SA farmers look to Africa

South African commercial farmers group Agri-All Africa (AAA) has announced plans to step up agricultural investments in 11 African “priority destinations”.

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These include Zambia, Nigeria, DRC, Angola, Mozambique, Malawi, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Namibia and Sudan.

In a position paper issued days after Agri-All SA client farmers met at Senekal Farm in the Free State to discuss ways to ensure the successful implementation of agriculture investments in the priority destinations, the group said the success of agro-investments would depend on consensus and cooperation between the respective governments and farmers.

“Featured in the meeting were current opportunities to make a difference in agricultural development and upliftment, as well as potential future. Focal areas of investment were discussed. The client-farmers, AAA structures including three board members, diplomatic representation, and agribusiness value chain representatives, including PB Projects, Senter360, and AFGRI were represented on the Senekal Farm discussing agricultural investment opportunities and how to minimise risk and create assurance into Africa options.

“Consensus was achieved that the cooperation among the key elements and actors are essential to reach proper managed and implementable projects that will change the lives of people on the ground inclusive of commercial viability for all stakeholders.

“Charl Senekal of Senekal Boerdery, as an AAA board member, expressed satisfaction as well as willingness to support projects that are processed through the AAA value chain,” AAA said.

The group said more South African farmers had joined it and expressed serious interest in setting out for new destinations, especially in West Africa where the prospects of profitable and secure agricultural investments have been buoyed by the recent appointment of Dr Johanne Kotze as AAA Director of Strategic Development Planning, as well as Johan Jonker, as Project Developer for Western Africa with special emphasis on Nigeria.

“The amount of interested farmers who are contacting AAA on a daily basis have increased to such an extent that the capacity of AAA must be strengthened, as well as to give support to the AAA platforms that were formed in Zambia, Nigeria, DRC, and on the verge of being launched in Angola, Mozambique and Ethiopia. “

Andre Botha, AAA Katanga, DRC, has stated his confidence in these structures is high as they approach business opportunities with a full social upliftment agenda which is deemed critical for sustainability of farming operations in Africa,” the group said.

Addressing the meeting, Zambian High Commissioner to South Africa, Emmanuel Mwamba, said South African farmers should take advantage of the absence of conflict, investor friendly policies, political stability and the abundance of arable farmland in Zambia to develop the agricultural sector.

“Zambia is one of the richest countries in terms of natural resources. We have huge tracts of arable land across a country of over 700 000 square kilometres, but unfortunately we only utilise about 10 percent of this. You can fly into Zambia today to register your company and within 24 hours the process would have been completed,” he said.

In Zambia, land and other immovable investments are guaranteed and protected against nationalisation or appropriation by the State through a Certificate of Registration issued to the investor in terms of the Zambia Development Agency Act of 2006.

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Cape Town to get Africa’s first green and car-free village

CAPE Town is set to become home to a R14bn green village thought to be the first development of its kind in SA and on the continent.

Swisatec, a Cape Town-based architectural and project management firm, will spearhead the project in Somerset West, which is nestled among some of the Western Cape’s trendiest wine farms.

The project will constitute an upgrade of the popular Blue Rock Resort, where construction is expected to start in August.

The Blue Rock Village will become one of the biggest mixed-use developments in Cape Town.

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Richmond Park, a multibillion-rand mixed-use property, is also being developed in Cape Town on a prime greenfields site in Milnerton, adjacent to the N7 highway.

The Western Cape government is also due to launch a multimillion-rand construction project of a mixed-use neighbourhood on the 22ha site in Pinelands of the former Conradie Hospital.

Swisatec, which has forecast that the project will take eight to 10 years to complete, said the village would be the first of its kind in SA and on the continent.

Plans for the mixed-use village include a multifunctional lifestyle centre, medical centres, boutiques, schools and colleges, nurseries, and restaurants and cafés.

Lukas Reichmuth, founder and director of Blue Rock Village, said yesterday that the project would be market driven, focusing on both the international and the South African markets.

Prospective investors can choose from flats in five different layout types for one-, two-, three-or four-bedroom options. Units started from €200,000 (just more than R3.4m at the current exchange rate), Mr Reichmuth said.

“Our apartments are designed to fit different types of individual needs. The development compromises 1,000 luxury apartments built on 40ha of land.

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“As the first pioneers of car-free living, our vision of Blue Rock Village is to enjoy the magnificent beauty and natural surroundings where you can experience the great outdoors,” he said. All parking will be underground and the developers plan to construct a helipad.

In keeping with the development’s proposed green ethos, the units will use A+-rated energy-efficient appliances and LED lighting, as well as a water management system, and solar power.

Francois Viruly, a property economist and associate professor at the University of Cape Town, said mixed-use property developments were growing in popularity because of their ability to create a “lifestyle”. However, he cautioned that there were risks associated with such projects.

“It is never easy to get financing for such projects, because you are asking funders to fund different types of risks. Also, such projects take time to complete and things may change over time … in other words, people may change how and where they want to live,” he said.

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African power investors get London invitation

KAMPALA, UGANDA – African governments wishing to attract private sector money to pay for new badly needed power projects are expected to send representatives for the Africa Energy Forum scheduled for London on June 22nd.

“Being in London, the world’s finance capital, will enable Africa’s growing number of power developers to showcase their businesses to decision makers of the world’s most prolific investment organisations from around the globe,” Shiddika Mohamed, the Group Director of EnergyNet Limited and main organisers of the talks said last week.

