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ACF announces five energy projects for 2017

20 June 2017

ACF announces five energy projects for 2017

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Access Power, a developer, owner and operator of power projects in emerging markets in partnership with EREN Renewable Energy a global independent power producer has announced  the five shortlisted candidates of the 2017 Access Co-Development Facility (ACF) competition, the third edition of the innovative US$7 million funding and support platform for renewable energy projects in Africa.

This year's projects were selected from a pool of 82 qualifying projects from across the continent, representing a full spectrum of renewable energy technologies. The successfully shortlisted projects will progress to the final stage of the evaluation process where they will have the opportunity to present their projects to a panel of industry experts, comprised of senior representatives from Power Africa, InfraCo Africa, Proparco, the Dutch Development Bank (FMO), Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Access Power at the Africa Energy Forum in Copenhagen on June 7, 2017. A maximum of three projects will be selected to win a share of the US$7 million prize. The winners will be invited to sign a Joint Development Agreement with Access Power who will together with EREN Renewable Energy, take a majority equity stake and help fund third-party development costs, including feasibility and grid studies, environmental and social impact assessments, as well as due diligence fees.

The five shortlisted projects are as follows:

Zimbabwe: 75MW Kadoma Solar PV project
Tanzania: 30MW Kondoa Solar PV project
Rwanda: 9.7MW Rukarara Hydro project
Ethiopia: 75MW Beseka Solar project
Ghana: 48MW Winneba Wind project

With the topic of rural electrification in the spotlight during the recent World Economic Forum Africa Summit as one of the key catalysts for economic growth, the ACF is creating a route to market for sustainable energy projects that can combat energy poverty and provide long-term economic growth throughout the continent. From the 23 countries represented in this year's edition, 18 have rural electrification rates below 30%, further highlighting the challenges faced by many African nations in providing power to those communities.

West Africa is a region that has been highlighted as a key growth area for Access Power as well as for renewable energy technologies in general. This was reflected in this year's applications with over a third of all projects originating from Ghana and Nigeria. Nearly a quarter of project applications hailed from Nigeria, home of the ACF 2015 winning 50MW Abiba solar project as well as the 2016 ACF winner, a 50MW Lagos wind project. The Abiba solar project is approaching financial closure while the Lagos wind project is into the development phase.

Meanwhile across the Rift Valley, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda combined make up over a quarter of total project applications in a clear illustration of East Africa's unique combination of favourable geographical conditions and an increasingly supportive regulatory environment for renewable energy.

Southern Africa has also been well represented with a 75MW solar PV plant from Zimbabwe being shortlisted. Zimbabwe in particular is a country with high yet largely untapped solar irradiance, representing an important opportunity for low carbon energy development in a country where only 33% of the population have access to electricity.

For the third year in a row, solar projects formed the largest share of projects with just shy of 50% of all submissions. However, there was a diverse split across the remaining project technologies, with increases in the percentage of wind and hybrid technology projects compared to the previous year, demonstrating the ability of the ACF to attract projects of all sizes and across geographies and technologies.

Vahid Fotuhi, Managing Director of Access Power commented: “The ACF 2017 is a unique platform that we at Access Power are truly proud of and one that continues to grow. This year's applications reflect the changing renewable energy landscape across the continent and reemphasize the need for a platform like the ACF which provides support and funding for exciting projects that have the opportunity to change communities, livelihoods and drive economic growth. It is no coincidence that many of this year’s applications have come from countries with low [rural] electrification rates and increasing support for driving access to power across Africa further highlights the value of the programme.

Christophe Fleurence, Vice-President Business Development for Africa, EREN Renewable Energy, commented: that it channels international support to promote African talents and opportunities in countries with high growth potential, the ACF demonstrates how local entrepreneurs, private investors and public stakeholders can successfully work together to close bankable, affordable and sustainable power projects. The ACF perfectly illustrates EREN Renewable Energy’s commitment to supporting renewable energy in Africa through innovative ways. After commissioning the Soroti solar power plant in Uganda this year, we have started the construction of a captive hybrid solar project for a mining company in Burkina Faso. In addition, we are continuing our efforts to deploy rural electrification solutions through a transformational technology developed by our partner, Winch Energy.

Source: Business and Financial Times