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Green Globe: UK invests £100M in clean energy projects in Africa

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Workers install solar panels at a solar photovoltaic facility in South Africa in 2016. The United Kingdom's investment will support 40 new renewable energy projects, the government announced on Dec. 18.
Source: Associated Press

An £100 million investment from the United Kingdom government will help support renewable energy projects across Africa, as the continent looks to unlock its renewable energy potential.

According to a Dec. 18 announcement, the new investment triples funds for the Renewable Energy Performance Platform, a program originally developed by the United Nations Environment Programme and the European Investment Bank to spur clean-energy development in countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania and Cameroon. With the new funding, the program will support up to 40 additional renewable energy projects with nameplate capacity of up to 25 MW over the next five years. The money from the U.K. government could attract another £156 million of private finance into renewable energy markets in Africa by 2023.

"This £100 million will help communities harness the power of their natural resources to provide hundreds of thousands of people with electricity for the first time," the U.K.'s energy and clean growth minister, Claire Perry, said in a statement. "Building these clean, reliable sources of energy will also create thousands of quality jobs in these growing green economies."

Emerging markets have become a hotbed for renewable energy development. Developing countries added 186,000 MW of new power generating capacity to their electric grids in 2017, including 94,000 MW of wind and solar power, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Intergovernmental organizations, such as the International Renewable Energy Agency, have said that many countries across Africa have the potential to dramatically boost clean energy usage, if they can set aggressive procurement targets and address issues such as transmission and financing.

Countries in the Asia-Pacific region will continue to lead the world's solar photovoltaic market through 2025, according to a new report from data and analytics firm GlobalData.

China, India, Japan and Australia will drive global solar PV installations to surpass 1,000 GW of cumulative capacity by 2025, the firm forecasts. Much of the growth is due to the abundance of solar energy in sunnier nations and to supportive government policies, according to GlobalData. Asia-Pacific currently leads the global solar PV market with a 58.3% share of the world's cumulative solar PV capacity in 2018.

China, the world's largest solar PV market, saw annual additions decline in 2018 to about 42,000 MW from 53,100 MW in 2017 due to policy changes, GlobalData power analyst Piyali Das said. However, the country will continue to dominate the world solar industry and install more solar capacity than any other country through 2025. India and Japan's solar markets are also showing encouraging signs through auctions and national targets.

"Cutting down annual additions in China, India's gaining momentum in the solar PV market and increase in auction-based competitive bidding are the significant factors impacting the solar PV market in 2018 and beyond," Das said.

Palestine's state-run energy agency has rejected threats from Israel over renewable energy projects in the West Bank that are connected to Palestine's grid system, according to a Dec. 8 report from U.K.-based Middle East Monitor. The Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority said it gave licenses to projects in certain areas that it has jurisdiction over in the West Bank, adding that the Israeli government's efforts are undermining the projects.

According to Egypt-based intergovernmental group the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Palestine's energy sector is virtually completely dependent on imports. Some 89% of total electricity supply comes from Israel's state-run utility, and the energy capacity installed in Palestine comes from fossil fuels.

The nation has established a goal to obtain 10% of its domestic electricity generation from renewable energy by 2020.


* Chinese solar companies could be owed almost $300 million in trade tariff rebates by the U.S. government following a low-profile court ruling, PV Tech reported.

* GE Renewable Energy will supply turbines to a 300-MW wind farm in India, the company announced.

* Four cities in Ukraine have reaffirmed their commitment to secure 100% of their electricity from clean energy sources, according to Reuters.

* Britain's energy regulator intends to cut returns to investors in U.K. electricity and gas network companies as the nation's energy sector pivots toward renewable energy.

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