Mar 24, 2017 Last Updated 10:30 AM, Mar 24, 2017

Rwanda gives hydropower industry a boost

ABN – The Rwandan government has leased 22 small hydroelectric plants with a collective power capacity of 24.6 megawatts to private investors.

The Ministry of Infrastructure hopes the move will spur on growth in the hydropower industry.

A power consortium group has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with the ministry, which will be responsible for the plants’ operations and maintenance.

The hydroelectric plants are all situated in the northern and western provinces of Rwanda and include the 9-megawatt Kimbili Rukarara plant.

Rwanda currently has 161.2 megawatts of electricity generation capacity installed, of which 97.37 megawatts is hydroelectric, 51.7 megawatts is thermal, 8.7 megawatts solar and 3.6 megawatts gas-generated.

Another 70 megawatts will be added to the grid by the end of this year, and the government is targeting 563 megawatts’ total capacity by 2017.


Eskom posts worst results to date

ABN – South Africa’s national power utility Eskom has presented annual results that contain some of its worst performance metrics in history.

The group’s net profit fell by almost half, from R7.1 billion to R3.6 billion in the last financial year, and the completion of three major power plants has been pushed back by two years.

Eskom has been hit by factors including weaker output from its aging coal-fired power stations, delays in constructing new plants, load-shedding hurting electricity sales and thieves stealing R102 million’s worth of conductors, cabling and other equipment.

Nevertheless, acting CEO Brian Molefe presented the results in a positive light, pointing to the utility’s success in supplying electricity 96% of the time on average (notwithstanding loadshedding).

“This is not a hopeless situation,” he said. “We’re cash positive from operations.”

He added that Eskom had begun an accelerated programme to bring three more power plants – Ingula, Kusile and Medupi – onstream, with Ingula due to come online in the second half of 2016.


Uganda pushes toward oil production

ABN – Uganda has just closed applications for its first round of competitive licensing for oil blocks, undeterred by low oil prices worldwide.

Seventeen companies, including Tullow Oil and Sasol, entered applications for the six blocks offered in the Albertine Graben region around Lake Albert.

Irene Muloni, Uganda’s energy minister, told This is Africa that the country wanted “to take advantage of this decline in the oil price and therefore the decline in the operations and maintenance price”.

She added: “We can use [this time] for preparation, so by the time the oil price is up we are ready for production.”

Uganda is estimated to contain 6.5 billion barrels of oil and 500 billion cubic feet of natural gas, ranking it fourth in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of size of reserves.

The country aspires to produce its first oil by 2018.


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