020, its managing director said on Wednesday. Norfund is developing hydropower in sub-Saharan Africa in partnership with Norway’s power group Statkraft, and has teamed up with Britain’s development fund CDC to invest in Globeleq Africa, a power company with an ambition to add 5 000 MW of new capacity.

“We expect to double or even to triple the capital invested in Africa by 2020, depending on the projects,” Kjell Roland, managing director of Norfund, told a conference in Oslo, which included energy ministers from Ghana and Zambia. The fund, backed by the government of the oil-rich Nordic country, has invested more than two-billion Norwegian crowns ($248.85-million) in Africa so far, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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The fund is seeking to develop power projects in partnership with private investors, like Kenya’s 310 MW Lake Turkana wind power park, which will be the biggest wind park in Africa. “The project is on track to start producing power in 2016, and it should become a showcase for wind power in Africa,” Mugo Kibati, a chairperson of the project company, told Reuters. Lack of access to electricity is holding back economic development in many African countries.

“Power deficit is the biggest single issue for Ghana’s economy,” Ghana’s Minister of Power Kwabena Donkor told the conference. Sub-Saharan countries will need to invest $490-billion in power generation to reach 80% of electrification in 25 years, a study by McKinsey&Company showed. To bring investment into the power sector, African countries need to have cost-reflective electricity tariffs, clear regulations and a political will, said Adam Kendall, McKinsey’s head of power and gas in Africa. Currently only about a third of the population have access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in some countries, like Zambia, only 5% of rural and 26% of the urban population have electricity.

Source: Engineering News


 

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Eco-Tourism Meets Sustainable Architecture

Earlier this year a team of students from the University of Technology in Trondheim designed a very sustainable hut as part of a design- and building workshop. They were assisted by Rintala Eggertsson Architects and several others. The international seminar that the workshop was part of was focused on the future of eco-tourism in the Western Ghats region in India. And the main purpose of it was to find sustainable solutions, which would benefit both the local population as well as help preserve the environment in the region.

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To solve this problem, the huts the design team proposed would be built using only locally sourced materials and renewable energy sources. This has the multi-faceted purpose of creating a small footprint, involving the community in the building efforts, simplifying the construction and ensuring that maintenance of the buildings is easy and feasible in the long run.

The placing of the huts follows the local building tradition, namely a cluster of houses placed around a central, shaded courtyard that serves as a gathering spot. There is room for a couple of more houses next to already existing dwellings, or more could be built to form another cluster of buildings with it’s own courtyard. Also, more than one of these houses can be added together and create an even more urban setting, situation and space permitting, of course.

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The hut proposed by the design team also makes it possible for the local population to take part in environmentally conscious tourism. By renting the huts out they will make a profit, but it will not interfere with their traditional culture and lifestyle, as much as a more modern hotel would.

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Each hut is designed to function completely off-the-grid. They are all fitted with roof-top mounted solar panels, which is capable of taking care of the occupants’ energy needs. There is also a composting latrine, which produces enough biogas for one household. The huts are located in Karnataka, India.

Source: Jeston Green


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Benguela Current Commission receives strong support

The South African government hosted the Benguela Current Commission (BCC) Development Partners and Investment Conference at the Southern Sun Hotel in Pretoria on 4 December 2014.
Senior officials and members of the BCC Management Board from each of the member states attended the meeting, as well as members of the BCC Secretariat.

Representatives of the governments of South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Germany and Norway and representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also attended the meeting.

The objective of the meeting was to showcase the Commission as a tested contemporary inter-governmental institution that contributes tangibly towards sustainable development; demonstrate the BCC as a significant return on development partners’ and member states’ investments over the past 20 years; mobilise and secure the resources necessary for the long-term sustainability of the Commission, the achievements of the objectives of the Benguela Current Convention and the implementation of the Strategic Action Programme (2015 to 2019); and to coordinate and harmonise donor support, thereby avoiding duplication of donor efforts through partnerships and closer collaborations.

Outcomes of conference

  • The governments of Angola, Namibia and South Africa, their partners and supporters emphasised that the Benguela current large marine ecosystem should be promoted and protected as an asset so that the people of the region may derive optimal economic and social benefits its resources, while environmental threats to the health of the ecosystem should be mitigated.
  • The governments of Angola, Namibia and South Africa also emphasised the active role they play in the BCC, noting that they have contributed and continue to contribute substantial monetary and in-kind resources to the operations and functions of the BCC.
  • The governments of Angola, Namibia and South Africa further indicated their sincere appreciation for the funding and support their development partners have contributed to the development of the BCC.
  • The long-standing partners of the BCC pledged to continue their support for the positive regional cooperation that has been and continues to be a hallmark of the BCC.
  • The government of Germany pledged €8.9m to support a five-year marine spatial planning project.
  • The Global Environment Facility pledged $10.9m to support the further development of the BCC as an institution.
  • The United Nations Development Programme pledged its ongoing support to the BCC.
  • The Norwegian government reiterated its support to the BCC, saying it remains faithful to the organisation’s objectives.
  • Mining company, Namdeb, pledged its intention to collaborate and partner with the BCC.

Source: Bizcommunity