Global energy and services company ENGIE, alongside its investment partner Meridiam consortium and Fonsis, the Senegalese Sovereign Fund, signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with Senelec, the Senegalese off-taker for two solar photovoltaic projects in Senegal, Africa.
Azure Power Global Limited, a leading independent solar power producer in India, today announced its consolidated results under United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles for the fiscal second quarter ended September 30, 2018.
Greenpeace Africa (www.Greenpeace.org) blew the whistle today on the Republic of Congo's most recent greenwashing campaign by exposing its plans to tender three oil blocks in the heart of newly-discovered peatlands that Environment Minister Arlette Soudan-Nonault has vowed to protect. Four peatland oil blocks are already under allocation, awaiting development.
Tendering for the "Licence Round Phase 2" blocks began in September and is being actively promoted by the Congolese regime this week at the Africa Oil Week conference in Cape Town (1).
“It is shocking to see how the Congolese regime is playing the international community on peatlands. The same regime that claims to champion peatland protection at big media events is now showing the world its real intentions. This is a set back for peatland protection and we cannot just sit and watch while green commitments are used to hide the quest for financial profit,” says Victorine Che Thöner, Project Leader of Congo Basin Project at Greenpeace Africa.
Covering 145,500 km² – an area larger than England – the Cuvette Centrale peatlands in the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo are estimated to contain 30 billion tons of carbon or the equivalent of nearly 20 years of the fossil fuel emissions of the United States. They are home to communities that have been protecting them for centuries.
The Republic of Congo's Environment Minister was applauded only a week ago by the FAO and UN Environment at the launch of a new International Tropical Peatland Center in Jakarta. In her keynote speech, she waxed poetic about the "rich biodiversity" of the Congo Basin peatlands and vaunted the region's role in the regulation of the world climate. (2)
In March 2018, she and her DRC counterpart signed an 11-point "Brazzaville Declaration" promising to "put in place land use plans that guarantee the conservation and protection of peatlands." But a clause about the "sustainable management" of zones covered by "economic activity" left the door open to business as usual. (3)
After "sustainably managing" the destruction of Congo's Intact Forest Landscapes for the international timber market, the regime of Denis Sassou Nguesso – in power discontinuously for more than 34 years – is now extending the phony "sustainable management" concept to peatland oil exploration.
One of the four peatland blocks already allocated is held by Italian major ENI, whose Milan offices were searched and documents seized last April in an investigation by an Italian court into alleged corruption in Congo. (4) One of the others is held by French giant Total (5).
In all, 91% of Republic of Congo’s peatlands are covered by oil blocks. The new blocks span 17,915 km² of peatlands – the size of Kuwait.
Last 22 September, Soudan-Nonault announced a 15 million euro commitment by the German cooperation agency GIZ to the "sustainable management" of Congo Basin peatlands. GIZ has yet to communicate about the financing. (6)
Will it do so before international bidding to tear up the peatland oil blocks closes in June 2019?
Greenpeace Africa demands the immediate cancellation of tendering of Republic of Congo’s three new peatland oil blocks and of the contracts of its four existing peatland blocks.
(1) Congo Licence Round Phase II 2018-2019, Ministry of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Congo, https://www.Congolr2018.com/
(2) “New peatland protection center in Indonesia represents “triple win” for humanity,” CIFOR, 2 November 2018, https://ForestsNews.cifor.org/58437/new-peatland-protection-center-in-indonesia-represents-triple-win-for-humanity?fnl=en
(3) “Historic agreement signed to protect the world’s largest tropical peatland,” UNEP, 23 March 2018, https://www.UNenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/historic-agreement-signed-protect-worlds-largest-tropical-peatland, “Troisième réunion des partenaires de l’initiative mondiale sur les tourbières (IMT) Déclaration de Brazzaville,” 22 March 2018, https://pfbc-cbfp.org/actualites/items/Tourbi%C3%A8res-doc.html?file=docs/news/Mars%202018/Signed-Brazzaville-Declaration_2.pdf
(4) “Eni offices searched in Congo Republic corruption probe,” Reuters, 6 April 2018, https://www.Reuters.com/article/us-eni-congorepublic-probe/eni-offices-searched-in-congo-republic-corruption-probe-idUSKCN1HD12Z, “Eni Congo sponsors $30 million search for oil, renewable energy,” World Oil, 16 March 2018, https://www.WorldOil.com/news/2018/3/16/eni-congo-sponsors-30-million-search-for-oil-renewable-energy
(5) Congo Licence Round Phase II 2018-2019, Ministry of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Congo, https://www.Congolr2018.com/
(6) Facebook post on the official page of the Ministry of Tourism & Environment of the Republic of Congo,
- Enel’s renewable arm Enel Green Power started construction of the 34 MW solar PV facility, which is located in southern Zambia and, once completed, is expected to produce around 70 GWh per year, avoiding the annual emission of over 45,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere
- Enel will be investing approximately 40 million US dollars in the construction of Ngonye, which will be partly funded through a financing agreement signed with Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation
- The project, which is expected to enter into operation in the first quarter of 2019, is supported by a 25-year power purchase agreement with Zambia’s state-owned utility ZESCO
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SIEMENS commissioned construction of solar systems with a nominal capacity of 998 kilowatt peak
EnergyWeek Morocco will take place from 14-15th November in Marrakech. The event is a platform for decision-makers in the energy sector to discuss the progress of regional power projects in North & West Africa
Two separate investment meetings will be hosted within this week - the 3rd annual Africa Renewable Energy Forum (http://www.Africa-Renewable-Energy-Forum.com) and 2nd annual Gas Options: North & West Africa (http://www.GasOptions-NWAfrica.com/) - to explore opportunities for gas and renewable energy project development.
