Energy Snippets

Africa: The deserts are blooming

Time and time again, the deserts of Africa have been proven to harness the incredible potential to power the whole continent through solar energy. 

However, it has always been a challenge to get all of the right stakeholders involved to make this theoretical dream a reality, until now. One of the countries at the forefront of this movement is Ethiopia. 

The country’s various utility-scale and off-grid solar initiatives have showcased the high level of commitment that its government is putting towards the development of its solar sector and its ambition to reach universal access of electricity by 2025.

ESI Africa, 15 April 2019

Malawi: JDA signed for hydropower plant

IFC InfraVentures has signed a Joint Development Agreement with the government of Malawi to develop a hydropower plant on the Shire River.

The agreement signed last week is in coordination with the World Bank and with the support of SN Power AS and Power Africa. 

According to a news announcement, the Mpatamanga hydropower project will be competitively tendered by the government of Malawi.

ESI Africa, 15 April 2019

South African Minister calls for more investments in clean coal

South Africa's Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has urged South African coal miners to continue investing in clean coal technology.

Coal continues to form a key part of South Africa’s energy mix, in line with the country’s Integrated Resource Plan.

The Minister was speaking at the official opening of one of the largest underground coal complexes in the world, Sasol’s Impumelelo Colliery in Mpumalanga.

ESI Africa, 16 April 2019

Policy and regulatory malaise undermining efforts to address power deficit

Lingering policy uncertainty and regulatory delays are continuing to impede the development of hundreds of small-scale embedded generation projects, which are seen at the quickest and cheapest way for South Africa to address its current electricity supply deficit.

The South African Independent Power Producer Association estimates that between 2500 MW to 3500 MW of capacity is being constrained as a result of the problem and that 30 MW to 50 MW could be added monthly once coherent processes are instituted.

ESI Africa, 16 April 2019

New Kusile unit powers up, eight months ahead of schedule

For the first time on Sunday Kusile Unit 3 produced power, according to an internal memo to Eskom staff.

According to the note from Eskom's chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer, sent out to staff on Monday, the synchronisation of the unit happened eight months ahead of the scheduled December 2019. This is the third out of six Kusile units which have been synchronised to the national grid.

Engineering News, 16 April 2019

GIZ launches tender for LED streetlights

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, in rolling out its Energy Efficiency Street Lighting Retrofit Project, has called for companies to submit bids for the supply of 36 light-emitting-diode (LED) floodlight luminaires with telemanagement systems.

In cooperation with the Department of Energy, these floodlights will be retrofitted on six high masts in the Katlehong region, in Ekurhuleni.

Engineering News, 16 April 2019

Standard Bank restructures its new coal generation model

South Africa's financial sector is playing a role in reducing the country's green-house gases through the implementation of stricter financial models for new generation projects

This week, Standard Bank announced that it has set up a strict set of parameters that will guide all future financing decisions as they relate to new coal powered stations.

ESI Africa, 17 April 2019

Training women in developing countries to become solar engineers

Law firm Hogan Lovells and social enterprise Barefoot College International, will this month feature a 30-minute documentary, following the journey of the Solar Mamas – women from developing countries who have been trained as solar engineers. 

The feature film "Flip the Switch", will be premiered on 30 April in partnership with Impact New York. 

Flip the Switch has received critical acclaim and to date has been awarded official selection status at 10 international film festivals.

ESI Africa, 17 April 2019

What is Africa’s energy revolution plan?

The news coming out of the North American and European energy markets indicates an industry that is soaking up innovation and opening its doors to unique solutions, while the African energy landscape struggles under a weight of murky governance, lack of funding, and operational stagnation.

The African utility space is lagging behind the curve as opportunities in electric vehicles, battery storage, small-scale embedded generation, and net-zero building designs march past. These trailblazing initiatives among others are just not on our priority list.

ESI Africa, 17 April 2019

Acumen closes US$70m impact fund for clean energy in Africa

Jacqueline Novogratz’s impact investing group closed an almost US$70 million fund to back companies delivering affordable and renewable energy to mostly poor consumers in East Africa.

