NEK to go for more wind energy projects in Ghana


The Swiss engineering company NEK Umwelttechnik AG has not only completed the development of the 225MW Wind Farm Ayitepa in the Greater Accra region, for which construction will start soon, but has also other wind energy projects under development.

As published in a previous article, the Ayitepa wind farm did receive all required permits and licences to start construction and operation.

The only missing puzzle to get to financial close is the conclusion of negotiations with the Government of Ghana related to a Put-Call-Option Agreement (PCOA), which will facilitate the immediate start of construction within few months after its signature.

Ghana will therefore once again play a pioneering role to be the leading West African country to switch from the predominance of thermal and conventional energy generation systems to the generation of clean and sustainable electricity from Ghana based renewable sources.

200 MW Wind Farm Konikablo

Some few kilometres east of Ayitepa, NEK developed for several years now through its local branch NEK (Ghana) Ltd. a wind park called Upwind Konikablo. This project is located in the neighbourhood of the villages of Dawa and Sege along the Accra – Aflao main road approximately 40km east of Tema.

Visualization of Konikablo Wind Farm with cattle grazing in between the turbines.

As at writing this article, plans are far advanced to finalize the development of the Konikablo wind farm during the next 12 – 18 months.

Photomontage of three wind turbines at Konikablo.

The project has already received several permits and licences, among others the Energy Commission provisional wholesale electricity licence, an environmental permit from the Environmental Protection Agency, the building and construction permit from the District Assembly Ningo-Prampram and the general consent of other major Ghanaian stakeholders.

This wind energy project will be located on farming land belonging to one of the families from the Ningo Traditional Area and will extend over a surface of roughly 10,000 acres.

The required land, however, is not purchased from the original and rightful land owners, but just leased for a period of 30 years. This means that the land on which the wind farm will be operated does still belong to the traditional landowners and will be – once the lifespan of the project is over – be given back to them.

This follows the philosophy of the developer that the traditional land owners should keep their most precious good. However, the wind farm will only require some 1 – 2% of the total leased surface, while the biggest part of the land can still be used for farming activities.

The area allows the installation of up to 60 wind turbines with a rated power of around 3MW each, what will bring an installed electrical capacity to up to 200MW.

The yearly electricity production of the Konikablo project will be in the size of 500 GWh, which is enough to cover the demand of around 120,000 Ghanaian house holdings.

The produced electricity will be fed into the new 330kV WAPP line which passes nearby the project area, and distributed from there to the end consumers spread over the whole of southern part of Ghana.

One of the main concerns of NEK is not only to develop clean electricity projects, but to give to the local population and especially also to the local youths live perspectives for them and for their families. During the construction period of the wind farm, which will last about 2 years, we will therefore employ around 400 people, recruited from the surrounding communities.

And after completion of the project, dozens of direct permanent jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs will be created through this wind farm. All benefits to the local population will be accelerated under an umbrella called “Community Engagement”, which stands for a Fund that will be fed from a portion of the generated income and used for sustainable programmes in the surrounding communities: Refurbishment and constructions of schools, kindergartens and medical centres, waste management programmes, improvement of sewage and drainage systems, training programmes for different educations, new irrigation and agriculture facilities including an education centre for modern agriculture technologies and related installation will contribute to the large benefits this project will have for the whole affected region.

The completion of the Konikablo wind project will be – apart from our 225MW Ayitepa wind farm – a major step towards Ghana’s target of 10% renewable energy capacity by 2030 and the transition from conventional to renewable energy supply as announced by the new government repeatedly.

Government to facilitate wind energy in Ghana

The harvested wind energy will constitute a great addition to the energy mix to Ghana’s thermal and hydro generation. One of the key advantages of wind power generation is the competitive tariff system it brings along. The project generates power at an attractive overall cost and once completed, does not require any fuel or gas to run.

The natural and never-ending “fuel” to produce clean electricity is the constant wind blowing at the project site. These wind conditions have been measured and deeply analysed by NEK throughout the past years, which allows for a good energy yield estimation for the Konikablo wind farm.

The project now requires the ultimate support from the Government to reach financial closure and take-off.

With the relevant Government support, this project will bring enormous political benefits to the country. It would be – right behind the 225MW Ayitepa wind farm – the largest wind park in West Africa, solidify Ghana’s Energy position in the Region, whilst and the same helping Government achieve its vision of being a net electricity exporter.

