African renewable installations receive financing

  • : Metals
  • 21/01/15

Investors are tapping into the potential for installing renewable energy capacity in African countries, with a slew of projects lined up for 2021.

In sub-Saharan Africa, fossil fuel sources dominate electricity supply. But with the overall cost of wind and solar installations having fallen sharply on lower raw material prices, governments and utilities are turning to renewables to increase electricity access.

Nigeria-based Daystar Power, which supplies solar energy to businesses in west Africa, has raised $38mn in funding to expand its operations in Nigeria and Ghana and increase its presence in the Ivory Coast, Senegal and Togo. The company plans to expand its installed capacity to over 100MW from 23MW. Investors include STOA, a French impact infrastructure fund, which aims to invest more than 50pc of its capital in Africa and in renewable energies. The financing round comes after the company raised $10mn in March 2019.

Nigerian solar power provider Starsight has received a second $10mn financing injection from Scandinavian investment funds Finnfund and Norfund to supply solar energy to businesses in Nigeria and Ghana. Since the first round in June 2019, Starsight has expanded its portfolio to over 500 sites, with 36MW of installed generation capacity and 28MWh of storage capacity.

Wind power

Spain-headquartered wind turbine supplier Siemens Gamesa is expanding in Africa with its first project in Ethiopia.

The company has signed a deal to supply 29 wind turbines to state-owned Ethiopian Electric Power for its 100MW Assela wind farm, which is expected to be commissioned by the start of 2023.

Ethiopia has set an ambitious target to meet 100pc of its domestic energy demand with renewables by 2030. The country has the potential to expand its installed wind capacity to 10GW from 324MW, according to the African Development Bank (ADB).

The ADB is working with industry association Irena on joint initiatives that support investments in low-carbon energy projects across Africa. A recent Irena report shows that the fall in the price of solar panels and wind turbines has brought the weighted average levelised cost of electricity in sub-Saharan Africa to 30pc below average electricity prices.

Driving demand

The potential to reduce electricity prices in developing economies is expected to drive demand for renewable energy equipment in a region where two-thirds of the population lack electricity access.

Total renewable generation in the region, at an estimated 975TWh, represents just 1pc of the overall potential for renewable capacity, Irena said.

Italian renewable firm Enel Green Power (EGP) has signed a joint venture partnership with a Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) subsidiary to build and operating renewable plants. QIA will acquire 50pc of EGP's stake in around 800MW of projects in operation and under construction in South Africa and Zambia. Four wind projects in South Africa with a combined capacity of 587MW are expected to start operating in 2021.

UK-based gold mining firm Pan African Resources has signed an engineering, procurement and construction agreement with renewable energy firm Juwi South Africa to install a 9.975MW solar photovoltaic plant at its Evander Mines site. Construction will begin in the first quarter of 2021, with first power expected in the third quarter. Juwi has built six utility-scale solar plants totalling 207MW of capacity under the South African government's renewable energy independent power producers' programme.

UK-based ARC Power, which opened its first solar business park in Rwanda in November, has announced plans to open another 20 by the end of 2021 and 45 over the long term.

In North Africa, the Moroccan agency for solar energy has issued a tender for the design, financing, and construction of 400MW of solar capacity across six sites in the second phase of its Noor PV project. The 400MW first phase was tendered last year. The deadline for the new tender is 31 January.


