.Solar and mobile technology will fuel Africa’s future economy

  Backyard industrialisation has been tried; it was a miserable failure. During the so-called Great Leap Forward in China under Mao Zedong, peasants were encouraged to erect steel furnaces in their back yards. Predictably, most people had no idea how to build a mini steel plant much less make steel, and there was no market for their wares. The result was economic disaster. But you don’t have to invoke Mao to see that most production tends to be centralised. Manufacturing tends to cluster in factory towns, and these towns are…

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A nuclear future awaits South Africa

  JOHANNESBURG – We have heard a great deal about the price of coal recently and how critical the coal price is to the production of electricity at a coal-fired power station. This is rather obvious. What people are generally very unaware of is how nuclear fuel works. Yes, people have heard of uranium going into a nuclear reactor. But you don’t throw blocks of uranium into a reactor, like charcoal on the braai. The uranium is fabricated into “fuel elements”. The traditional type is a group of tubes about…

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Germany-Africa forum commits to invest multi-million euros in energy startups

    JOHANNESBURG – The Germany Africa Business Forum, which aims to strengthen investment ties between the European country and Africa, said on Thursday it had, with private partners from the energy industry, launched a multi-million euro funding commitment to invest in German energy startups that focus on Africa. “Our initial goal is to support the investment in German companies and to start with funding allocations by the end of this year,” GABF co-founder Sebastian Wagner said in a statement. “Through our partners, we will immediately get involved in investing…

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Kangnas Wind Farm celebrates two major construction milestones

  The South African Kangnas Wind Farm is celebrating the simultaneous completion of two major construction milestones, namely the erection of the first of its 61 wind turbines and the completion of its final turbine foundation.  In a company statement, the Kangnas Wind Farm, situated in South Africa’s Northern Cape, highlighted that both milestones have been completed slightly ahead of schedule and within budget.         Catch up on the latest news in South Africa’s wind industry The first wind turbine lifting is a pivotal point in the construction of the…

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Coal and nuclear back on the energy grid

Nuclear power and clean coal are back on the energy grid. That’s one of the key takeaways from Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe’s budget presentation last week. Mantashe has taken over the energy portfolio from Jeff Radebe, and immediately signalled a shift in direction. “As a country, we must avoid the currently polarised debate on energy, pitted as coal versus renewables. The debate should be about the effective use of all the energy sources at our disposal, to achieve security of supply,” he said. Read: Mantashe says all…

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Zambia clean energy project wins international climate award for finance innovation

JOHANNESBURG – The Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia (BGFZ), a Sweden-funded programme that has brought clean, off-grid energy to over 600,000 people, has won the 2019 Ashden award in the innovative finance category for its work to kick-start a market for affordable services. The programme was launched in 2016 with the aim to expand access to clean off-grid energy in rural and peri-urban areas in Zambia. It supports four companies and works closely with the government in its efforts to build a thriving market. It is well on its…

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Seychelles kickstarts Africa’s first floating solar pv project

Implementation of Africa’s first independent power producer floating solar photovoltaic (FPV) project is continuing in the Seychelles. The project, launched by the Seychelles Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change and the Seychelles Energy Commission, will be the first utility-scale, private-sector funded floating solar project in Africa, and aims to support the country’s transition to renewable energy. The project is being implemented by the Government of Seychelles and the Public Utilities Corporation with the support of the African Legal Support Facility and the Clinton Foundation, with Trinity International LLP and Multiconsult Norge…

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De-risking South Africa’s transition to a new energy future

CAPE TOWN – On the African continent, there is appetite for major infrastructure developments that are only hampered by challenges of capacity, whereas the picture is almost inverse in South Africa at present. “We are sitting on a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 1.5 percent at present that affects infrastructure investment, which is further exacerbated by an investment freeze as businesses adopt a wait-and-see approach ahead of the elections in May,” says Tshepo Mofubetsoana, Broker Centre Manager – Construction & Engineering Division at Aon South Africa. “While there…

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Financing energy projects in Africa: “the traditional business model needs to change”

JOHANNESBURG – “Honestly, I think the business model for energy investment needs to change” says Penny Herbst, Director Strategy for Africa GreenCo. “There are far too many players that are comfortable with the same structures for investment, selling to an SOE (state-owned enterprise) with a government guarantee. What we really need at present is for investors to have a stake where their influence contributes to improving the Electricity Supply Industry (ESI) as a whole.  Both current investors familiar with the South African environment and those that wish to enter the…

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Agri SA concerned by NERSA’s reluctance to register small-scale generator projects

JOHANNESBURG  – Agricultural industry association Agri SA said on Monday it was concerned about what it called the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s (NERSA) reluctance to register small-scale embedded generator (SSEG) projects. In a statement, Agri SA said its members had the potential to supply the electricity needed to prevent future rolling blackouts, known as load shedding,  through small-scale solar photovoltaic installations. “It is unacceptable that farmers who want to do their part to relieve strain on the grid are not allowed to do so,” the chairman of Agri SA’s…

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