It will be Ghana’s second Wind Farm showing the world that Ghana is a place where large-scale renewable energy can flourish, which attracts further foreign investments in the sector.

NEK has different other wind farm projects underway, which are also relatively far advanced in the development stage, and is ready to support the government in achieving its plan to improve the energy generation mix by increasing the percentage of renewable energy within medium to long-term expectations.

Mussel Roe Wind Farm in Tasmania.

Not being any more dependent on foreign countries regarding the import of fossil energy such as gas, diesel, LNG or coal, renewable energy will contribute to make Ghana become a sustainable electricity producer.

The main parameters are: “Homemade”, “renewable”, “inexhaustible”, “independent”, “domestic and free natural energy source” and “combat climate change”. The key is with the Government to show to the world its pioneering role in implementing wind energy projects!

Phanes Group Solar Incubator


Phanes Group is pleased to announce one of the most exciting new initiatives aimed at PV projects in sub-Saharan Africa: The Phanes Group Solar Incubator 2017, in partnership with Hogan LovellsProparco, responsibilityRINA Consulting and Solarplaza.

  • Get your PV project funded and drive it to financial close;
  • Connect with key industry players and receive mentorship from them;
  • Give back to the local community and make a difference.

Submission deadline is October 1, 2017 – so don’t miss out!

What are we looking for?

We are looking for PV projects in sub-Saharan Africa that come with a solid Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) concept aimed at making a positive impact for the local community.

The owners of the shortlisted projects will be invited to present on October 26, 2017, during the “Unlocking Solar Capital Africa” conference in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire,  to a high-profile evaluation panel hosted by Solarplaza and composed by Hogan Lovells, Proparco, responsAbility, RINA Consulting and Phanes Group.

The Benefits:

  • Shortlisted candidates will receive a complimentary return flight, accommodation and entry ticket to the “Unlocking Solar Capital Africa” conference;
  • Winner(s) will enter a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with Phanes Group to co-develop and execute the project, holding a long-term stake in its success;
  • Winner(s) will receive full project funding and related instruments to reach financial close and deliver a bankable project;
  • Winner(s) will receive a complimentary invitation to visit Phanes Group’s headquarters in Dubai, UAE, to kick-off the 2-month incubator phase through a 4-day long intensive workshop with some of the best industry experts in their respective fields;
  • Winners’ CSR concept will be refined during the incubator phase and rolled out with the project.

Seize this opportunity to win and bring your project to financial close – apply now, the submission deadline is October 1, 2017!

For more information please read our FAQ and apply using the application form here. All submissions or further enquiries should be to be sent through to

We are looking forward to receiving your application, and together, shaping a sustainable future.

Good luck!

The Phanes Group Solar Incubator Team

Le groupe Phanes est ravi d’annoncer le lancement d’une des initiatives les plus passionnantes dans le secteur du photovoltaïque en Afrique sub-saharienne : l’Incubateur solaire du groupe Phanes 2017, en partenariat avec Hogan Lovells, Proparco, responsAbility, RINA Consulting et Solarplaza.

  • Faites financer votre projet photovoltaïque et menez-le vers le bouclage financier ;
  • Connectez-vous aux acteurs-clefs du secteur et faites-vous orienter ;
  • Donnez à nouveau à la communauté locale et faites la différence

Date limite des dépôts : 1er octobre 2017 – ne ratez pas l’échéance !

Que cherchons-nous ?

Nous cherchons des projets dans le secteur du photovoltaïque dans la région de d’Afrique sub-saharienne, liés à un concept solide de Responsabilité sociale de l’entreprise (RSE) et visant à avoir un impact positif sur la communauté locale.

Les candidats présélectionnés seront invités à une présentation en direct le 26 octobre 2017, durant la conférence « Libération du potentiel solaire en Afrique » (Unlocking Solar Capital Africa), devant un panel d’évaluation de haut niveau accueilli par Solarplaza et composé de Hogan Lovells, Proparco, responsAbility, RINA Consulting et du groupe Phanes.

