Friday, 11 June

Dear <<First Name>>

On Thursday it was announced that South Africa has increased the Nersa licensing threshold, which has been weighing down the county’s economic growth for over a decade, from 1MW to 100MW.

This decision is not only a major breakthrough in private electricity provision, but a necessary move taking the country one step further from its reliance on largely coal power stations – the unreliability of which was unfortunately clear to see earlier this week when the country plunged into stage 4 blackouts midwinter, amid COVID-19 vaccine rollouts.

The surprise move by President Cyril Ramaphosa aims to help in reducing the impact of load shedding, for both businesses and households, and achieving greater energy security. It is hoped this amendment will drive investment, catalyse economic growth and reduce reliance on the national utility Eskom.

I expect this development will lead to great progress, helping to push forward the development of a new-generation, hybrid energy system in South Africa where there is distributed generation and the grid plays an important role in maintaining equilibrium.

As we shift towards the clean energy transition, and renewables continue to develop – especially solar – to the stage where it’s the cheapest form of power, this smart grid is where the future is headed.

This isn’t the death of Eskom but, as Ramaphosa described it, a “rebirth” towards improved reliability, greater profitability and more innovative solutions. 



Managing Director, Camco Clean Energy

Story of the week
A recent South African court decision ruled that the environmental permit for a planned coal-fired power plant has expired. The decision was spurred by a legal challenge brought forward by the environmental justice group groundWork and will have far reaching effects for the industry.

West Africa

Gabon: Ausar Energy will deliver a solar hybrid mini-grid system in July (Afrik21)
- The plant will be located in western Gabon and is set to increase the country’s installed capacity by 400kW. The national utility will be responsible for operating and maintaining the facility.

Nigeria: Government agrees to USD200 million settlement for Mambila power plant (The Nation)
- The sum will be paid to Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited as final settlement for the Mambila power project dispute.

East Africa

Ethiopia: KenGen commences drilling geothermal well for Ethiopia Electric Power (ESI)
- This marks the start of the USD70.4 million contract's second phase.

Ethiopia: Egypt and Sudan urge Ethiopia to negotiate seriously (Engineering News)
- The two countries will coordinate efforts to bring the Ethiopian government back to the mediation table to reach an agreement on filing and operating a giant dam on the Blue Nile.

Kenya: Lake Turkana records highest ever capacity factor of 75.8% (ESI)
- The record figure was owing to strong wind and diligent maintenance of the farm.

Southern Africa

South Africa: Environmental approval for the Khanyisa coal-fired power plant expires (ESI)
- This North Gauteng High Court decision has effectively put a halt to the proposed coal plant and will have repercussions for any and all planned coal-fired stations in the future.

South Africa: GE releases position paper on the country’s energy transition (ESI)
- The paper titled “Accelerating South Africa’s energy transition with gas power and renewables” addresses how combining the two power sources could accelerate development.

South Africa: Government increases licensing threshold from 1MW to 100MW (Engineering News)
- This decision will be implemented in the next 60 days and exceeds the minimum threshold of 50MW which the private sector had initially proposed.

Africa - general

General: Winch Energy launches crowdfunding campaign for off-grid systems (PV-Magazine)
- The company aims to raise GBP1.5 million to accelerate the rollout of projects in Sierra Leone and Uganda.

General: Pawame secures USD2.5 million and launches Series A round for African expansion (Energy Mix Report)
- The off-grid solar start-up has acquired USD1.7 million in grant commitments and an additional USD750,000 in equity, including USD250,000 from Launch Africa.

Rest of World

General: Clean energy investment in developing countries must hit USD1 trillion to reach net zero (PV-Tech)
- According to the IEA, spending must rise seven-fold from USD150 billion last year to in excess of USD1 trillion annually by 2030 in order to achieve net zero by 2050.

General: Finance risks falling behind in a greening world (Bloomberg)
- Financial institutions risk losing out if they dont adapt and take rigorous steps to invest in fighting climate change.

Solar: Built solar assets are “chronically underperforming” (PV-Tech)
- kWh Analytics’ new Solar Risk Assessment has found that modules are degrading faster than expected, which is affecting P50 models.

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