Gaining Traction and Momentum
As we continue to create a level playing field for our partners to bring more megawatts (MW) and electrical connections to Africa, we continue to consolidate support for our Power Africa/Electrify Africa efforts. It’s because your results speak for themselves. A few more hundred MW reached financial close since March, and we’ve verified that more MW have come online.
Power Africa partner Endeavor, working with GE, broke ground on the Ghana Early Power project two weeks ago — an effort that many of us have been engaged in supporting over the last few years. Lake Turkana Wind project is almost completed, which will add 300 MW of wind power to the Kenyan grid once the transmission lines are completed. A 30kW solar PV mini-grid was commissioned in Eastern Zambia after having received support from the U.S. Africa Development Foundation (USADF), providing electricity to 60 households, a school, a clinic and some businesses.
This month, we’re launching Power Africa’s Tender Tracker (not to be confused with Power Africa’s Tracking Tool or PATT). We will feature the Tender Tracker in each month’s newsletter to inform our partners about featured open solicitations in different countries.
Power Africa has helped 62 projects comprising 6,692 megawatts reach financial close. Three-quarters of those projects by MW are gas. Three-quarters of the 62 projects involve renewables. 1,431 MW are operational. Power Africa has helped add 9.7 million connections, which means tens of millions of people have access to electricity who did not have access prior to Power Africa’s launch. We’re currently tracking about 700 projects that have the potential to add more than 73,000 MW of power if we can help them get across the finish line.
The 62 projects that have reached financial close are worth more than $14 billion. The Power Africa Coordinator’s Office has disbursed about $150 million to help achieve those goals — a leverage of approximately 90:1 of private to public funding. Other U.S. government agencies have supported these projects, providing billions of dollars of financing that comes at low cost to the U.S. taxpayer given historically low default rates. Power Africa has more than $54 billion of commitments from its more than 140 public and private sector partners to achieve its goals.
Power Africa’s impact is being felt in the U.S., as well. Partnership with Power Africa offers growing U.S. businesses an entry point for pursuing expanding market opportunities. We spoke with one family-owned coal company in Kentucky that is considering adding solar and biomass and sees a clear advantage for Power Africa partners. The knowledge and contacts that Power Africa has gained over the last few years are helping U.S. industry. Power Africa has also had a direct link to creating U.S. jobs and exports. We estimate that by 2030, Power Africa’s deal flow could lead to about 40,000 U.S. jobs and billions more in exports.
The added value Power Africa brings to the table was a focal point in our discussion last week with Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), one of the authors of the Electrify Africa Act. We sat down with him and shared many examples of how we’re helping close deals and how we are getting people connected to electricity for the first time. We shared anecdotes about how Power Africa’s team on the ground and our information resources are transforming the market, and we also talked about some of the challenges we’re facing with host government policies and currency issues, as well as some of the challenges that our partners are facing. We exchanged ideas about how to step up our efforts to get more people connected to the grid so that they can power businesses, and we shared examples of how the off-grid space is about more than just a light bulb. Sen. Corker was eager to hear about our progress and our “all-of-the-above” technology approach to get people and businesses electricity.
Two former members of Congress, Senator Richard Lugar and former Congressman Jim Kolbe, also recently endorsed Power Africa as a model for public-private partnerships. In their guest piece for Forbes on April 10, the two identified the risk and reward in sustaining U.S. development assistance efforts:
“We recognize that development is challenging work that may take time to demonstrate results…. With a results oriented focus of development programs including PEPFAR and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Trump White House is inheriting a set of modernized development agencies that continue to improve. Through Power Africa, a multi-agency initiative, supported by Congress through recently enacted legislation, USAID is mobilizing more than $40 billion from private-sector partners and already delivering power to 6 million people…. We should continue to build on an effectiveness agenda that supports ending global hunger and extreme poverty and creating educational and economic opportunity so that developing countries may become safe and stable partners of the United States in the global economy.”
Working with global leaders, we’re coordinating efforts to achieve universal access to clean, affordable energy. At the Sustainable Energy for All Forum (SE4ALL) Forum, held April 3–5 in New York, Director of our Energy Office Kate Steel led a session with utility leaders to discuss how they have made significant advances in energy productivity and where they still need to ramp up.
We will see some of you at African Utility Week (AUW) May 16–18, 2017, in Cape Town. This event is a great opportunity to connect with the many U.S. companies active in generation, transmission, and distribution, metering, and more who will be present. We’re very excited to announce that many members of our Women in African Power (WiAP) network have been nominated for awards at the African Utility Week Industry Awards, with the winners announced on May 17. We’ll also be co-hosting a WiAP lunch at AUW on May 16, and hope to see you there!
One last thing: mark your calendars for June 6–9 in Copenhagen, where we’ll be participating in the Africa Energy Forum. If you’re interested in meeting us there, please reach out to Jeremy Faber at firstname.lastname@example.org.