The French Development Agency (AFD) has provided South Africa’s power utility Eskom with a ZAR 6 billion ($477.7 million) credit facility. Eskom, which has delayed the development of several large-scale PV projects over the past years due to grid issues, will use the funds to improve its network and integrate more renewable energy power. The French Development Agency (AFD) has agreed to provide South African power utility Eskom with a multi-tranche 6 billion ZAR ($477.7 million) credit facility. The facility is intended to support Eskom’s plans to improve and expand its power grids. The funds will be used to strengthen transmission lines and substations linked to large-scale renewable energy power plants, AFD said.
AFD Group secures €24 million for African Renewable Energy projects, designed to boost private sector investment in on-grid and off-grid renewable energy production in Africa. In order to meet Africa’s constantly increasing energy requirements, support must be provided for mass development of the renewable energy technologies – especially solar energy – that will play such a key role over the coming years, given the recent drop in prices and the emergence of new innovative business models. The EU’s electrification funding initiative, “ElectriFI”, helps to harness and stimulate private sector investment to enhance access to renewable energy. More specifically, it focuses on poorly-served rural populations and regions that suffer from an unreliable electricity service.
Last week the EU’s Africa Renewable Energy Initiative announced 14 new renewable energy projects across the continent, representing 1.7GW, with a total potential investment of almost €4 billion (US$4.2 billion). “With these 14 new projects, potentially worth up to €4 billion of investments, the European Union is delivering on its promises,” said commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica at the announcement in Conakry, Guinea. “We are turning our pledges into real projects with true impact on the ground. The EU hereby reaffirms its leading role in supporting the African continent in the promotion of renewable energies for the improvement of energy access for African citizens.”
The European Commission‘s electrification financing initiative, ElectriFI, has made its first investment of US$2.5 million in clean energy micro-utility Sigora Haiti, supplying households, schools and small firms with electricity. ElectriFI received 290 proposals in response to its first call for investment in April 2016 before passing management of the €75 million fund on to the Association of European Development Finance Institutions (EDFI) and its new EDFI Management Company (EDFIMC). “Our goal is to grow ElectriFI this year. Next year, we hope to launch AgriFI. With that experience, we can think about health, education and water funds. Some people say it is impossible to find these projects but once you get out of the capital cities you will find there is lots of private and commercial activity going on already,” Frederik van den Bosch, managing director of the EDFI Management Company (EDFIMC), told Development Finance.
In Conakry, Guinea, EU International Cooperation and Development Commissioner Neven Mimica announced on March 4 the preparation of 19 new renewable energy projects, with a total potential investment of €4.8 billion. This was done during the second Board of Directors meeting of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), an Africa-owned and Africa-led initiative of the African Union. AREI was launched at COP21 in Paris in December 2015 and is receiving strong international support from development partners.
The Minister of Finance, Trade and Blue Economy, Américo Ramos, of the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, has officially announced the Power Sector Recovery Project, which aims to reform the energy sector in the country. The project includes the rehabilitation and expansion of the Contador Hydroelectric project and strengthening of the national utility Empresa de Agua e Electricidade de São Tomé e Príncipe (EMAE). The Minister indicated that “this occasion marks the partnership of the World Bank and the European Investment Bank with the Government of São Tomé and Príncipe, to assist in the recovery of the energy sector, to increase the generation of electricity with renewable resources, and to improve the reliability of the electricity supply, with a shared vision of sustainable energy supply for all, respectful of the environment.”
East African states have been asked to invest more resources in the development of renewable power projects like solar energy where the region has a better comparative advantage as compared to Hydropower which is more expensive to finance. Development partners say the climate conditions in some countries within the community such as Uganda supports the development of solar power but the country has not yet exploited such opportunities which have kept Uganda depending too much on Hydropower and biomass as sources of Energy. Speaking during the commissioning of the US$ 19 million solar photovoltaic project in Soroti, Eastern Uganda, the Head of European Union delegation in Uganda Ambassador Kristain Schmidt said Uganda is conducive for solar power development because of the climatic conditions and the regulatory framework.
Despite the current economic hardships in Europe, the Western donors have continued to provide development aid to Uganda, with Germany and France providing 110 million Euros (Shs417b) for electricity project in western Uganda to foster national development. Muzizi hydropower Project (HPP) is being developed at the lower course of the Muzizi River, south east of Lake Albert located in Kibaale District, western Uganda. However, government officials say the project footprint will extend to districts of Kabarole, Kyenjojo and Ntoroko.
The Council recalls its conclusions of 20 July 2015 on EU Energy Diplomacy which underlined the need to ensure coherence between EU foreign and energy policies. The Council further recalls the Energy Union strategy and calls for Europe to become the world leader in renewable energy, including research, innovation and technologies. The Council underlines that the EU's development policy and actions in the energy sector are a fundamental part of a revitalised European energy and climate diplomacy.
The European Investment Bank or EIB has listed renewable energy, water and livestock projects as some of the sectors of the Namibian economy that it is interested in funding. Vice president Pim van Ballekom told The Namibian that his visit to Namibia this week was to explore more investment opportunities. Van Ballekom held meetings with President Hage Geingob, finance minister Calle Schlettwein and officials of NamPower and Namibia Breweries. He said the bank's lending rates are favourable since the bank is not expected to pay dividends to the 28 members of the European Union, who are its shareholders.