Les avantages :

  • Les candidats présélectionnés recevront gratuitement un billet aller-retour, un hébergement et un billet d’entrée à la conférence « Libération du potentiel solaire en Afrique » ;
  • Le gagnant signera un Accord de codéveloppement avec le groupe Phanes afin de codévelopper et d’exécuter le projet, pour un engagement à long terme ;
  • Le gagnant  recevra un financement complet du projet et les outils adéquats pour le bouclage financier, afin d’aboutir à un projet capable de bénéficier d’un concours bancaire ;
  • Le gagnant recevra une invitation tous frais compris au siège du groupe Phanes à Dubaï aux Emirats Arabes Unis, afin de lancer la phase de préparation de deux mois par un atelier intensif de quatre jours avec des experts de renom du secteur.
  • Le concept de Responsabilité sociale de l’entreprise du gagnant sera revu durant la phase de préparation et déployé avec le projet.

Saisissez cette opportunité afin de gagner et de mener votre projet vers le bouclage financier – Présentez votre projet maintenant, la date limite des présentations étant le 1er octobre 2017 !

Pour de plus amples informations, merci de lire notre section questions-réponses et de soumettre votre candidature ici. Toutes les candidatures ou autres requêtes devront être envoyées à l’adresse suivante :

Nous attendons vos dossiers avec impatience et espérons pouvoir contribuer à un avenir durable.

Bonne chance !

L’équipe de l’Incubateur solaire du groupe Phanes

$1.5 Billion Microgrid Market Opportunity Emerges in Kenya

Maintaining the solar panels which power Radio Douentza. This radio station was opened in 1993 and broadcasts in local languages.

A confluence of innovation, risk taking, and public and private effort has created a five-year, $1.5 billion microgrid market opportunity in Kenya, leading Germany’s TFE Consulting to dub the East African nation, “The World’s Microgrid Lab.”

International startups are deploying innovative mobile ‘pay as you go’ (Pay-Go), home solar, and microgrids in off-grid rural areas across the East African nation and far beyond. Their work is backed by development agencies, regional governments, non-government organizations (NGOs), venture capitalists and corporations.

It’s still early to know, but the rapid development of zero- or low-emissions microgrids and distributed energy could prove to be the linchpin of an emerging new model for environmentally friendly energy and socioeconomic development.

“Globally, microgrids for electrification have a market potential of $400 billion,” says the report, “Kenya: The World’s Microgrid Lab.”

Looking ahead, TFE estimates that over the next five years the number of microgrids installed in Kenya, alone, will surge to between 2,000 to 3,000.

As a result, Kenyans are taking their first steps up the sustainable energy ladder.

Sharply declining costs and widespread availability of solar PV, LED lighting and DC electricity — and more recently lithium ion battery storage — are key factors opening up the green distributed energy and microgrid market opportunity in Kenya and across Sub-Saharan Africa and other developing market regions. The market also is driven by widespread access to wireless/mobile money and communications networks.

According to TFE’s study,  just 20 percent of Kenyans have access to grid power. Nearly nine in 10 – 88 percent – have mobile phones. Most use mobile e-payment services, such as MTN’s M-Pesa – to pay for goods and services.

Kenyans are using these mobile money services to pre-pay for off-grid home solar or ‘microgrid as a service’ energy services in small increments as their needs and ability to pay warrants.

“Mobile money alleviates many of the drawbacks associated with earlier cash or scratchcard systems,” says the TFE study. “For one, it vastly simplifies revenue collection: no cash changes hands. Cash-based revenue collection is a significant administrative challenge for energy access businesses, as seen in other energy access markets such as India.

“The cashless payment system unlocks the possibility of running remotely located energy vending machines in Kenya. Consumers and businesses benefit, as transaction, electricity and business expansion costs fall,” TFE says.

A fast growing crop of solar pay-go and microgrid pioneers

Azuri Technologies, BBOX, Fenix International, Lumos Global, Mobisol and Powerhive number among the growing roster of ambitious, young solar mobile Pay-Go and microgrid developers providing services in the region.

Multilateral sustainable energy and development programs, such as USAID’s Power Africa, launched by former President Barack Obama, have played a critical, formative role. Reaching out to aspiring sustainable energy entrepreneurs in Kenya and across the region, they have been providing seed capital, technical and other forms of assistance and support.

