Monday, 19 January 2015

Sugar cane for bioenergy and sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa

source Sappi positivity
This article, published at the outset of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly, makes the case for agro-industrial development based on modern bioenergy – sugar cane in particular – as a promising pathway for sub-Saharan African countries.
IRENA has set a goal of doubling the world’s share of renewable energy by 2030. The authors argue that for sub-Saharan Africa, with plenty of sunshine and land, this presents an opportunity for development that is not only sustainable, but also spreads the benefits more widely than with fossil-fuel wealth.
No region in the world has greater biomass energy potential. There is plentiful land, sun and labour to grow sugar cane and other energy-rich crops. Agro-industrial development based on modern bioenergy could bring new jobs and higher incomes to rural areas, provide ene
rgy security, and reduce forest degradation and air pollution associated with traditional biomass use.
Many sub-Saharan African countries are hamstrung not only by unaffordable oil prices, but by the lack of basic energy and transport infrastructure and institutional capacity. Their agricultural systems are equally under-developed, with rural populations often dependent on subsistence farming, which is highly vulnerable to climatic changes and extreme weather. Traditional biomass – burning wood, agricultural residues and dung – is the main source of energy, reducing quality of life and hindering economic productivity. A more systematic effort to develop bioenergy could help modernise the agricultural sector, raise incomes, and contribute to improved infrastructure and energy access.

Source: Outreach, UK

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Access to Renewable Energy

Energy Cooking Stove. Photo: UNDP Nigeria
The energy sector is of strategic importance to the Nigerian economy, and a major driver for growth. It is a macro economic importance; it also has a major role to play in reducing poverty, improving productivity and enhancing the general quality of life of Nigerian People.
However, Nigeria is currently facing an energy crisis, with only 47% of the population having access to electricity; deficiencies in access to modern thermal and mechanical energy services, as well as insufficient public capitalization of the oil and gas production. There are important advantages to be gained from an increased access to renewable energy sources and services.
Expanding access to renewable energy services in rural and peri-urban areas is associated with a number of challenges, and innovative approaches have to be considered. The UNDP Access to Renewable Energy Programme focuses on increasing the national capacity to invest in and utilize renewable energy resources to improve the access to modern energy services for MSMEs. These are the services many Nigerian MSMEs either lack completely or access erratically through electricity grid which hampers their potential for growth.
The BOI/UNDP Access to Renewable Energy Project’s main focus is to increase the national capacity to invest in and utilize renewable energy resources to improve access to modern energy services for MSMEs and other households.
It also aims to build capacity in the business and financial sectors to incorporate renewable energy in business planning and development, and to support the evolution of renewable energy policy and public planning. It is aimed at building capacity of the following:
I.    MSMEs to incorporate renewable energy either as a business in and of itself, or as service for business development
II.    Financial Institutions to better understand and assess the credit and financial risks of renewable energy investments and services
III.    Government to develop and implement renewable energy policies and regulatory frameworks
Within the overall framework of increasing access to modern energy services, the strategy for the Access to Renewable Energy Programme comprise three outcome areas:
I.    Foster pro-development energy services by facilitating an expansion of renewable energy services accessible to MSMEs
II.    Support renewable energy investments by building up capacity within the financial sector as well as among users and providers of energy services
III.    Promote policies and institutional frameworks for an inclusive renewable energy market

source: undp

Access and EREN launch Africa focused power development company

Access Power MEA (‘Access’), a power project developer focused on the Middle East and Africa, and EREN, a leader in renewable energy, have announced the launch of Access Infra Africa, a vehicle that will be dedicated to invest in the early stage development of power projects in Africa.
Access Infra Africa will be the largest privately funded vehicle of its kind. The partners intend to implement an ambitious development plan leading to the realisation of a portfolio of power assets in Africa worth over 500 million US Dollars.
Under the agreement, EREN will acquire a strategic equity stake in Access and a seat on the board.
David Corchia, CEO of EREN Développement, said: “Access Infra Africa perfectly illustrates EREN’s strategy of developing renewable projects in areas of the world where renewable energy represents a competitive answer to growing local energy needs, such as Africa. We are thrilled to bring our global expertise in the field of renewable energy to Access’ world-class team and strong regional presence.”
Reda El Chaar, chairman of Access, said: “EREN and its founders are without a doubt, global pioneers of renewable energy. We are delighted to be joining forces to develop sustainable and affordable power assets across Africa which today houses seven out of the ten world’s fastest growing economies.”
El Chaar added: “Africa’s energy sector and wider economy could be transformed by the billions of dollars of financing available for Africa. However, this funding cannot have an impact without well-resourced and experienced developers willing to take early-stage project risk and turn good concepts into bankable projects.”
On 4th January 2015, the Access Infra Africa consortium was pre-qualified by Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity to develop large scale wind and solar power plants as part of the first round of Egypt’s renewable energy procurement program.
In December 2014, Access was awarded the contract to build, own and operate the first solar power plant in Uganda, a 10 MWp solar photovoltaic facility in Soroti, Northeastern Uganda. Once complete, the plant will be the second largest privately owned solar PV project in Africa excluding South Africa.
Access Power MEA (‘Access’) was founded in 2012 with the aim of becoming a leading developer of power assets in the Middle East and Africa. Access has assembled a development team with a track record of financially closing ~30 GW of power projects across the globe with a specific focus on the MEA region.
Access is developing a portfolio of power assets in Africa through its subsidiary Access Infra Africa (AIA). Today, AIA is actively seeking the development of a portfolio of renewable energy projects in 15 Africa countries. AIA is technology agnostic and focuses on developing affordable and sustainable power assets.
EREN Développement is focused on developing power projects in countries where renewable energy represents an economically viable response to growing energy demands.
Through partnerships established with local developers, Eren has accumulated a portfolio of over 400 MW of renewable energy assets in operation or under construction, and over 1,500 MW of assets under development in less than three years. Eren Développement is a subsidiary of EREN, the first group dedicated to natural resource efficiency, founded by Pâris Mouratoglou and David Corchia.

Monday, 12 January 2015

UNIDO's Africa Programme

The main challenge for development experts dealing with Africa is poverty alleviation which remains a serious issue in many parts of the continent. UNIDO's programmes share the common objective to give people the tools, skills, education and infrastructure to pull themselves out of poverty and create sustainable livelihoods. The African Union Commission, with UNIDO’s assistance, has formulated the “Action Plan for the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa (AIDA)”, a strategy which aims to mobilize both financial and non-financial resources and increase Africa’s competitiveness with the rest of the world. Since the Industrial Development Decade of Africa of the 1980s and 90s, and the Alliance for Africa’s Industrialization (AAI) of 2003, this Action Plan is the latest far-reaching initiative endorsed by the African leaders.

Another key objective of our programmes is to add value to goods for export and develop local production capacities. Overall, Africa lags behind, accounting for less than 3 per cent of global gross output, and less than 1 per cent of global manufacturing output. UNIDO responds by undertaking a range of activities to upgrade value chains, bringing a product through various phases of processing to its final market destination. Strengthening local production capacities as well as enhancing skilled work force are the central prerequisites for an effective and sustainable upgrading of value chains.
UNIDO is confident that the combined actions of UNIDO, Africa’s governments and their development partners in the public and private sectors will tackle the challenges successfully, accelerate the continent’s industrial development and spread wealth among its people.