Coordinator Update

First, a sincere congratulations to all of our colleagues who worked hard to reach an historic climate agreement at COP 21 in Paris.

By Andrew M. Herscowitz

Dear Partners,

First, a sincere congratulations to all of our colleagues who worked hard to reach an historic climate agreement at COP 21 in Paris. The leadership displayed at all levels was inspiring. Power Africa led and participated in several events at COP 21, where we announced new partnerships (including agreements with Norway, the UK and the International Renewable Energy Agency), the release of the French version of the Understanding Power Purchase Agreements handbook, a $10 million commitment to the European Union’s ElectriFI project preparation facility, and the launch of Women in African Power.

Here are some highlights from COP 21 and beyond:

Partnership with Norway

USAID Associate Administrator Eric Postel and Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding at COP 21 for Norway to become part of the Power Africa team. Norway’s commitment includes a goal of adding 300 MW of power per year via Norfund, Norway’s Development Finance Institution, and a general budgetary commitment of approximately $150 million to advance renewable and off-grid energy projects. We have enjoyed a strong on-the-ground relationship with Norway since Power Africa’s inception, and we are very excited about formalizing this partnership.

USAID Associate Administrator Eric Postel and Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende formally signed a Memorandum of

Partnership with Energy Africa

At COP 21 in Paris, Power Africa formalized our long relationship with the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID). While we threw our support behind DfID’s Energy Africa access campaign (the UK’s off-grid access campaign) during its October launch, USAID’s Eric Postel and the United Kingdom’s Parliamentary Undersecretary for Development Nick Hurd signed a broader MOU that has Power Africa and Energy Africa collaborating in areas that include Power Pools, off-grid systems and the geothermal sector.

USAID’s Eric Postel and the United Kingdom’s Parliamentary Undersecretary for Development Nick Hurd signed a broader MOU that ha

Partnership with IRENA

The International Renewable Energy Agency featured its Marketplace – a database that allows project developers, suppliers, and others to share information about renewable energy business opportunities. The Marketplace relies on third parties to enter the information on a voluntary basis. To help better populate the Marketplace with project-specific information, Power Africa and IRENA Director General Adnan Amin entered into an MOU that will have us work to link the Marketplace with Power Africa’s Tracking Tool (PATT), which now is tracking well over 30,000 MW of projects across sub-Saharan Africa. PATT has been a huge hit on my iPhone in the meetings I had over the last few weeks, and we hope to release the app publicly in early 2016.

The International Renewable Energy Agency featured its Marketplace – a database that allows project developers, suppliers, and o

The African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI)

G-7 ministers took to the stage in Paris to announce a combined $10 billion of support for the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), an African-led initiative to promote the development of renewable energy projects. AREI has identified through the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) that Africa has the potential for 300 GW of renewable energy. This effort aims to add 10 GW of renewable energy by 2020.

G-7 ministers took to the stage in Paris to announce a combined $10 billion of support for the African Renewable Energy Initiati

Launch of Women in African Power

During the Power Africa event at COP 21 on December 9, we formally launched Women in African Power, a Power Africa activity designed to create business and networking opportunities for women working in the African energy sector. A recent NPR story reaffirmed the importance of such efforts. At the event, Swedish International Development Agency’s (Sida) Director General Charlotte Petri-Gornitzka and Wanjira Mathai of wPower highlighted the important roles that women play both in the home and at the corporate and senior government levels in advancing the Power Sector. Look for future Women in African Power activities in the coming months.

, Swedish International Development Agency’s (Sida) Director General Charlotte Petri-Gornitzka and Wanjira Mathai of wPower

Release of French Version of Understanding Power Purchase Agreements

On the sidelines of COP 21, Power Africa officially released a French language version of the popular Understanding Power Purchase Agreements handbook. With more than 10,000 copies in print and thousands more downloaded online, this guide is considered by power sector experts as one of the most vital resources to help drive private investment in power projects in Africa. A special thanks to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) for putting together a great event at the Paris law offices of Allen & Overy. Participants included government officials from Benin, Senegal, and even Kenya.

ALSF and CLDP Driving Deals

The week before the launch of the PPA book, I met with Benin’s Minister of Energy, Oil and Mining, Spero Mensah, in London. I asked him how things were going with the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF), which Power Africa is supporting as a tool to provide host governments with access to high-quality international legal counsel when negotiating PPAs. He said the ALSF and Allen & Overy had helped them negotiate and sign two PPAs – a 5 MW solar deal and 100 MW gas project. I mentioned the upcoming launch of the French version of the PPA handbook, and he told me that he distributed copies of the handbook to his entire team before the PPA negotiations. This story serves as just one example of how the work that we’re doing is tying together well to move deals forward. We have a great partner in Benin.

Acting on Climate, Reducing Poverty, Powering Africa

Just as COP 21 was getting underway, USAID published a blog post about how Power Africa and USAID are taking action on climate – and tackling extreme poverty – by working with our partners in African governments and the private sector to stimulate investment in clean energy solutions.