KawiSafi Ventures seeks to bring clean energy to ten million people with investments in fast-growing companies while also making competitive returns, according to a statement on Tuesday from Acumen, a New York-based nonprofit founded by Novogratz. Early investors in the fund include TED curator Chris Anderson, the Skoll Foundation, venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson and the Green Climate Fund.

Engineering News, 17 April 2019

South Africa: Energy Minister encourages youth participation in energy sector

The South African Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe, addressed members attending the School Energy Day event in Buffalo City to engage young people on different energy-related issues.

The Minister noted that he wanted to place emphasis on career opportunities that can be accessed within the sector. 

"Our investment in the green economy initiatives such as the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme has boosted youth employment particularly during the construction, engineering, operation and maintenance phases," Radebe said.

ESI Africa, 18 April 2019

Hulking nukes trying to get nimble in volatile power markets

Nuclear reactors, the lumbering giants of electricity generation, are trying to become more agile.

Power grids have become so swamped with volatile wind and solar that traditional plants are being forced to abruptly adjust their own output to keep systems stable – or pay a penalty. That’s prompting reactor owners including Exelon Corp and Duke Energy Corp to develop ways to tap the brakes on massive plants built to run non-stop.

Engineering News, 18 April 2019

Africa's sole nuclear plant undergoes revamp to extend lifespan

Eskom Holdings, the state utility that supplies 95% of South Africa’s power, is overhauling the continent’s sole nuclear plant with the aim of extending its lifespan by at least 20 years.

The revamp of the 1860 MW Koeberg facility comes as Eskom struggles to produce enough electricity to meet demand and is grappling to address construction glitches and cost overruns at two new coal-fired power stations. The nuclear plant is one of the cheapest to operate in the utility’s fleet.

Engineering News, 18 April 2019

Fuel stations installing rooftop solar gains traction

Solar photovoltaic installations are achieving significant electricity cost savings for fuel service stations across Namibia and South Africa.

With electricity costs up by 350% over the last decade and the regional grid under enormous pressure due to generation issues at Eskom, leading fuel retailers are grabbing the opportunity to adopt solar solutions – both to save costs and in an effort to go green.  

ESI Africa, 19 April 2019

Renewable energy solves current sector woes

Renewable energy provides solutions for the challenges associated with power generation, as the price of photovoltaics and wind energy technologies have gone down owing to the increase in the efficiency of the technologies, says Stellenbosch University Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) director Professor Sampson Mamphweli.

“South Africa has a lot of solar radiation that can be converted through solar photovoltaics and concentrated solar power technologies. The country also has a lot of biomass materials that can be used to provide bioenergy. Wind is also prominent around the coastal areas. There is also space for technology localisation, which will then result in job creation.”

Engineering News, 19 April 2019

Ongoing copper cable theft negatively affects power capacity

Ongoing copper cable theft from companies, such as state-owned power utility Eskom, has devastating effects on the local copper industry, says Copper Development Association Africa executive chairperson Evert Swanepoel.

“The country is suffering from inadequate power generation capacity by Eskom because of the rife copper cable theft. The reason for that is because there are thousands of kilometres of underground cable which are unguarded.”

Engineering News, 19 April 2019

Access to finance hampers power sector progress

Among the challenges facing the power generation sector is access to finance to upgrade and maintain power infrastructure to extend the life of existing assets in a sustainable way, especially when it comes to new digital technologies, says international power generation company General Electric steam power sub-Saharan Africa CEO Lee Dawes.

“Through the notion of ‘creating shared value’, public-private partnerships have proven to be an effective model around the world for businesses to create solutions to address socioeconomic challenges, spearhead growth and improve operations and plant performance.”

Engineering News, 19 April 2019

The above reflects a summary of certain news articles published during the preceding week. It is not an expression of opinion in respect of each matter, nor may it be considered as a disclosure of advice by any employee of Hogan Lovells.

For more information contact Charles Marais


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