The Africa Energy Forum which is the annual global investment meeting for Africa’s power, energy, infrastructure and industrial sectors.

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The event is expected to bring together 1,000 investors, 500 public sector stakeholders, 300 technology providers, 270 developers and representatives from 70 countries.

According to a company statement, “The decision to move the forum to the UK this year, was taken to capitalise on the investment potential of the UK and promote the strong trade relationship between the UK and Africa’.

The last three forums were held in Dubai in 2015, Istanbul (2014) and  Barcelona (2013).

The African Development Bank (AfBD) says the entire installed generation capacity of Africa’s 48 sub-Saharan countries is just 68 gigawatts, no more than Spain’s.

As much as one-quarter of that capacity is unavailable because of aging plants and poor maintenance.

More than 645 million people in sub-Saharan Africa — roughly 70% of the region’s population — do not have access to electricity. If current trends continue, fewer than 40% of African countries will reach universal access to electricity by 2050.

This lack of adequate power supplies continues to be a major deterent for investment. Per capita consumption of electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) averages only 124 kilowatt-hours a year and is falling. The rate of consumption is barely one percent of that in high-income countries. If entirely allocated to household lighting, it would hardly be enough to power one light bulb per person for six hours a day.

This year sees the Forum hosted in London for the first time – at the new London Intercontinental O2 overlooking the skyscrapers of the Canary Wharf and the famous River Thames.

New for this year will be the Growing Economies Energy Forum (GEEF), running alongside the Africa Energy Forum. GEEF will host a day of open discussions between the governments and private sector from new energy markets such as Iran, Pakistan, Myanmar and Peru, as these growing economies open up for international investment following political and economic developments.

EnergyNet will also host a typically English opening night pub quiz party on the evening of 21st June featuring some legendary British culture and food, allowing participants to network in a fun, laid back environment before the formal opening on the 22nd.

Speaking in Washington last month, Power Africa coordinator Andrew Herscowitz (a United States government initiative) said: “There is absolutely no reason the entire continent can’t be lit up because there is the money, the technology and the desire to make it happen. People have to be more forward thinking, forward leaning and have competition to bring costs down.’

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South Africa leads with green building projects

New research has revealed that green building is forecast to double globally by 2018.

The results showcased South Africa as one of the top performers worldwide, reporting the highest percentage of green building projects currently under way. Even more impressive is the fact that South Africa’s commitment to green building isn’t triggered by regulatory requirements, as is the case in many other jurisdictions, but by ‘doing the right thing’.

Dodge Data & Analytics and United Technologies published ‘World Green Building Trends 2016’ this month, on which the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) was a research partner.

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The report states that respondents in South Africa believe the green activity so far is just laying the groundwork for an overall shift in the market. If this degree of commitment to green building holds, South Africa will be a leader in the global green market in the next three years.

The report finds that, internationally, twice as many companies are expecting their building projects to be certified green by 2018 – an increase to 37%. In comparison, respondents in South Africa indicated that 41% of their work is already green.

Outperformance continues

“South Africa will continue to outperform with almost two thirds of respondents expecting more than 60% of their projects to be green by 2018,” says Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) CEO, Brian Wilkinson.

Especially noteworthy is that South African green building is driven by an acknowledgement that green building is ‘the right thing to do’, rather than by regulations, according to the report.

“In South Africa, there is an absence of regulatory requirements – which, in countries like the UK, Australia and Singapore, are in fact the trigger for green building,” explains Wilkinson. It’s testimony to the work being done by the GBCSA.

The GBCSA certified South Africa’s first green building project in 2009. In May 2015, the council certified its 100th building project, and today, there are 167 certified projects.

“It’s a clear sign that green building practices are gaining significant momentum in South Africa, along with an acknowledgment that Green Star certified projects are not only world-class and innovative, but benefit people, the planet and profits,” concludes Wilkinson.

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South African mining sector faces a tough year

The global mining crisis, which has affected mining regions around the world, has also taken a heavy toll on South Africa’s mining sector. External pressures such as plummeting commodity prices, of sometimes well over 50%, have had a severe effect.  But these global pressures have been worsened by South Africa-specific conditions.

South Africa’s mining industry faces the additional impact of what is internationally considered a very poor and volatile labour relations climate, regulatory uncertainty, and tough and disruptive government safety interventions (Section 54s).

It has also felt the impact of Eskom’s load-shedding and sharply rising power costs, increasing limits on ready access to infrastructure, and an aging and maturing mining base.

The outlook for 2016 is muted to say the least. Although the mining industry has been provided some relief from a sharply weaker rand following the [former finance minister Nhlanhla] Nene crisis, as evident in the financial results of some of the companies which have recently reported results for 4Q 2015, few experts expect US commodity prices to recover in the year ahead. Platinum group metals have already suffered six to seven years of pain. Although several mine closures and capital curtailment have already had a modest impact on supply, further closures in 2016 are expected as difficult decisions have to be taken to bring sustainable margins back to the industry.

The ferrous industry (iron ore and manganese) has probably seen the most brutal price corrections and, structurally, has the weakest outlook as new mines coming on line globally operate at far lower costs than those in South Africa, while high-cost Chinese production tends to act irrationally due to heavy state support. South Africa, however, has unique quality assets and post the necessary heavy cost restructuring, should be able to sit out the storm.