Success breeds success, and now the effort is attracting both equity and debt financing from leading international venture capital and private equity investment groups and multinational corporations. The growing list includes ABB, Caterpillar, GE, Khosla Ventures, Paul Allen’s Vulcan Facebook, Microsoft and Jaguar Land Rover and other African wireless/mobile telecoms services providers, such as Airtel and Orange SA.

microgrid market opportunity

“Kenya shows that the global microgrid market is ready for significant private investment. While there still remain some challenges – especially around the regulatory framework and aggregation of projects – there are now enough businesses with viable business models to provide early stage, strategic or even crowd investors with commercially attractive opportunities.

“The medium-term growth potential for the microgrid market in Kenya, as well as in other energy access markets including in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, is very high,” TFE Consulting writes in the executive summary of its report.

According to TFE, a $1.5 billion microgrid market opportunity exists in Kenya over the next five years. Significantly: 

  • There are more than 65 microgrids up and running in Kenya
  • The cost of building out and delivering microgrid power in Kenya has dropped to $5-10/watt
  • Customers are willing to pay $4/kWh
  • Per capital GDP rose to $1,377 as of 2015
  • 25 million mobile phone users made 6 billion mobile money transactions in Kenya in 2016, transferring nearly $150 million every day.
  • Mobile money makes up almost 67 percent of all (cashless) transactions via the National Payments System, according to the Central Bank of Kenya.
Myth busting

Some still view Kenya and other developing countries as too industrially undeveloped and risky to offer a substantial microgrid market opportunity. Similarly, Kenyans — rural Kenyans in particular — are considered too impoverished to serve as the basis of a sustainable business model.

But it’s important to note that proportionally Kenyans spend more of their budgets on energy — in this case ages-old forms like kerosene and charcoal — than residents of industrially developed countries. And as the experience of pioneering solar PV-battery energy storage PAYG and microgrid companies is revealing, they are more than willing to pay as much for safer, cleaner and more reliable and efficient power and energy these technologies now offer.

Furthermore, the pace and scope of socioeconomic development that has been taking place in Kenya over the past decade may be under-appreciated.

“Kenya is the economic lion of East Africa,” TFE writes.

“Its GDP almost quadrupled from $16.1 billion in 2004 to $63.4 billion in 2015, growing twice as fast as the average rate of Sub-Saharan Africa. Its growth has been driven by a relatively stable currency, low inflation, low fuel prices and substantial public investments in energy and transportation. This has boosted an expanding middle-class with steadily rising incomes,” says the report.

Fashola: Buhari Will Give Nigerians Uninterrupted Power


The Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has reassured Nigerians that plans by the federal government to provide them with uninterrupted electricity supply would be achieved meticulously, but not with any ‘magic wand’.
Fashola said there was no magic wand to getting uninterrupted power supply to Nigerians, but that it required a process which involved all stakeholders in the sector including users of electricity conserving and efficiently using whatever energy the country generates.

The minister stated this when he spoke in Abuja at the launch of the National Building Energy Efficiency Code (BEEC) which was developed by the Nigeria Energy Support Programme (NESP) for use in Nigeria’s built industry.

According to him, improved conservation and efficient use of generated electricity in the country would contribute to the government’s plan of incremental, stable, and uninterrupted power in Nigeria, instead of the propensity to waste energy.
He also noted that a revised national building code with all the contents of the BEEC would be launched by the government before the end of 2017.
He explained that the BEEC specifies minimum energy required to achieve energy efficient buildings which in turn impacts on the socio-economic wellbeing of Nigeria, adding that it will complement the revised national building code.

“In our roadmap for the power sector, we have said we want to first get incremental power; the second leg of that roadmap which you can call the medium stage is stable power, when we have had enough power and taken our energy audit to know how many people need electricity and when they need it, we know what is peak and off peak demand, then we now build a redundancy for repair and upgrade.
“As the ambassador has said, there is no hocus-pocus here, there is no magic wand, it is a journey. But even if we have stable power, there is a place the Buhari government wants to take Nigerians to – uninterrupted power, that is the part that deals largely with you and I, that is the part that deals with conservation, reduction of waste, and efficient use of energy,” said Fashola.

He further stated: “We don’t have to wait for stable energy before we start conserving (power), even what is not enough now can be optimally utilised if we conserve it. Conservation, waste reduction, and efficient energy use case are critical contributors to increasing supply of energy, stabilising supply of energy and ensuring unfailing supply of energy because whatever is wasted will never be enough.”

