On Wednesday Senegalese company ENGIE announced their partnership with ANER, the National Renewable Energies Agency, to fast track the development of renewable energies in the country.
This comes as a result of ENGIE, being selected for the Dakar TER project in partnership with Thales for the design and production of infrastructure and systems. The contract totaling an estimated $238 million.
The first part of this agreement involves the development of solar energy for individuals in multi-occupancy or individual housing. The aim is to study the initial deployment of these solutions to 11,000 households in the city of Dakar and its suburbs. The main focus will be on photovoltaic solar panels for the production of electricity and solar water-heaters for the production of hot water. Together, ANER and ENGIE will look into financing solutions for this equipment to facilitate their deployment to clients.
ENGIE is aiming to use its technical experience and financial capacity to support Senegal’s energy policy, in close partnership with local stakeholders
As part of this agreement, ENGIE also commits to market energy performance contracts (EPC) to industrial operators and the tertiary sector in large urban communities in Senegal. The goal is to reduce sites’ energy consumption and help to balance the Senegalese electrical system. In Senegal, ENGIE will adapt the concept of EPC that it has used in all its industrial client and large tertiary markets around the world for many years.
The final part of this agreement involves ENGIE’s participation in an industrial cluster to promote renewable energies, particularly by professional training actions and strengthening the local industrial network.
Isabelle Kocher, ENGIE CEO, declared: “ENGIE is aiming to use its technical experience and financial capacity to support Senegal’s energy policy, in close partnership with local stakeholders. The agreement we have signed today reflects our desire to be a major stakeholder in renewable energies and services in Africa and to solve the huge energy supply problems found on the continent.”
Renewable Energy Project to Boost Kenya's Power Grid
GE Africa announced today that it is partnering with Kipeto Energy Limited to build a new wind farm in Kenya's Kajiado County. GE will be the sole equipment supplier for the 100MW project, some 50 kilometres from the capital Nairobi. The local power deal caps off a successful run of more than $2.5 billion in booked orders on the Africa continent across transport, aviation, healthcare and energy sectors.
The Kipeto project, announced during President Obama's visit to Kenya, is expected to make a significant contribution to the installed energy capacity in Kenya, where up to 80% of the population currently lacks electricity access. The $155 million contract will include 60 GE 1.7-103 wind turbines, as well as a 15-year service agreement.
Kipeto Energy Limited shareholders include Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), Craftskills Wind Energy International Limited, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Maasai community of Kipeto. The project will be financed by Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) as sole lender to the project. OPIC is the US government's development finance institute and is part of the Power Africa Initiative.
In August 2014 GE committed to invest $2 billion in facility development, skills training, and sustainability initiatives across Africa by 2018. The commitment was made during the US-Africa Leaders' Summit in Washington DC. Substantial investment and progress has been made against those commitments, and this week GE announced its involvement in several new projects in Kenya.
"GE has made significant progress against the investment commitments made last August," said Jay Ireland, president and CEO of GE Africa. "Skills training and capacity building are critical, not only for developing African economies, but also for growing GE's footprint in the region. We consider this a major priority."
Artisan Training Center in Maputo, and Phase 2 in South Africa. They have now started a 12-month, on-the-job training program to gain hands-on experience with GE Oil & Gas subsea and rotating equipment products. "We are exceptionally proud of the progress made against our commitment and the impact these initiatives will have on Africa's workforce," Ireland added.
Africa Needs to Move Forward On Renewable Energy
Diversification of Africa's electricity sources by embarking on renewable energy solutions - such as solar, wind, geothermal and hydro power - is being heralded as a solution to the continent's energy poverty.
But although a number of countries are already reaping benefits from investment in renewables, there is concern that many of the countries are yet to exploit those resources.
African ministers and delegates at the Abu Dhabi International Renewable Energy Conference in Abu Dhabi from January 15-17 noted that a mere handful of countries in the continent are tapping into renewable energy resource.
Some of the bottlenecks identified included lack of finance, lack of interest from investors and the desire by some to take on mega projects that could easily fail to attract private investors.
Davis Chirchir, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Energy, told IPS that for many sub-Saharan Africa countries, accessing financing for fossil fuel projects was much easier compared with renewable energy options. "It is a big problem even when the prices for renewable energy solutions like solar and wind are going down" said Chirchir, whose country is now seeing costs reducing as a result of investing in geothermal energy.
Kenya plans to generate up to three gigawatts (3GW) of power from geothermal energy alone from its Rift Valley area.
Chirchir said that despite the long-term benefits, many of the countries in the region lacked their own initial resources for investment in projects.
"While renewable projects are often cheaper, they tend to require up-front capital costs. So for many, we shall require more targeted financing if we are to kick off many from the ground," said Chirchir.
"In Kenya, our investment in geothermal energy displaced some 65 percent of fossil fuels, and brought down the cost to the customer by about 30 percent," he added.
Kandeh Yumkella, Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy and CEO of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, decried the fact that despite the declining costs of generating energy from renewable energy sources, Africa was consuming only one-quarter of global average energy per capita.
"How do we help the majority of people in Africa that rely on charcoal and cow dung for their primary needs? How do we do that? This is where the context of off-grid really comes in," he suggested.
According to Yumkella, Africa should focus on small and more decentralised renewable energy options that could quickly reach rural energy-poor citizens instead of waiting until funding is obtained for big renewable energy projects.
"Sometimes the project preparation costs before the investments come are about three to ten percent of project costs. For many African countries that is a lot of money. It takes a big time to get the big projects under way," he noted.
For Yumkella, African governments urgently need to put in place policies that would support renewable energy power generation using private investments to construct off-grid power stations, especially in areas where it is hard to reconnect to the main grids.
"We can have millions of energy entrepreneurs spreading the off-grid solutions while we wait for the big projects to take off," he explained. "People don't have to wait in darkness before the big projects come. We can have those solutions out today because the technologies are there. It is about markets and the spreading out of off-grid."
Furthermore, said Yumkella, off-grid solutions would support Africa's social development agenda at the community level and "that can be done now because off-grids can be in the hands of the poor communities to increase their productivity and help their social development. But we will need millions of entrepreneurs in Africa in order to make energy poverty history."