Despite the more than halving of export coal prices, high quality key export mines seem to be holding up with the help of the weaker rand. Reduced prices have, however, highlighted the continued need for cost-effective infrastructure for bulk commodities. The Richards Bay line, for example, has managed to maintain volumes, although the far more expensive Maputo export route has essentially halted most coal exports.

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Mining companies have responded to pressures by reducing overheads and head office costs, often radically, with Kumba Iron Ore, for example, having reduced head office by 61% in the past year. As this proved to be insufficient to negotiate the current price crisis, severe cuts at the operational level were also announced recently.

South African banks, in general, have relatively broad exposures to companies active in the mining sector. Consequently, the global mining crisis is forcing most banks to critically re-assess and track their existing exposures, and proactively manage these. When, for example, company credit downgrades occur, risk management frameworks often force banks to reduce facility sizes to affected companies when they come up for re-financing. In addition, new projects able to attract bank debt funding also reduce substantially.

With commodity prices having declined significantly, few projects can meet funders’ risk management requirements. Essentially, lower cost projects should survive financially, while many higher cost producers will encounter financial difficulties. The restrictions on sources of funding as the crisis bites will act as an additional brake on industry capacity growth which, in time, should put a firmer floor under commodity prices.

Importantly, banks will focus foremost on the ability of companies and projects to generate cash in tough commodity environments.

However, South Africa’s regulatory, labour and investment mining climate imposes further questions on the reliability and predictability of these cash flows.

It therefore remains imperative to avoid the type of disruptive and radical industry upheavals seen in the South African mining industry over the past few years. Confidence is at a low, and if this results in further limitations on the ability of the industry to fund continuation and growth, the consequences will be far graver beyond the impact of the [commodity price] upheaval itself.

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Global green building is expected to double by 2018 as companies continue to invest in renewable technologies

According to a study (see attachment) entitled, World Green Building Trends 2016, Developing Markets Accelerate Global Green Growth, the percentage of companies expected to have more than 60 per cent of their building projects certified green is anticipated to more than double by 2018, from 18 per cent currently, to 37 per cent.

The anticipated growth will largely be driven by countries that still have developing green markets, with firms from Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, China and India reporting dramatic growth in the percentage of their projects that they expect to certify as green.

The study, from Dodge Data & Analytics and United Technologies Corporation, on which the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) was a research partner, features the results of more than 1,000 building professionals from 69 countries – including Green Building Councils and their corporate members, from architects and contractors, to owners and engineers.

The study identified a green project that is either certified or built to qualify for certification under a recognised green standard, such as LEED, BREEAM, the DGNB System, Green Star and many other tools.

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Other key findings from the report include:

  • Global green building continues to double every three years.
  • Brazil expects six-fold growth in the percentage of companies that expect to certify the majority of their projects green (from 6 per cent to 36 per cent); five-fold growth is expected in China (from 5 per cent to 28 per cent); and four-fold growth is expected in Saudi Arabia (from 8 per cent to 32 percent).
  • Building owners report seeing a median increase of 7 per cent in the value of their green buildings compared to traditional buildings (an increase that is consistent between new green buildings and those that are renovated green).
  • The most widely reported benefit globally
is lower operating costs. But around 30 per cent of respondents also consider documentation and certification providing quality assurance, education of occupants about sustainability, and higher value at the point of sale as additional benefits which are important in their markets.
  • The top sector for green building growth globally is commercial construction, with nearly half (46 per cent) of all respondents expecting to do a green commercial project in the next three years.
  • Reducing energy consumption continues to be the top environmental reason for building green (selected as one of the top two reasons by 66 per cent of all respondents), protecting natural resources ranked second globally (37 per cent), and reducing water consumption ranked third (at 31 per cent).

Terri Wills, CEO of WorldGBC, and who is interviewed as a thought leader in the study, said: “This study offers further evidence on the strong business case for green building – the growth of which is now truly a global phenomenon. Green building is playing
 a critical role in the development
 of many emerging economies, particularly as their populations grow and create a pressing need for a built environment that is both sustainable and ensures a high quality of life.

“Green Building Councils and their members around the globe will play a pivotal role in delivering this projected growth, and their leadership and expertise will be vital in realising the multiple social, economic and environmental benefits that green buildings offer.”

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Building the business: What waste companies consider before they buy

A look into the process of mergers & acquisitions

Waste Connections’ recent acquisition of Progressive Waste Solutions is likely to be the largest industry deal of 2016, according to David Biderman, CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA).

Besides being a huge move for Waste Connections, “In these types of large transactions, there often are opportunities for other companies to acquire divested assets … that don’t quite fit into the acquiring companies’ plans,” he said.

This is how mergers and acquisitions typically play out in the trash business. Companies snatch up assets when the conditions are right. They keep expanding and consolidating, which is a decades-long trend that began when Waste Management and BFI reared growing heads, went public, and used the resulting capital to accelerate ongoing consolidation.

The movement is gaining forceful momentum, especially this year. Already,Waste Management, Santek Waste Services, Advanced Disposal, Waste Connections, and Covanta, among others, have bought up assets. Michael Hoffman of Stifel, financial consultants at the table through Waste Connections’ big deal, projects the roll will continue as companies with a pocket full of money look to create critical mass and increase density for greater operating leverage.

Buyers leverage strategies from tapping into markets where a municipality controls the landfill rather than competitors, to penetrating regions where they can swim upstream as a bigger fish and keep growing.