Speaking on the significance of the BEEC in Nigeria’s built industry, the minister explained that the National Council on Housing has approved its inclusion in the revised national building code, adding that the BEEC was in line with Nigeria’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change.
He said: “If there is any group of people who still deny climate change, they are denying the obvious. The evidence is clear in extreme weather conditions when it is hot, it is extremely very hot, and when it is raining, it doesn’t rain anymore, it pours.

“We have a role to play, we have seen evidence of it locally. When we talk about energy efficiency, we are not asking people to do government a favour, we are asking people to actually do themselves a favour. Energy efficiency is about cost of living, it is about the economy and how much money you spend.”
In his remarks, the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Dietmar Kreusel, noted that with the BEEC, Nigeria could save up to 40 per cent of energy usage in buildings in Nigeria.

Kreusel, stated that using power was as important as generating it, and that Nigeria has a unique advantage of incorporating energy efficiency in her built industry which is still being developed.
“Energy efficiency has been from the onset the mainstay of the EU co-founded Nigeria Energy Support Programme. Gains in energy efficiency are particularly promising in the building sector with a huge demand for new buildings in the years to come in Nigeria. Nigeria can achieve up to 40 per cent energy savings in new buildings with the codes,” Kreusel added.

New $6 billion African Development Bank initiative to power Africa by 2025


In an interview with The East Africa, Gabriel Negatu, The African Development Bank regional director-general provided details on how East Africa will benefit from the new Japan-Africa Energy Initiative supporting the New Deal for Africa.

Announced in early July this year, the $6 billion initiative of Japan in partnership with the African Development, is seeking “to support the small and medium players who want to join the regional energy sector under Japan’s Light up and Power Africa initiative which aims to enable regional countries achieve universal access to energy by 2025, using available energy sources and the most advanced technologies.

These funds are a mix of concessional, non-concessional and grant. The AfDB will take the lead in project development in consultation with regional member countries but within the initiative’s guidelines.”

Japan will provide the funds and technical support for the implementation. The use of Japanese energy technologies into the region’s energy projects are not a pre-condition.

As for the projects to be supported, AfDB sees the initiative “to support the full range of activities associated with public and private sector energy projects, ranging from preparation to construction and operations, through a mix of financing and technical assistance. We will not give any sector undue priority but will support all. The goal will be achieved, either through public or private sectors.

We hope that through this initiative, we will accelerate the provision of electricity across Africa, including through the best available low-emissions clean coal technologies.”, so Gabriel Negatu.

While the funding assistance seems to be relative wide open to energy technology, it talks about high-efficiency coal-fired plants, but also specifically mentioning geothermal plants, solar and wind power projects.

It will be interesting how geothermal projects in the region can benefit from the initiative and – also importantly – how it will be open to non-Japanese technology providers.


Lesotho’s First Utility-Scale Solar Project Gets Support from SEFA


The African Development Bank (AfDB)-managed Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) approved a US$ 695,500 grant to NEO I SPV Pty Ltd., a subsidiary of OnePower Lesotho Pty Ltd., to support the preparation of a bankable business case for the development of the winning project of the 2016 Lesotho 20 MW solar PV tender, foreseen to become the first utility-scale solar PV project in Lesotho.
The power will feed into the national grid in Mafeteng Province.
The Project will contribute to a strategic phase-out of costly power imports from Mozambique and to reducing reliance on imported coal-generated power from South Africa, thereby promoting independence of power supply, achieving substantial savings in the national budget and abating regional CO2 emissions.
Project will further support rural development by stabilizing the grid in Mafeteng Province.

“The Bank will support the structuring of the Project and lead it to bankability. Our ambition is to turn it into a reference solar PV project for the SADC Region.” stated Ousseynou Nakoulima, AfDB’s Director for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. SEFA support is instrumental in leading the project to financial closure by funding technical and financial services, environmental and social impact assessment, lenders’ due diligence and risk allocation. In addition, the AfDB’s Africa Climate Technology Centre (ACTC) will cover the costs for legal services and project implementation support.