The event is endorsed by the Ministries of Energy of Morocco, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Gabon, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania and Sierra Leone with the support of leading Moroccan organisations ONEE, ONHYM, MASEN and AMEE, as well as lead private sector companies BP, Cheniere, Fieldstone, Skypower, ENGIE, Wartsila, Acwa Power, Ibvogt and Larsen & Toubro.
The rise of renewables across Africa
Recent estimates from IRENA indicated US$32 billion is required each year from 2015 to 2030 to fully exploit Africa’s renewable energy potential. With many North & West African countries harbouring significant untapped natural resources, a vast potential exists for the continued development of an investment in renewable power projects. Ambitious goals have been set by governments to increase renewable energy generation, such as Morocco’s targets of achieving 52% clean energy from sources such as solar and wind by 2030, or Nigeria’s vision of renewables accounting for 10% total energy consumption by 2025.
Milestone projects are now driving forward this momentum, such as Morocco’s 580MW Noor Ouarzazate IV power station, scheduled to be fully commissioned by October 2018, or Senegal’s 29 MW Senergy 1 solar PV plant – currently the largest solar farm in West Africa.
The future of gas in Africa
With gas widely considered the most affordable and clean base-load energy source, new discoveries in the gas sector are stimulating sector growth and infrastructure development, paving the way for the emergence of new players such as Senegal and Mauritania. With African countries, both importing and exporting gas, the development of regional projects is set to benefit both gas producing and non-producing countries by supporting industrial and economic development.
Voltalia, an international player in renewable energies, announces the beginning of the construction of Râ Solar, its first solar power plant in Africa.
The potential of the Internet of Things (IOT) to make consumers’ lives more convenient is well-documented. One area in which it can deliver immediate benefits and significantly change how a household or company in Africa manages and keeps track of its energy use is smart metering.
Rather than rely on estimated energy use to calculate bills, or physically visit customers’ homes to take meter readings, a smart meter allows energy suppliers to have a real-time view of a household’s or business’ energy consumption – resulting in more accurate billing. Smart metering systems also open up opportunities for better management of the demand and supply of energy. Utilities can track energy which is stored and available for purchase for other players who are in demand. Today’s systems no longer rely on just fossil fuels, but also on renewable energy, that more and more parties produce and sell, when not using it for their own consumption.
Africa and the Middle East are now seen as the next frontier for the implementation of this technology. Africa, in particular, is experiencing massive population growth combined with growing economies in many countries. Electrification is obviously a key driver in this kind of development and, as with other technological implementations, Africa is in a position to adopt new technologies immediately because it has few legacies.
Figures from ABI Research support the view that Africa is beginning to leap onto the smart metering bandwagon. Figures show that smart meter shipments to the Africa/ Middle East region are predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 36.6 percent between 2011 and 2022. Revenues of companies involved in smart metering are set to grow by an equivalent 35.4 percent over the same period.
The installed base of smart meters with cellular connections will grow by 29.1 percent (GSM/ GPRS) and 71.2 percent (WCDKA), but off a very low base. As with any connected device, there are security considerations with smart metering. And since energy grids are critical national infrastructure, robust protection is paramount.
A highly-motivated cyber target
National energy infrastructure is a prime target for cyberattacks, and the consequences can be devastating. Black outs across entire countries, access to personal data and even to nuclear power plants make the smart energy ecosystem very attractive to cyber actors. Smart meters and smart grids present many potential routes of attack for criminals, which must be protected. This is why governments around the world are responding with initiatives that mandate specific protection protocols for smart grid deployments. Non-compliance could prevent access to the marketplace or lead to costly fines.
Smart meters have a long product lifecycle
Smart meters are not just installed for a couple of years and then updated – the intention is for them to last as long as 10-15 years. This means that advanced security processes need to be in place to replace ageing keys and to enable remote credential management, along with strong encryption and authentication tools to ensure that only authorized parties can access the energy assets and their data.