Tapping into “disposal neutral” markets

When assessing a purchase, Austin-based Inland Waste Solutions looks for “disposal-neutral” markets, owned by the local government.

“If the municipality controls the landfill, I don’t have to worry about competitors raising my tipping fees. Or we make sure we will have a lot of options. Like in Memphis I have three disposal options; Waste Connections, Waste Management, and Republic own the landfills, so I can negotiate tipping fees,” said Inland’s CEO, Bart Begley.

Inland looks for synergistic value, whether through operations synergies or administrative synergies.

“For example, we will purchase a company with both commercial and residential hauling that overlap areas we service so we can save money by merging new routes into existing ones to reduce the number of trucks needed to serve all customers,” said Begley.

In Northwest Arkansas, Inland increased its route density and saved administrative costs because they had dispatching, customer service, and accounting operations in place to manage all services for both the new and old entities combined. That was part of the Deffenbaugh acquisition. It was in an area where Inland was looking to grow — an area where the Department of Justice forced Waste Management to sell off because the solid waste giant got too saturated in that region’s small container business.

“Northwest Arkansas is a tremendous market; they don’t have a lot of players. So a key component of our strategy was to build these routes, which accelerated our growth plan by six or seven years,” said Begley.

Inland’s revenue was $40 million as of the end of 2015. “When you look at what we bought last year, we are heading toward $50 million,” said Begley of the company that’s penetrated seven states.

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50 years of constant consolidation

“I describe it as having gone through six or seven major periods of public company expansion and then consolidation in and among those companies,” said Hoffman, explaining how the waste industry lends itself to consolidation because its operations are capital intensive and it’s a way to maximize investments.

“Now there are five [publicly traded companies], which will be four major ones with the Waste Collections and Progressive transaction: Republic, Waste Management, Waste Connections and Casella,” he said, though that figure will change soon if Advanced Disposal goes public, he added.

Hoffman said what is happening today is a meaningful narrowing of valuation differences between buyers and sellers; they are closer together on what they recognize as the value of a deal to each of them. Consequently, he said, “We see a healthy consolidation market in 2016.”

Aiming to be fully integrated

“You collect it; you transfer it; and you drive it to landfill and dump it. So you control waste from the curb to final disposal, capturing all of the profit margin. And that collection is [ideally] diverse with commercial and residential trash and recycling,” said Hoffman.

That’s how Waste Management has been doing collections for decades — inking deals that fit into the company’s existing empire.

“The assets we would look at as a priority would be … the ability to integrate effectively and to optimize and leverage [the deal] around our corporate capabilities to create additional value,” said Toni Beck, Waste Management’s vice president of communications and community relations.

Tightening regulatory requirements is also among drivers of buying and selling decisions, said Biderman. They require large investments in upgraded equipment and landfill design. As an example, he cited what he projects may be around the bend in New York City when haulers are required to upgrade trucks by 2020 to comply with more rigid emission rules.

“Carters will have to buy new trucks or retrofit existing ones. Either way you have to spend a fair amount and some may decide to sell rather than spend to upgrade their fleet. New York has the most collections in the country and many small carters will be impacted; it’s definitely an area to keep an eye on where more transactions could take place,” he said.

Corpus Christi, TXbased K2 Waste Solutions just came on line in 2015. The small independent collector recently acquired a residential hauling company in that city, marking K2’s entry into the residential market. “It gave us a thousand homes in a business that had been outside of our operational footprint. It was a good decision for us,” said K2 President Bill Killian.

“One truck and some containers, and you’re in business.” – Michael Hoffman

The company shoots for a revenue mix of a third in commercial, a third in residential, and a third in industrial.

“Residential and commercial generate a dependable monthly income, though construction contracts are a higher per ticket average and good money makers,” said Killian.

“Unless the major focus is landfilling, it’s hard to break a company,” said Hoffman. We have no choice but to deal with our trash. So usually if a company goes up for sale it’s because the owners want out, he said.

In Hoffman’s view, “If you want to be in the garbage business, if you can borrow money or already have it, you are in. One truck and some containers, and you’re in business.”

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As power crisis continue to haunt the Southern Region, Zimbabwe has joined other member states in an effort to generate electricity using wind by establishing a pilot project in Mamina (Mashonaland West).

Harare – The pilot project is meant to study the viability of generating electricity using wind in the country to avert power crisis.

Wind energy, which involves using air to turn turbines and generate electricity, is regarded as one of the most reliable, cheap, renewable and clean form of power that does not pollute the environment as compare to other types such as thermal. Energy and Power Development Minister Samuel Undenge said government was doing all it can to produce adequate power.

“We want to explore all avenues to produce adequate power for the country, wind energy included. We are already running a wind energy pilot project in Mamina to see how feasible it is if implemented in the country,” Undenge said. Experts contend that wind energy potential exist in most parts of Zimbabwe for wind pumping and other mechanical conversion systems, with utilizable wind speeds ranging from 2,6 metres per second(m/s)  to about 4 m/s.

Generally most parts of the country have a good wind energy resource averaging 3, 2 m/s all year round, good enough for wind pumping except areas around Kariba (Mashonaland Central). Areas around Bulawayo and some selected areas in the Eastern Highlands (Manicaland) have potential for power generation application since the most prevalent wind speeds range from 4 to 6 m/s.