The Project will contribute about 13% to Lesotho’s maximum system demand of around 150 MW. By substituting 20 MW of costly imported power from Mozambique, it will decrease power retail prices in Lesotho. It will also entail greenhouse gas emission substitution effects as a result of reducing imports of thermally generated power from RSA.

The Project is aligned with the Bank’s 10-Year Strategy focusing on inclusive/green growth through the delivery of energy access, the Bank’s Energy Policy and the New Deal on Energy for Africa. On national level, the Project is aligned with Lesotho National Electrification Master Plan (NEMP), the Lesotho Electricity Authority Act No.12 of 2002 and its National Rural Electrification Program (NREP) as well as with the Government of Lesotho Vision 2020 and its 5th Pillar “Poverty Reduction through Energy Access.”
About the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA)

Launched in 2012, SEFA is a US $95-million multi-donor facility funded by the governments of Denmark, the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy. It supports the sustainable energy agenda in Africa through grants to facilitate the preparation of medium-scale renewable energy generation and energy efficiency projects; equity investments to bridge the financing gap for small- and medium-scale renewable energy generation projects; and support to the public sector to improve the enabling environment for private investments in sustainable energy. SEFA is hosted by the Renewable Energy Department of the AfDB.

Agriculture, energy, roads get $600 million World Bank boost


THE World Bank has set aside US$600 million for Zambia to invest in agriculture, energy, rural roads and budget support over the next three years.

Minister of Finance Felix Mutati said the World Bank has committed itself to increasing its support to Zambia under the International Development Association (IDA).
Mr Mutati said this yesterday after meeting Bank executive director for Zambia, Andrew Bvumbe, who is in the country for consultations.
“I am happy that the World Bank executive director has come into Zambia at the time when the economy has begun to stabilise and macro fundamentals are cheerful.
“We have received commitment from the Bank for increased resources and about US$150 million will be in the form of budget support,” he said.
Mr Mutati said from the US$600 million, the agriculture sector will receive US$255 million to support irrigation and agribusiness while US$280 million will be invested in the energy sector.
He said under the IDA programme, the bank will further dedicate an additional US$200 million for improving rural roads to support agriculture.
The minister said Government has agreed with the World Bank to utilise the resources to transform critical sectors to address poverty, job creation and inclusive growth.
Mr Mutati said Zambia is ready to host the IDA meeting in November this year.
And Mr Bvumbe welcomed Government’s focus on prioritising development in agriculture, rural road development and energy which are key to creating jobs and enhancing economic development.
He commended Government for addressing macroeconomic fundamentals as evidenced by low inflation and the local currency which is showing signs of stability.
Mr Bvumbe further applauded Government on the progressive discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which are expected to be concluded soon.
“We are happy with how the discussions with the IMF are moving. On the policy level we are converging with the Fund and this is important for us to move forward. We are looking forward to the conclusion of these discussions between Zambia and the Fund.
“Broadly speaking, I am delighted to be here, happy with the updates I got from the minister on the economic front and macro fundamentals that are good. We have a good foundation to move forward and make a difference in the lives of ordinary Zambians,” he said.

Chad’s first large-scale PV project receives financial support from AfDB


Chad’s first large-scale PV project receives financial support from AfDB


The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced that it will finance a 32 MW solar project planned for development in N’Djamena, Chad’s capital.

The AfDB said that financing includes funds for the improvement of the interconnection line between Chad and Cameroon and the rehabilitation of the generation assets of the country’s power utility National Electricity Company (SNE). The amount of the financial support, however, remained undisclosed.

The Starsol plant is backed by a consortium that includes solar project developer NewSolar Invest, engineering group CIEC Monaco, and infrastructure and renewable energy project financier Arborescence Capital.

The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), which is managed by the AfDB, has granted finance costs related to technical assistance for the completion of the plant design and grid study, as well as advisors for legal and financial structuring of the project.

The solar plant will provide reliable power to address power shortages hampering economic growth in the country, according to the AfDB.

Implementation of the project will increase installed capacity by 45%, and generate around 64-gigawatt hours of electricity per year: enough to power nearly 17,000 households in the N’Djamena area.

The Chad government is looking to increase development of renewable energy in the country, where less than 2% of the population has access to reliable electricity. Most of the power in the country is generated by privately owned diesel generators, putting the price of electricity in the country at a high XAF 345 ($0.57) per kilowatt hour.

