Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Renewables in Africa roundup

Four articles: two on specific projects, one on wind for africa in
general, one on new AfDB RE fund.


Group Five hopes to build $728 mln solar plant
Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:00pm GMT

By Wendell Roelf
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South African construction firm Group Five may
construct a 5 billion rand solar plant to supply power utility Eskom,
with first power seen in two years, a company official said on Tuesday.

"We hope to be producing power in 2013 when it starts to come on
line," Greg Heale, director of engineering and construction, told
Reuters on the sidelines of an African refinery conference.

He later said the project would supply energy to power utility Eskom,
and not mining firms, and would go ahead only if it was selected as
part of South Africa's renewable energy procurement process.

Heale said Group Five, South Africa's fourth-largest construction
firm, expected to conclude all contractual arrangements, including off-
take agreements, within the next nine months.

The project, to be located in the sun-drenched Northern Cape province,
is hopefully the first of a number of phases that could be constructed
on the site, eventually producing up to 450 MW, Heale said.

Africa's largest economy is rapidly moving away from a reliance on
coal, which supplies more than 90 percent of the country's energy
needs, to energy sources such as solar, wind and nuclear.

South Africa could produce its first solar power from a proposed $21
billion dollar solar park by 2012, eventually supplying 5,000 MW of

The country wants to accelerate its renewable energy programme to meet
a target of 10,000 gigawatt hours by 2013.

Shares in Group Five traded 0.65 percent higher at 26.47 rand by 1059
GMT, slightly outpacing a 0.5 percent firmer JSE all-Share index.

Last month, Group Five said diluted headline EPS for the six months to
end-December fell 21 percent to 198 cents, compared with 249 cents in
the same period a year earlier.

The group said its total secured construction order book stood at 9.3
billion rand, little changed from the end of June.

The South African construction industry, which avoided the worst of
the global economic crisis due to big projects ahead of the 2010 World
Cup, is now having difficulty finding new projects as both the
government and the private sector hold back on spending.

The industry is also the target of a sweeping bid-rigging probe by
competition authorities.

� Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved


Wind energy could bring many benefits to Africa march 29, 2011
The fact that wind power uses no water is good news for this water-
stressed continent. 97% of the continent�s total wind farm
installations are located in Egypt (550 MW), Morocco (286 MW) and
Tunisia (114 MW).

Wind energy could bring many benefits to Africa due to its
scalability, which means that it can play a key role in both
decentralized and centralized systems. Also, the fact that wind power
uses no water to generate electricity is good news for this water-
stressed continent.

About a quarter of the world�s population has no access to
electricity, and the problem is especially acute in peri-urban and
rural areas in Sub-Saharan Africa. In many African countries, the
electricity that is available is likely to be generated from diesel
generators or other small-scale plant.

These very often use expensive imported fuel and many countries spend
a considerable share of their scarce foreign exchange reserves on
energy imports. Large-scale power production in Africa, where it
exists, is mostly by large hydro (as found in Egypt) or coal-based
generation (as in South Africa).

Africa�s wind resource is best around the coasts and in the eastern
highlands, but it is only in Mediterranean North Africa that wind
power has been developed at scale. 97% of the continent�s total wind
farm installations are located in Egypt (550 MW), Morocco (286 MW) and
Tunisia (114 MW).

Egypt has a target of producing 20% of its electric power from
renewable sources by 2020, and this includes a 12% contribution from
wind turbines, which translates into more than 7,200 MW of grid-
connected wind power. Most of Egypt�s wind development to date is in
the Zafarana district on the Red Sea coast, but there are also plans
to construct a 250 MW wind farm at Gabal el-Zeit, and a recent tender
has called for proposals to build a further 500 MW wind farm in the
Gulf of Suez. A second tender for the same amount is expected for July

Morocco has excellent wind resources along the coastline, as well as
inland near the Atlas Mountains. The Moroccan government has set a
target of raising the contribution of renewable energy to 20% of
national electricity consumption (up from 7.9%) by 2020.

Wind power is poised to play a key role with a targeted 2,000 MW of
capacity, up from the existing 286 MW at the end of 2010. Half of wind
turbines will be installed by the government owned utility ONE, with
the other half coming from industrial players producing their own wind

South Africa�s electricity system, which is primarily based on coal,
suffers from low reserve margins, and is barely adequate to meet
demand. The state utility Eskom estimates that the country needs to
construct 40 GW of new generating capacity by 2025. South Africa is
ideally suited for wind power development, given its abundant wind

While currently only one commercial-scale wind farm is in operation,
the 8 MW Darling wind farm, the South African Wind Energy Association
(SAWEA) estimates that with the right policy framework, wind turbines
could provide as much as 20% of the country�s energy demand by 2025,
translating into 30,000 MW of installed wind farm capacity.

According to SAWEA, 7,000 MW of this wind farm capacity is already at
various stages of development, waiting for confirmation of grid
connection and a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

Interestingly there have recently been developments in East Africa,
with a 300 MW wind farm project under construction in Kenya and other
wind turbines projects well advanced in Ethiopia and Tanzania. These
early projects will make a substantial contribution to the total
generating capacity in each of these countries and may spur similar
large scale developments in other African countries.


AfDB creates $57 mln Africa renewable energy fund
Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:36pm GMT

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The African Development Bank (AfDB) has
established a $57 million fund for renewable enery projects across the
continent, the bank's chief sector specialist said on Tuesday.
The Denmark-backed Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa joins two other
similar green energy funds in the region worth $6 billion being run by
the AfDB and twelve non-African donor countries.

"It is a clean investment... in only clean renewables," Youseff
Arfaoui, the bank's chief renewable energy specialist, told Reuters on
the sidelines of an African power conference in South Africa's
commercial capital.

Arfaoui said the AfDB expected to take the loan to its board for
approval in May. No recipient countries had been chosen yet as the
fund was not expected to be in full operation before June, he added.

� Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved



Coming Soon: A Massive Wind Farm to Power Kenya BY Ariel SchwartzMon
Mar 28, 2011

There are some 700 million people in Africa without access to
electricity. As the continent modernizes, those people will need
power. But could African power be a perfect place for leapfrog
technology--when a developing society goes straight to the most modern
technology without going through the iterations seen in the developed
world? A new windfarm in Kenya might indicate yes.

The $870 million Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) project, set to begin
construction in December, will be the largest wind farm in Africa when
it is completed. The project, which will be built in a remote area
near the Lake Turkana basin, will use 360 wind turbines to pump out
300 megawatts of power--enough to power tens of thousands of homes and
add 30% more energy capacity to Kenya's grid. LWTP, a consortium of
Kenyan and Dutch organizations including Anset Africa and KP&P, also
plans to install a 266-mile-long transmission line to bring energy
from the turbine project to the main grid.

This is a big step for Africa's renewable energy capacity, but there
is still a long way to go. There is only one grid-linked solar power
project currently operating on the continent (in Rwanda), though there
are several under construction. And at least one country in the
region--South Africa--relies almost entirely on coal for energy.

But if LTWP is completed on schedule (by 2014) and without any future
financing issues, investors may soon come around to the idea that
large-scale renewable projects in Africa make sense.

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