These wind speed ranges have a high frequency and time distributions to give satisfactory power generation resumes.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has set itself a target of generating 20 percent of the region’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2025. Other SADC member states currently leading the quest on how to harness the vast wind potential that lies unexploited in the region are Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa Madagascar and Namibia.

According to the African Development Bank, Sub-Saharan Africa has the potential to provide more than 170 gigawatts (GW) of additional power using wind far more than the sub-region’s current installations

provided other forms, apart from thermal and hydro are exploited.

These are solar and wind. Wind farms are also relatively easier to construct – as it takes about twelve months to build one with a capacity to generate 100 MW.

Zimbabwe Power Company managing director Noah Gwariro said generating energy using wind was pollution free. “Wind energy is really something which SADC can turn to, South Africa and other regional countries are already doing it.

Of course in the earlier days it may distort the skyline, but people will get used to it,” Gwariro said.

Some of the current wind farms in Southern Africa include two facilities in South Africa’s Western Cape Province (Klipheuwel and Darling); various 21 kilowatts wind/solar hybrids in Malawi. A 10 MW pilot project in Chicumbane in Mozambique is also under development.

In addition, Belgian green electricity company, Electrawinds, has begun the construction of a wind turbine in the harbor of Coega, near Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The development is the first phase of a large wind farm that, in time, will comprise 25 wind turbines.

The first large scale wind farm in South Africa became operational in 2014, and others are in planning and construction stages.

Most of these are earmarked for locations along the Eastern Cape coastline. Eskom has constructed one small scale prototype windfarm at Klipheuwel in the Western Cape and another demonstrator site is near Darling with phase 1 completed.

In terms of future capacity building, wind power is expected to play a marginally bigger role in providing energy. Of the total new generation projects that came on board in Southern Africa in 2011, wind energy comprised 1, 5 percent.

This came entirely from a 25 MW project in the Lesotho highlands. In 2012 alone, 3,6 percent of new generation projects was wind power.

These included a 100 MW project from an Independent Power Producer (IPP) in South Africa and a 40 MW IPP project in Luderitz, Namibia. In 2013, a 40 MW wind project from an IPP in South Africa’s Eastern Cape made up one percent of the entire new generation capacity that came on stream during that year.

Despite the projects that have already been announced, South Africa was promoting 2,500 MW of wind power by end of last year. According to Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), compared to other parts of the world, wind energy generation in Southern Africa still has a long way to go.

The world’s top five wind energy producers are currently the United States (installed capacity of 35,064 MW), China (25,805 MW), Germany (25,777 MW), Spain (19,149 MW) and India (10,926MW).

Apart from generating electricity, wind energy can also be used to pump water for agricultural purposes among other uses.

Wind turbines use the wind’s kinetic energy to generate electrical energy that can be used in homes and businesses. Individual wind turbines can be used to generate electricity on a small scale – to power a single home, for example.

A large number of wind turbines grouped together, sometimes known as a wind farm or wind park, can generate electricity on a much larger scale.

A wind turbine works like a high-tech version of an old-fashioned windmill.

The wind blows on the angled blades of the rotor, causing it to spin, converting some of the wind’s kinetic energy into mechanical energy. Sensors in the turbine detect how strongly the wind is blowing and from which direction.

The rotor automatically turns to face the wind, and automatically brakes in dangerously high winds to protect the turbine from damage. A shaft and gearbox connect the rotor to a generator (, so when the rotor spins, so does the generator.

The generator uses an electromagnetic field to convert this mechanical energy into electrical energy.

The electrical energy from the generator is transmitted along cables to a substation.

Here, the electrical energy generated by all the turbines in the wind farm is combined and converted to a high voltage. The national grid uses high voltages to transmit electricity efficiently through the power lines to the homes and businesses that need it.

Here, other transformers reduce the voltage back down to a usable level. Wind power converts the kinetic energy in wind to generate electricity or mechanical power.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said achieving a 36 per cent share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030 has the potential to increase global gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 1.1 per cent, roughly USD 1.3 trillion.

“This analysis provides compelling evidence that achieving the needed energy transition would not only mitigate climate change, but also stimulate the economy, improve human welfare and boost employment worldwide,” the agency said recently.

The improvements in human welfare, IRENA noted, would go well beyond gains in GDP thanks to a range of social and environmental benefits.

The impact of renewable energy deployment on welfare is estimated to be three to four times larger than its impact on GDP, with global welfare increasing as much as 3, 7 per cent.

Employment in the renewable energy sector would also increase from 9, 2 million global jobs today, to more than 24 million by 2030.

Source: theguardian

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Recovering energy from waste can power Africa

Production of electricity from waste has the potential of providing up to 83.8 TeraWatt hours (TWh), which is about 20% of the electricity needed in Africa by 2025. This is according to a study co-authored by the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC). However, this requires stringent waste management policies to be put in place, and today Africa lacks the adequate infrastructure needed to install these environmentally friendly methods.

Like some other parts of the world, most of the waste in Africa is burned without tapping the potential of gases (which usually end in pollution) or dumped in landfills without protecting groundwater. Many of the developed countries that have a high percentage of waste to energy recovery, have strict emissions laws that regulate waste handling.

Waste in Africa, according to JRC, can be used to produce energy in two ways. The first is using Waste-to-energy (WTE) incineration plants where the trash is burnt to produce steam that turns turbines. The report notes that these are few in this part of the world because of the high initial costs of establishment. Strict measures are needed to ensure the plants do not pollute the environment via toxic by-products.