The project is aligned with the AfDB Climate Change Action Plan 2011-2015 and Energy Policy as well as the bank’s Strategy 2013-2022, which focuses on inclusive and green growth in Africa.



Transforming the energy future of SADC


The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region is endowed with abundant natural energy resources both renewable and non-renewable that are available to propel its economic development. Contrastingly, the region is by far-and-large energy insecure with more than 50% of the population without access to clean and affordable energy while electricity supply is neither adequate nor stable.

Addressing the energy future of the SADC region will, therefore, require a holistic approach that embraces different stakeholders and at the same time is open to innovative business models, if the noble objectives the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are to be attained.

The energy scenario

All urban areas and other significant load centres in most SADC Member States (MS) are connected to grid electricity, largely derived from thermal power plants (powered by coal, gas, nuclear (only in South Africa)) and hydropower, as outlined in Figure 1 below, for Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) MS. Recent developments in South Africa through the reverse auction programme has brought on grid significant solar and wind power.

Figure 1: SAPP Generation Mix in 2015

• Source: Adapted from SAPP reports and other sources

The continental countries are interconnected through high voltage transmission lines except for Angola, Malawi and Tanzania. This means that interconnected countries can trade in electric energy through bilateral contracts and the Day Ahead Market, thus providing immense benefits to the region through security of supply and dispatch of least-cost power stations, amongst others.

The rural/off-grid areas are the least developed in all countries with electricity access as low as seven (7%) percent in some countries.  The rural inhabitants rely on solid biomass, and paraffin and wax candles for thermal and lighting needs thus putting them at high risk of indoor air pollution.  Additionally, there are also serious socio-economic and environmental ramifications from the use of such energy sources. The challenges that come with provision of clean and affordable energy sources in rural areas are largely to do with the economic activities in these areas that unfortunately cannot support a return on investment of energy provision with the current energy supply models – which are centred on extension of distribution power lines.

The Sustainable Development Goal # 7 is specific on energy access, renewable energy and energy efficiency with the following indicators:

By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services;

By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy (RE) in the global energy mix;

By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency (EE);

Equally important are indicators on international cooperation on access to cleaner energy technologies.

The Energy supply challenges

Provision of grid electricity is insecure across the supply chain from generation, transmission to distribution. As highlighted above, generation is largely thermal and hydropower based, both of which have drawbacks of their own.  Coal is a finite resource that pollutes the environment during extraction and conversion to final energy for use in homes and industries. The majority of thermal power plants are over 30 years old hence they are inefficient and suffer from frequent breakdowns. Hydropower is clean and affordable but recent drought spells have exposed our vulnerability to nature. Hydropower power stations along the river basins of Zambezi, Shire, Kafue, Great Usutu, Ruacana and many others elsewhere were operating well below their rated capacities for the greater part of 2015 and 2016 due to low water levels.  Scientists have predicted a drier scenario in the coming years due to climate change thus increasing the risk of our reliance on hydropower.

Transmission infrastructure is not adequate and neither is it resilient enough to transport the generated or demanded power. Power outages are reported on regular basis along the critical transmission corridors that link the northern and southern parts of the SAPP MS.  Distribution is the weakest link in the power supply chain due to very high technical and non-technical losses ranging from 15 to 30%.

An equally problematic area on the demand-side of the energy supply chain is the inefficiency in consumption of power in homes and industry. Studies indicate that energy intensity (often used as a proxy indicator of the energy efficiency of a nation’s economy, measuring the amount of energy (in megajoules) required to produce one US dollar of GDP) is very high in Southern Africa compared to the global average

• Source: Derived from The World Bank (

Energy is a key input to production and the high inefficiencies due to lack of awareness and use of inefficient devices render SADC’s products uncompetitive on the market. To a certain extent, awareness of this barrier is now there as pointed out in the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063) which acknowledges that its goal is hampered by inadequate and poor infrastructure (which includes energy) amongst other constraints.

