New African clean power projects mobilize public-private capital

11 Oct 2023
New African clean power projects mobilize public-private capital

Countries across Africa are moving from clean energy funded by government or donor funds to more private sector-led, with public-private joint ventures in Uganda and Cameroon; setting stage for future expansion

In Uganda, the government and a private solar PV developer are working to deploy a 25MW solar plant, while Cameroon has embraced private-public partnerships (PPPs) as a means of exploiting its huge hydropower resources.

AMEA signs 20-year solar PPA in Uganda

AMEA Power on September 21 announced that it had signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and Implementation Agreement (IA) for a 25MWp solar plant in Uganda.

The UAE-based renewable energy company stated that the PPA was signed with the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) while the IA was signed with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD).

This is AMEA Power’s first country transaction in East Africa. The company believes that the agreement “sets the stage for future expansion into the wind and battery energy storage sectors in Uganda and the wider EAC Region.”

The developer states that the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) is mandated as the lender for the transaction. The EAIF is funded by the governments of the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Sweden, and mobilizes public and private capital for infrastructure development in sub-Saharan Africa. The EAIF lends between $10 million and $65 million for these infrastructure projects.

A joint venture for hydropower development in Cameroon

The Cameroonian media outlet, Business in Cameroon, reported 26 September that Électricité de France (EDF) and the Cameroon government have set up a joint venture (JV), the Kikot Hydro Power Company (KHPC), for the development of a hydro project.

The KHPC will develop the project on the Sanaga River about 60 km northwest of Yaoundé. The project includes a dam, its reservoir and a 450 to 500MW hydroelectric plant. This is EDF’s second hydroelectric power project in the central African country.  

According to EDF’s timeline of engagement, Cameroon and EDF signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development of the Kikot hydropower plant in November 2019, and subsequently a development agreement in June 2021.

The total project cost is estimated at $1.1 bn. The EDF and the Cameroonian government aim to raise the financing needed from the World Bank Group, particularly the International Finance Corporation (IFC).  

The World Bank Group is already financing the 420MW Nachtigal Hydropower Project currently under construction on the Sanaga River, 65km from the capital Yaoundé. The bank provided $550m of the total $1.1bn project cost for the plant which is scheduled for commissioning next year.

EDF is currently carrying out the preliminary design, environmental, societal and technical studies for the Kikot Hydro Power project. The company says that these assessments will enable it to “design a sustainable and efficient project that respects the environment and the people.”

KHPC is aiming to reach financial close for the project in 2024, begin construction in 2025 and operations by 2030.

Energy & Utilties reported this year that African countries including Uganda will receive rising sovereign wealth investment in their energy sectors. E&U also reported that UETCL had contracted for a mobile substation for the Kampala Metropolitan Transmission System Project

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