Although most of Africa buries or dumps waste that when decomposing releases methane and carbon dioxide gases naturally. These gases can be captured for heat or burnt in gas turbines, internal combustion engines, and steam boilers to produce electricity. This is the second method.

Waste energy recovery could act as one stone killing two birds because it provides power, and at the same time helps deal with the increasing waste problem in Africa. The continent is expecting  incredible growth in population and urbanization, which is to be accompanied with production of more waste. The reports points out that energy recovery from waste could help alleviate energy poverty in countries such as Central African Republic, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Sierra Leone, Rwandaand Somalia, which have poor access to electricity and low electricity consumption per capita.

The potential could be much higher since the 20% figure is based on urban waste calculations alone according to the report. Most of waste around the world is concentrated around urban centers.

A few projects already underway

Just recently, Cleanleap wrote about Africa’s first and largest Anaerobic Digester (AD) which will generate 2.4 MW of installed power that will be channeled to Kenya’s national electricity grid. It first converts biomass waste (organic waste being sourced from nearby farms) to biogas and then the biogas is burned to produce electricity and heat. In addition to using 50,000 tones of organic crop waste each year, it will produce 35,000 tones of nitrogen-rich matter as a by-product natural fertilizer. The first phase of the project is now complete.

My colleague also recently wrote about an Ethiopia’s 50-year-old towering mountain of waste Koshe being converted into power. Koshe Waste-to-Energy facility will generate 50 megawatts of clean energy by burning 350,000 tones of waste annually. It will help deal with the waste menace. Construction of the factory started last year and was to complete in 18 months.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are also partnering to see the first Omni Processor factory pilot project thatconverts sewage into drinking water and power. The first factory will be based in Senegal and, although it is fronted as a project to mainly reinvent the toilet, it will produce 150W of power and the success of the pilot project would prove that the solution can be duplicated all over developing countries. It involves boiling of sludge to high temperatures to produce steam, which is then used to run steam engines. Construction of the factory begun last year.

These are just but a few of the thousands, but yet insufficient, projects being pursued to produce power from waste.

The issue of power shortages cannot be re-emphasized and introduction of off-grid solutions is seen as helpful towards increasing power access. In short, in addition to bringing a revolution to how we generate power so much needed in Africa, waste-to-energy projects will also help deal with sanitation problem in developing countries, one of the largest problems facing many of these nations and which is still responsible for many health problems.

Source: cleanleap

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Meeting of SADC Ministers Responsible for Water

1. Ministers responsible for the Water Sector from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States met on 3rd July 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe to review progress and provide guidance on the implementation of the third phase of the Regional Strategic Action Plan on Integrated Water Resources Management and Development (RSAP III) 2011-2015.

2. The RSAP III is the framework for action to achieve the sustainable development of water resources in the SADC region through the development of water infrastructures on the basis of sound water governance and water management.

3. The SADC Water Minsters meeting was preceded by preparatory meetings of senior officials in the water sector and those from the Okavango River Basin Watercourse Commission (OKACOM), the Limpopo Watercourse Commission (LIMCOM), and the Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM).

4. Taking advantage of the presence of Ministers, the Ministers from the OKACOM and the ZAMCOM met on 2nd July ahead of the SADC Water Ministers meetings to clear and approve several strategic documents.

5. The meeting was officially opened by Zimbabwe’s Minister for Environment, Water and Climate, Hon. Saviour Kasukuwere who expressed gratitude to the honourable members of the SADC Ministers Responsible for Water for having accepted the invitation to attend the meeting.

6. Speaking on behalf of the SADC Secretariat, the Director of Infrastructure and Services Directorate, Mr Remigious Makumbe paid tribute to the ministers for their continued guidance to the implementation of the water programme.

7. Mr. Makumbe also paid tribute to all SADC cooperating partners and Member States, for their support to the regional water programme.

8. The Meeting was attended by the following Ministers responsible for Water and/or their representatives:

Angola: Hon. Luis Filipe da Silva, Secretary of State, Ministry of Energy and Water

Botswana: His Excellence Kenny Kapinga, High Commissioner to Zimbabwe

Lesotho: Hon. Lincoln Ralechate Mokose, Minister of Water

Mozambique: Hon. Carlos Bonete Martinho, Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources

Namibia: Hon. John Mutorwa, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry

Swaziland: Hon. Jabulile Mashwama, Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy

South Africa: His Excellence Vusi Mavimbela the Ambassador to Zimbabwe

Tanzania: Eng. Mbogo Futakamba, Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of Water

Zambia: Hon. Charles Zulu, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Energy and Water Development

Zimbabwe: Hon. Saviour Kasukuwere, Minister of Environment, Water and Climate

9. The Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Republics of Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, and Seychelles sent apologies.

10. In attendance also, were representatives from the African Minister’s Council on Water (AMCOW), ZAMCOM, Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASCEOM), OKACOM, Southern African Research and Documentation Centre I Musokotwane Environment Resource Centre for Southern Africa (SARDC IMERCSA), Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWP-SA), and WaterNet.

11. Ministers noted that the implementation of the SADC Water programme continued to register remarkable progress despite human resource capacity challenges at the Secretariat, and urged member states to continue facilitating the implementation of programmes that were lagging.