The Way-forward

The SADC region needs to radicalise its planning and actions to meet the SDGs goals. The population is growing at approximately 1% per annum and GDP is averaging a suppressed 4% per annum and these parameters are putting pressure on the existing infrastructure.  Proper energy planning, execution and innovation are therefore critical. A combination of energy efficiency practices and renewable energy technologies should be prioritised in the energy mix going forward so as to address both energy access and energy security. The intermittency of solar and wind is often sited as a barrier to its dispatch but this notion is not entirely true for an integrated market like SAPP as well as the increasingly cost competitive storage devices that include pumped hydro, both stationary and mobile batteries, etc.  Smart technology is making the integration of renewables and energy efficiency much easier.

Roof top solar, solar thermal technologies, solar home systems, bio-digesters, etc. are still at embryonic stage in all SADC countries but have a huge potential to address the energy challenges.

The solutions sound much easier than done, but this is not possible without an enabling policy and regulatory environment that is translated into sound planning and execution.  Integrated resource planning (IRPs) is increasingly being adopted by energy planners in the region. The skills of our planners need to be upped so that they don’t necessarily adopt the IRP blueprints wholesomely but adapt these to factor-in local conditions that require equal importance to be given to issues such as energy access.  SADC needs skills that will integrate sustainable energy in various regional strategies such as those for industrialisation, agriculture, gender, climate change amongst many others.

With meticulous planning and creating a record of efficient project implementation at both public and private sector level, financing should be the least of barriers to a sustainable energy future for SADC. The bottom line is that there is no silver bullet to our energy challenges except that we all need to work together and contribute to a democratised energy system.

• About other:

Kudakwashe (Kuda) Ndhlukula is the Executive Director of the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE), based in Namibia, whose mandate is to promote market based adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, practices and services contributing to the sustainable development agenda of the SADC region.

UNIDO, GEF validate renewable energy investment strategy


The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Global Environmental Facility (GEF) yesterday validated the renewable energy investment strategy to mitigate the impact of climate change. This is the 6th replenishment cycle to implement a project in climate change focal area.

The project seeks to personalise the sustainable energy for all (SE4ALL) action agenda, which was designed to establish a national platform to foster dialogue on energy related nexus issues. It is also to promote the use of energy efficient appliances and also the quality assurance and enhancing capacities for market players and enablers.

Speaking at the opening ceremony held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, Alois Mhlanga of UNIDO, said it was a great privilege for them to be the partner of choice of the government of The Gambia, through the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and other stakeholders to deliver several projects promoting the use and integration of RE in productive sectors supported by GEF.

He explained that the validation was part of efforts under the UNIDO/GEF 4 project entitled ‘promoting renewable energy based mini grids for productive uses in rural areas’ to promote the scaling up of investment in renewable energy in The Gambia. According to him, this was the last activities for the UNIDO/GEF 4 project, which has been highly successful.

He stated that the achievements of the GEF 4 project are testimony of the fact that when commitment, leadership and funding are available, projects that have a real impact across the country are possible.  Mr Mhlanga remarked that the renewable energy investment strategy for The Gambia builds on extensive analysis to identify the sectors with the highest market potential and livelihood of private sector investments as well as promising funding sources for the RE projects.

He expressed appreciation to the Ministry of Power and Energy for their leadership and support on the project and to ECREEE for developing the draft strategy. On his part, Omar Bah, a representative from the National Environment Agency (NEA), said the main objective of the workshop was to gain support and commitment of the stakeholders in The Gambia on the adoption of renewable energy strategies.

He remarked that NEA in collaboration with stakeholders has over the years been implementing GEF funded projects in the area of renewable energy, climate change biodiversity and land degradation. “Renewable energy resources appear to be the one of the most efficient and effective solutions,” he opined.

He acknowledged the support of national and international partners in the spirit of cooperation and commitment for working with The Gambia government in trying to meet their obligation towards mitigating effects of highly polluting energy sources such as the use of Heavy Fuel Oils (HFOs) in power generation.

Also speaking on the occasion, Momodou O. Njie, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Energy, said the availability of adequate, reliable, affordable and sustainable supply of energy in modern energy services was crucial for the socioeconomic development of the country.

He said the government over the years has been exploring ways and means to reduce the country’s high dependency on petroleum products for power generation. He assured UNIDO/GEF and ECREEE of collaboration at all times and thanked them for the valuable support they have been giving to The Gambia.

“We assure them of The Gambia support and collaboration at all times and hope we continue to work together to tackle the challenges of access to modern energy services and climate change,” he added.