PHOTOS: Power Africa at COP 21

This Power Africa Flickr album holds a host of photos of our team and partners in action at COP 21. Thanks to all who contributed images.

Power from Rwanda’s Lake Kivu

Power Africa partner Symbion Power signed a Power Purchase Agreement in Rwanda to develop 55 MW of methane power from Lake Kivu. Symbion’s project is the second major, grid-level methane extraction project from Lake Kivu, which is shared by Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is one of the only large lakes in the world that contains vast quantities of pressurized methane hundreds of feet below the surface, dissolved in the water. Symbion also continues to plug away in other countries on a diverse set of deals, including the 400 MW Mtwara gas-fired generation project in Tanzania. At the “Powering Africa: Tanzania Investment Conference” on December 3-4, Symbion Power highlighted its plans to develop the US$900.0 million power plant that will initially send power north to Dar es Salaam and later to the west to Songea and to the south to Mozambique. Symbion plans to invest in a 600km, 400kV transmission line in partnership with the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) to Songea town in southwest Tanzania, allowing the entire southern region of the country to have access to power. Power Africa supported a pre-feasibility study for the high-voltage transmission line between Mtwara and Somanga Fungo (Kilwa), which will send the power to the north.

Kwendin Biomass Pilot Project in Liberia Filmed by Huffington Post

The Kwendin biomass energy pilot project currently under construction and funded by USAID will be filmed during the installation phase by the Huffington Post's "What's New?” The show will also conduct an interview with the USAID Mission Director highlighting Power Africa's involvement in enabling access to electricity in rural Liberia.

2015 Liberia Electricity Law Enacted

The U.S. Embassy was presented with a copy of the handbill of the 2015 Liberia Electricity Law, which President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf signed on October 23 and printed into handbill on October 26. The law, which Power Africa played a significant role in helping establish to pave the way for private sector investment in the energy sector, creates the legal framework for the sector to permit such private sector participation. The law also establishes a regulator.

MCC Signs Compact with Liberia

On November 2, Liberian Vice President Joseph Boakai, Minister of Finance and Development Planning Amara Konneh, and Liberian Ambassador to the United States Jeremiah Sulunteh joined MCC CEO Dana J. Hyde and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Todd Haskell to celebrate the signing of MCC’s US$ 257 million compact with Liberia. The Compact will strengthen Liberia’s relationship with Power Africa, as it aims to enhance power generation and support the development of foundational policies as the sector modernizes and becomes more commercially viable.

OPIC Financing for African Infrastructure Fund

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) Board approved $50 million in financing for the Meridiam Infrastructure Africa Fund, which is expected to make investments in the renewable power sector. OPIC also signed an agreement to provide $91 million to ContourGlobal to finance the 53 MW HFO power plant in Senegal. In addition to the OPIC financing, the IFC is also providing a cross currency swap. This project is OPIC’s first financing of a utility scale power project in Senegal.

Joseph Brandt, CEO of ContourGlobal, told us that the Cap des Biches project is “by far the fastest project that I have ever worked on in Africa, and Power Africa made all the difference. This project would have taken four years in the absence of Power Africa. Instead it took one. This is the power of an idea that is embraced and sponsored by the United States." That’s great validation of the Power Africa model. Congrats to all involved.

MCC and Commerce Investment Opportunity Roadshow

On November 30, a two-week, four-city “Procurement and Investment Opportunity Roadshow” kicked-off in Washington, D.C., with delegations from Ghana and Benin participating to highlight current and upcoming business and investment opportunities related to Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) power projects across Africa. More than 90 private sector participants attended. The roadshow continued with robust attendance at events in Chicago on December 2, Los Angeles on December 4, and in Las Vegas on December 9, where it concluded with an event at the Power-Gen International Conference. Participants included U.S. energy equipment suppliers, project developers, operators and investors, as well as prominent government figures from Ghana and Benin.  

White Paper on Risk Reallocation to Drive New Deals

Last month, the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Sustainable Development published a White Paper I drafted (“Risk Reallocation: Tools for Infrastructure Development in Frontier Markets”). The paper is meant to dispel any misconception that there are not enough power projects out there. Indeed, there are plenty, but bankability remains an obstacle, and one that Power Africa and our partners are addressing.

EXIM Bank Re-Authorized

After overwhelmingly bipartisan votes in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, President Obama signed EXIM Bank’s reauthorization into law, allowing EXIM to restart the work needed to meet its mission of supporting American jobs and equipping American businesses with the tools necessary to compete for global sales. The reauthorization, which extends through September 30, 2019, is great news for Power Africa partners.

Thanks, and Happy Holidays

As has been the case every month since Power Africa’s launch, this past month has been an extremely busy one. The reward is evident in the new partnerships, collaborations and tools announced at COP 21, and in the ever advancing progress toward our goals in sub-Saharan Africa.

While our collective work never truly stops, I hope you are all taking time to relax and enjoy the holidays with family and friends. I look forward to seeing many of you in January at the Powering Africa Summit in Washington, if not sooner. Until then, may you have a joyous and peaceful holiday season, and best wishes for the new year.

Andy

Last updated: June 07, 2016

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