12. Ministers noted that three out of the 15 Programmes in the RSAP III did not receive resources to facilitate their implementation. The three programmes are on water quality and environment, economic accounting for water use, and assessment of surface water resources.

13. Ministers adopted the report on the Mid-Term Evaluation on the implementation of the RSAP III and the Protocol on shared watercourses which was conducted in 2014 by independent consultants. The report highlights achievements and challenges faced in implementing the RSAP III and describes the SADC Water Programme as a unique regional programme that helped to build and instil a spirit of cooperation in transboundary water resources management and development, and facilitated discussions and engagements between riparian states at the basin level, and across the region through water weeks and Multi-Stakeholder Water Dialogues.

14. Ministers reviewed and approved the draft structure and content of the fourth Phase of RSAP which is currently being developed, and directed SADC Secretariat to finalize the strategy in collaboration with the Water Resources Technical Committee (WRTC) members. The RSAP IV will run from 2016 to 2020.

15. Ministers also encouraged Member States to participate in on-going consultations on thematic topics to be included in the RSAP IV.

Consultations on issues to include in the RSAP IV have been on-going during the SADC National Water Weeks which have so far been conducted in 11 of the 15 member states. The SADC National Water Weeks are scheduled to take place during the month of July in the outstanding four member states.

16. Ministers also reviewed and approved the list of priority intervention areas for the water sector programme for the 2016/17 budgeting and planning year.

17. Ministers reviewed the status of implementation of projects in the various river Basins in the SADC Region, namely the Okavango, Limpopo, Orange-Senqu, Buzi, Save, Ruvuma, Zambezi, Kunene, Cuvelai, Incomati/Maputo and Pungwe, and commended the state parties of the basins for the progress made in implementing various projects.

18. On water projects in the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan: Ministers noted that the Secretariat continued to promote the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP) and its associated Projects through various means including investor conferences. Secretariat has prepared a list of priority projects from the Master Plan which are ready for investment financing and those that still required development and packaging so that they are easily accessible when promoting them to potential financers.

19. Ministers urged Member States to continue supporting the process of promoting projects to financers by availing information to facilitate project development, packaging, financing and subsequent implementation.

20. Ministers further noted that SADC Secretariat continued to support implementation of the Lomahasha/Namaacha joint cross-border water supply project between Mozambique and Swaziland. The project aims to provide sustainable water supply and sanitation services to the communities living in the border towns of the two countries.

21. Ministers noted that the SADC Secretariat and GIZ were exploring different avenues for funding support of the Member States to undertake construction of the water supply schemes once feasibility assessment is completed for the Lomahasha/Namacha project.

22. On Joint Cross border water initiatives: Ministers noted that the SADC Secretariat in close collaboration with the Governments of DRC, Zambia and Tanzania, was conducting a study for cross-border water supply and sanitation schemes for the border towns of Kasumbalesa (DRC/Zambia) and Nakonde/Tunduma (Zambia and Tanzania). The study which is supported by the German Government in delegated cooperation with Australian and UK Governments is scheduled to complete by the end of July 2015.

23. Ministers urged the participating Member States to continue supporting the project, and to consider setting aside some funds as contribution, since some of the funding sources were likely to require a certain proportion of country contribution.

24. On Regional Water Supply and Sanitation: Ministers noted that a two-year Regional Water Supply and Sanitation project that was supported by African Water Facility of the African Development Bank (AfDB) was successfully completed in September 2014. The objectives of the project included establishment of a collaborative regional framework for effective planning and management of water supply and sanitation to enable the Member States to improve the provision of water supply and sanitation at country level.

25. On the Kunene Transboundary Water Supply and Sanitation Project: Ministers noted that implementation on the Kunene Transboundary Water Supply and Sanitation Project, which is a SADC pilot involving southern Angola and northern Namibia slowed because of new changes in the project scope and urged the two Member States and SADC Secretariat to fast-tract the project implementation in view of the time already lost and the delayed benefits to the intended communities. The project entails development and rehabilitation of water supply and sanitation infrastructure for communities and towns in the project area. Another important component of the project is to establish and build the capacity of a water utility entity in the Kunene province in Angola.

26. On the SADC Hydrological Cycle Observing Systems (HYCOS) Project: Ministers noted the substantial progress in the implementation of the SADC HYCOS Project which was being implemented in collaboration with the SADC Climate Services Centre (SADC CSC), and directed the Secretariat to facilitate the speedy implementation of the Project and secure additional financial resources to support the implementation of the fully fledged next phase of SADC-HYCOS.

27. On Sustainable Ground Water Management Project in SADC: Ministers commended the Secretariat for securing a total of USD 10.2 million comprising USD8.2 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the World Bank and USD 2.0 million from the Cooperation in International Water in Africa (CIWA) Trust Fund to implement a five-year programme which will be a follow up to the SADC Groundwater and Drought Management Project that was piloted in the Limpopo basin from 2009 to 2011. The implementation of the Groundwater programme which will be hosted at the University of Free State (UFS) is scheduled to start as soon as recruitment of the Director to serve as a Project Manager is completed by the end of July 2015.

28. On Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Demonstration Projects: Ministers noted that SADC Secretariat continued to facilitate implementation of the IWRM Demonstration Projects in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and that implementation of the infrastructure components was already advanced in Lesotho, Mozambique and Namibia.

29. Ministers urged SADC Secretariat to assist the participating Member States to fast-track the implementation the projects to ensure that all activities were completed by the end of the project in September 2015, so that the communities benefit, and lessons learned be shared with other Member States in the region.

