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In a fresh blow to the 40GW Grand Inga megaproject on the Congo River, the National Assembly has rejected legislation on the government agency overseeing the project. On 6 April, parliament rejected the Grand Inga bill by a show of hands. The draft decree had been approved by the government on 15 January but still needed parliamentary approval, as required by an international treaty on the project signed in 2013 between DRC and South Africa.

DR Congo
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In another twist in the long-running saga of the 6GW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd) and controversy over water use in the Nile Basin, there are reports from Israel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to mediate between Egypt and Ethiopia over the issue. Israeli online news site Mida reported on 19 July that a decision on Israeli involvement followed a flurry of recent diplomatic activity, including a visit to Tel Aviv by Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shukri, which came soon after Netanyahu returned from a tour of Africa. The previous negotiator was former Palestinian Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan.

Egypt | Ethiopia
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German off-grid solar company Mobisol has partnered with internet of things (IoT) specialist Aeris to support remote access to data from its systems. The agreement comes as residential off-grid solar companies continue to move away from simple keycode-activated systems towards more sophisticated monitoring and management operations as the cost of IoT connected products has decreased.The agreement will mean that Mobisol uses Aeris’ AerPort connectivity management platform to receive data from its systems in real time.

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Japan is considering rehabilitating and possibly expanding the 11.1MW Mobayi-Mbongo hydro plant on the Ubangi River in northern Democratic Republic of Congo, which supplies electricity to Gbadolite, and Mobaye, on the Central African Republic side of the river. A delegation from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) visited the site in late January to assess the infrastructure and the costs of rehabilitation and expansion, North Ubangi provincial governor Marie Thérèse Gerengbo Yazazo told journalists in Kinshasa.

DR Congo
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The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) have announced that $25m in concessional loans from ADFD have been earmarked for solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in Mauritius and Rwanda. The projects are being financed through the Irena/ADFD project facility, which helps developing countries access low-cost capital for renewable energy projects. The loans cover up to 50% of project costs, leveraging additional funding from other sources.

Mauritius | Rwanda
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Cameroon’s Rural Electrification Agency invites bids by 28 July for the construction of a 1.6MW run-of-river power station in the commune of Batié, in the Hauts-Plateaux department in the Western Region. The international competitive tender, which covers all works from implementation studies to the commissioning of the hydropower project, is divided into two lots: implementation of civil engineering works; and supply, installation and commissioning of hydro-electro-mechanical equipment and a control system.

Cameroon
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Scatec Solar’s 86MWp Sirius solar PV plant near Upington in the Northern Cape began commercial operations on 18 February, followed by a second 86MWp plant, Dyason’s Klip I, a week later. Scatec Solar is developing three projects near Upington with combined peak capacity of 258MW. Dyason’s Klip II is scheduled to come online in the coming months. The plants are expected to produce 217GWh/yr.The plants are owned by Scatec Solar (42%), Norfund (18%), and H1 Holdings (35%).

South Africa
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The Senegal River Basin Development Organisation (OMVS) has invited expressions of interest by 30 March for the financing, development and construction of the 18MW Gourbassi hydropower project on the Falémé River, on the border of Mali and Senegal.

Senegal | Mali
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A new record-breaking low tariff was agreed in September when Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) contracted a Saudi/Chinese consortium of Acwa Power and Shanghai Electric to build the fourth phase of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The project follows Acwa Power’s spectacular success in winning major renewables contracts – among other work – in Morocco and other markets across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena). It is also interested in doing more south of the Sahara.

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Italian state utility Enel has begun operating its 88MW Nojoli wind power plant in the Eastern Cape. A consortium majority-owned by Enel Green Power was selected as a preferred bidder in the third round of the country’s renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme (REIPPP), signing a 20-year power purchase agreement with Eskom in October 2013 and beginning construction in April 2015. Ambitious South African renewable energy developer Pele Green Energy, part of Pele Energy Group, is a stakeholder in the project alongside a community trust.

South Africa
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The state-owned Geothermal Development Company (GDC) announced on 15 January that it expects Quantum Power East Africa Ltd to begin construction in March of the first of three 35MW independent power producer (IPP) projects worth a combined $210m at the Menengai geothermal complex. GDC said Quantum Power’s project would be followed by Sosian Menengai Geothermal Power Ltd, reported in the Kenyan press to have been part owned until recently by Gideon Moi, son of the former Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi.

Kenya
Issue 316 - 28 January 2016

EoIs sought for solar letters of credit

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The World Bank is seeking expressions of interest by 7 February from banks interested in providing one or more long-term standby letters of credit to solar power projects approved as part of the Scaling Solar initiative. The letters of credit will be supported by a payment guarantee from the World Bank’s International Development Association. Scaling Solar brings together the suite of World Bank services into a single programme designed to speed up the adoption of solar power technology in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Canadian renewable power developer Windiga Energy has signed an investment support agreement with the government of Burkina Faso for a 20MW solar photovoltaic power plant. Commercial operation is expected by the end of next year, with the equity portion of the project likely to close in the coming months – it will be 95% owned by Windiga and 5% by the government for the 25-year amortisation period before being transferred wholly to the government – while debt financing should be completed around November with the African Development Bank, the Global Environment Facility and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund.

Burkina Faso
Issue 244 - 29 November 2012

Equatorial Guniea: New hydro plant

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State power utility Sociedade de Electricidade de Guinea Ecuatorial inaugurated a 120MW hydro plant in October on the Rio Muni mainland. The Djibloho plant, built by China’s Sinohydro on the Wele River, consists of four 30MW Francis turbines and cost $257m, fully funded by the state.

Equatorial Guinea
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The Department of Energy (DoE) on 16 April announced that 13 projects with combined capacity of 1,121MW had been selected as preferred bidders so far in the fourth round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme. Big winners include Enel Green Power with three wind projects totalling 425MW, while Scatec Solar was awarded three solar projects totalling 225MW. BioTherm Energy has the 120MW Golden Valley wind farm and the 86MW Konkoonsies II and 45MW Aggeneys solar PV power plants, while South African Pulp and Paper Industries Ltd (Sappi) was selected for a 25MW biomass project.

South Africa