Smart meters can also be very difficult to access. Deployments are very wide – spread out over an entire country or even further – while the devices themselves are put into walls, behind locked doors or in physically remote locations such as mines or offshore sites. These make regular maintenance visits difficult, time consuming and costly. For these reasons, the ability to remotely monitor smart meters appear as crucial, to continuously protect the ecosystem in the long-run.
A dynamic market
Lastly, the energy market changes quickly. New entrants join the market frequently, while others disappear. The smart meter ecosystem has thus to be configured so that only authorized organizations and applications have access to metering data, and that changes to access can be applied instantaneously, whenever needed. As smart meter manufacturers might not be IoT security experts, partnering with digital security specialist firms can avoid putting AMIs (Advanced Metering Infrastructures) at risk.
It’s clear that the smart meter market is set to grow significantly across Africa in the near term. There are several market drivers behind this, such as theft and revenue protection, rising urbanization rates, improved operations among others. With this rise, comes the need for governments to understand end-to-end security of the smart energy ecosystem and the dedicated solutions available that provide encrypted keys and hardened key storage into smart meters – right from the manufacturing steps, as well as throughout the lifecycle of the smart meters.
In June 2018, Bouake, the second largest city of Cote d’Ivoire, suffered its first-ever shutdown of domestic water supply. The country’s dammed lake, which supplies 70 percent of the city’s water supply, completely ran dry. According to many experts, this was yet-again another consequence of climate change.
As a result of the drought, the people of Cote d’Ivoire went through extraordinary hardships affecting everything in their daily life, from acquiring clean drinking water and cooking to basic hygiene. The story of Bouake is one of many currently unfolding in Africa, where climate change has consequences of a magnitude never-seen-before globally.
To battle climate change, keep up with their pace of development and ensure food security, some countries, like Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe, have resorted to solar energy as a solution. A growing body of research from some of the world’s most renowned energy experts and researchers, has demonstrated in a crystal clear fashion that no other energy source, from hydro to wind, can provide power and have an impact as sustainably, reliably, and efficiently as solar.
Solarplaza decided to highlight this great life-changing potential by publishing “Africa Solar Impact Cases”, an extensive report focusing on a small number of impact cases across the three main areas of solar development in Africa: utility-scale, mini-grid/microgrid and off-grid. They are not all rosy success stories; challenges remain palpable. However, they are able to show that solar energy’s potential to positively impact lives for the long term is greater than ever
One of those cases is the Mashaba project, which is a small village in southern Zimbabwe that installed a 99 kW mini-grid to power 2 irrigation schemes, 2 business centers, 1 school and 1 clinic. Mpokiseng Moyo, a farmer and mother of three, has been able to harvest 15 tonnes of wheat with this new solar system, compared to barely one tonne before the mini-grid was installed. This way the devastating consequences of droughts - inherent to the region, but worsened by the effect of climate change - can be mitigated. “Before being connected to the solar grid, we irrigated our crops using diesel pumps and traveled as far as Gwanda (more than 100km away) to buy diesel for the pumps. The pumps broke down many times, affecting productivity. But with solar energy we are able to farm throughout the year without any hassles,” Moyo said.
Learn more about the Mashaba mini-grid, as well as the deployment of solar vaccine refrigerators (Nigeria), the Tororo solar plant (Uganda), the Entasopia microgrid (Kenya), and several other inspiring stories in the ‘Africa Solar Impact Cases Report’ (https://Africa.UnlockingSolarCapital.com/africa-solar-impact-cases-report/).
If you would like to learn more about the challenges and solutions related to the development and financing of solar projects in Africa, consider attending Unlocking Solar Capital (“USC”) Africa, the African region’s largest and foremost conference on unlocking capital for new solar development. The 2-day conference is organized in partnership with the Global Off-grid and Lighting Association (GOGLA) and will be held in Kigali, Rwanda on the 7-8th of November, 2018. The event will be aimed at bringing together hundreds of solar stakeholders, such as representatives from solar developers, development banks, investment funds, EPCs, IPPs and others, and is wholly focused on unlocking capital for new solar project development in Africa. For more information on Unlocking Solar Capital Africa, please visit: https://Africa.UnlockingSolarCapital.com
Azuri Technologies, a leading provider of pay-as-you-go solar power, in conjunction with APA Insurance, Kenya’s leading insurer, today announced the launch of HospiCash, a low-cost micro-insurance product for Azuri solar power customers across Kenya.
SOVENTIX South Africa, a subsidiary of the international solar project developer SOVENTIX GmbH has been awarded the construction of the largest IPP Solar PV project in Zimbabwe.
The purchase of a stake in SolarWorks!, a company selling decentralized solar energy solutions, marks the beginning of a new strategy in this area.