30. Ministers further noted that the SADC Secretariat was collaborating with the Climate Resilient Infrastructure Development Facility (CRIDF) to support the SADC Water Sector in implementing infrastructure-related projects in the RSAP III and as several small-scale water supply projects in member states.

31. On Capacity Building and Training Programmes: Ministers commended SADC Secretariat for contributing to the development of technical and other skills through post-graduate programmes offered by WaterNet, a subsidiary of SADC, and short courses conducted by the Water Sector.

32. Minister noted that 30 professionals from Member States and River Basin organizations were trained in November 2014 on Negotiation Skills in Transboundary Water Management and International Water Law, in addition to several short courses conducted by WaterNet and SADC Water Sector.

33. Ministers noted that during the reporting period WaterNet received a total of 339 applications for sponsorship for the 2015/2016 intake to the WaterNet IWRM Masters Programme, and that 28 scholarships with funding from the Dutch Government were awarded to nationals from all SADC Member States except, Angola and islands States as no applications were received. At least two scholarships were granted to each Member State.

34. Ministers also noted that most of the WaterNet graduates held hold positions in water departments in the member states and urged member states to make adequate budgetary provisions in their training and capacity building programmes to support at least one candidate from own resources to participate in the WaterNet Masters on IWRM Programme.

35. Ministers commended SADC Secretariat for developing a comprehensive Strategic Human Capacity Development Plan (SHCDP) which will also be mainstreamed into the RSAP IV. The SHCDP was developed with support from the German Government in delegated cooperation with Australia and UK governments and SADC Secretariat is currently mobilising resources to roll out the plan.

36. Ministers reviewed and approved the draft SADC Water Research Agenda, and directed the Secretariat to work in close collaboration with WaterNet and Southern Africa Network of Water Centre of Excellence (SANWATCE) to facilitate its finalization and implementation.

37. On Gender Mainstreaming in the Water Sector: Ministers noted that in-line with SADC policy instruments which required all SADC water institutions to integrate the principles, goals and objectives of gender mainstreaming in their administration and implementation programmes, a two-year project on Gender Mainstreaming in Transboundary Water Management was being implemented.

38. Ministers further noted that during implementation of the project which comes to an end in August 2015, Ministries responsible for Water nominated Gender Focal Persons in their Ministries to facilitate and coordinate gender mainstreaming in the water sector.

39. Ministers encouraged Member States to provide support to the Gender Focal Persons in order to sustain the gender mainstreaming activities within the water sector.

40. On Awareness and Communication initiatives: Ministers noted the progress made in enhancing awareness and communication on water issues in SADC which included, among others, Media Awards, Media Training on Water Reporting, and Awareness Videos Productions.

41. Ministers commended SADC Secretariat for playing a major role in communicating water issues in the region and encouraged Member States to facilitate the efforts by sharing information on water issues from SADC Water meetings within their departments, ministries and with the media.

42. Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM): Ministers noted that the ZAMCOM Council of Ministers meeting on 2nd July 2015, approved to increase each riparian country’s contribution to USD100 000 by 2020.

Currently ZAMCOM Member States contribute USD25 000 each year and from 2016 they are expected to start contributing USD60 000 and thereafter increase by USD10 000 each year until they reach USD100 000.

43. Ministers further noted that the ZAMCOM Council reviewed progress on the implementation of the ZAMCOM programme and approved various institutional and governance guiding instruments including the extension for the ZAMCOM Executive Secretary for three years.

44. Ministers also noted that Botswana will be the next chair for the ZAMCOM, taking over from Angola.

45. On Limpopo Watercourse Commission (LIMCOM): Ministers noted that LIMCOM did not hold any meeting during the year 2013/2014 and that a number of activities stalled due to lack of guidance, a situation that put the funding by International Cooperating Partners (ICP) at risk.

46. Ministers urged the LIMCOM States to convene and resolve all pending issues including finalising the recruitment of the Executive Secretary for LIMCOM.

47. On the Orange-Senqu River Basin: Ministers noted that the Orange-Senqu Water Commission (ORASECOM) continued to implement its programme on water in the basin with support from a number of cooperating partners organised directly by the Secretariat and through SADC and commended the ORASECOM riparian Member States and the Secretariat for their success in the implementation of the ORASECOM work programme.

48. On Kunene and Cuvelai Basins: Ministers noted that Angola and Namibia concluded and signed the process to establish the Cuvelai Commission (CUVECOM) in-line with the provisions of the regional Water Protocol on Shared Watercourses in September 2014 and SADC Secretariat was mobilising resources to support the strengthening of the Commission.

Ministers also noted that Angola and Namibia are working out modalities to establish the Kunene Basin Commission.

49. On OKACOM: Ministers noted that OKACOM was in the process of reviewing its institutional structure to accommodate the Forum of Ministers as a regular structure of the OKACOM as the apex body.

50. On the Incomati/Maputo basins: Ministers noted that the process of establishing a Secretariat for the joint Incomati/Maputo basin in Swaziland was on going and pending the approval processes by Cabinet for Swaziland as the host.

51. On Support to mainstreaming youth into the water sector: Ministers noted that youth forums were being organized as part of the SADC Water Weeks to bring together youth groups and raise awareness on water sector activities and advocate for their involvement in water resources management issues.

Source: allafrica

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