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.
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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The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme has started delivering financial benefits to the South African power sector and the economy on the whole, a recent study has shown.
A study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) states that the 1.6 GW of wind and solar power capacity commissioned by the end of 2014 helped save more than $450 million. With the payments to these renewable energy projects through feed-in tariffs at around $390 million the net ‘profit’ to the economy from these project is over $60 million.
Electricity generated from 0.6 GW wind energy projects and 1 GW solar power projects replaced 1.07 TWh electricity from diesel-fired power plants and 1.12 TWh electricity from coal-fired power plants. Renewable energy projects have thus offset more than 2 million tonnes of CO2e emissions in 2014.
Under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP) South Africa plans to source 10 TWh electricity from renewable energy projects based on a wide variety of technologies. Generation of this quantum of electricity would be generated from 3,725 MW capacity. The government plans to auction this capacity through competitive bidding.
1.85 GW of onshore wind energy capacity, and 1.45 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) power capacity will be auctioned by the end of the programme. Other renewable energy technologies include concentrated solar thermal, biomass, biogas, small hydro, and landfill gas.
The net financial saving of over $60 million is an excellent advertisement for the South African renewable energy sector which may see a further boost once the government introduces the carbon tax policy. Companies that would be required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the carbon tax policy would be able to fulfil their obligations by generating offsets from renewable energy projects which, as shown by the CSIR, would bring in significant financial savings.
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