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24/04/25

EV demand slowdown cuts S Korea’s LGES' profit in 1Q

EV demand slowdown cuts S Korea’s LGES' profit in 1Q

Singapore, 25 April (Argus) — South Korea's top battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution (LGES) reported significant lower revenue and profit in January-March, because of lower battery metal prices and slower electric vehicle (EV) demand. LGES' revenue in January-March fell by 23pc on the quarter and 30pc on the year to 6.13 trillion won ($4.46bn), owing to lower demand for EV pouch cells and energy storage system (ESS), with "prolonged metal price impact" affecting its average selling price. The firm reported W157bn of operating profit in January-March, but would have reported an operating loss of W32bn if it did not receive almost W189bn in US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) tax credits. But this was still a sharp drop from W633bn of operating profit for January-March 2023. The lower revenue and a demand slowdown in the EV market led to utilisation rate adjustments that weighed on its financial performance. The firm reaped a net profit of W212bn during the quarter, which was up by 12pc on the quarter but down by around 62pc on the year, likely significantly propped up by the US' IRA tax credits. LGES said it will continue to invest despite the difficult market environment, but will "adjust" the size of its capital expenditure and execution speed "as per priority". Battery project updates LGES and automaker General Motors in early April completed the first battery shipment out of their second Ultium battery cell factory in US' Tennessee. The plant's capacity is expected to gradually expand to 50 GWh/yr, said LGES. Construction progress at the firm's battery manufacturing complex in US' Arizona is also on track, said the firm. Ramped up capacity is expected to be 53 GWh/yr, which will comprise 36 GWh/yr of 46-series cylindrical battery for EVs and 17 GWh/yr of lithium-iron-phosphate battery for ESS. LGES' 10 GWh/yr Indonesian battery production joint venture with South Korean conglomerate Hyundai Motor has also started mass production. Its battery module production joint venture with automaker Stellantis in US' Ontario, which encountered a halt in construction in May last year, will start operations in the second half of 2024. The factory has a planned capacity of 45GWh/yr and was supposed to begin operations early this year. LGES earlier this year inked a second agreement with Australian firm Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers for lithium concentrate supply. The firm will continue building a raw materials supply chain within regions that have a free trade agreement with US, it said. By Joseph Ho Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Barge delays at Algiers lock near New Orleans


24/04/24
24/04/24

Barge delays at Algiers lock near New Orleans

Houston, 24 April (Argus) — Barges are facing lengthy delays at the Algiers lock near New Orleans as vessels reroute around closures at the Port Allen lock and the Algiers Canal. Delays at the Algiers Lock —at the interconnection of the Mississippi River and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway— have reached around 37 hours in the past day, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers' lock report. Around 50 vessels are waiting to cross the Algiers lock. Another 70 vessels were waiting at the nearby Harvey lock with a six-hour wait in the past day. The closure at Port Allen lock has spurred the delays, causing vessels to reroute through the Algiers lock. The Port Allen lock is expected to reopen on 28 April, which should relieve pressure on the Algiers lock. Some traffic has been rerouted through the nearby Harvey lock since the Algiers Canal was closed by a collapsed powerline, the US Coast Guard said. The powerline fell on two barges, but no injuries or damages were reported. The wire is being removed by energy company Entergy. The canal is anticipated to reopen at midnight on 25 April. By Meghan Yoyotte Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Baltimore to temporarily open 4th shipping channel


24/04/24
24/04/24

Baltimore to temporarily open 4th shipping channel

Cheyenne, 24 April (Argus) — The Port of Baltimore is preparing to open another, deeper temporary shipping channel this week so at least some of the vessels that have been stranded at the port can depart. The new 35-ft deep Fort McHenry Limited Access Channel is scheduled to be open to commercially essential vessels from 25 April until 6am ET on 29 April or 30 April "if weather adversely impacts vessel transits," according to a US Coast Guard Marine Safety Information Bulletin. The channel will then be closed again until 10 May. The channel also will have a 300-ft horizontal clearance and 214-ft vertical clearance. This will be the fourth and largest channel opened since the 26 March collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The Unified Command has said that the new limited access channel should allow passage of about 75pc of the types of vessels that typically move through the waterway. Vessels that have greater than 60,000 long tons (60,963 metric tonnes) of displacement will likely not be able to move through the channel and those between 50,000-60,000 long tons of displacement "will be closely evaluated" for transit. There were seven vessels blocked from exiting the port as of 27 March, including three dry bulk carriers, one vehicle carrier and one tanker, according to the US Department of Transportation. Two of the bulk carriers at berth in Baltimore are Kamsarmax-sized coal vessels, data from analytics firm Kpler show. The US Army Corps of Engineers still expects to reopen the Port of Baltimore's permanent 700-foot wide, 50-foot deep channel by the end of May. The Key Bridge collapsed into the water late last month when the 116,851dwt container ship Dali lost power and crashed into a bridge support column. Salvage teams have been working to remove debris from the water and containers from the ship in order to clear the main channel. By Courtney Schlisserman Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Critical battery metal supply meets today's demand: IEA


24/04/24
24/04/24

Critical battery metal supply meets today's demand: IEA

Singapore, 24 April (Argus) — Supply of critical battery metals such as lithium, nickel and cobalt can "comfortably" meet current demand after major mining and refining investment over the past five years, according to IEA's latest Global EV Outlook 2024 . Global supply of lithium, nickel and cobalt in 2023 exceeded demand by 10pc, 8pc and 6.5pc, respectively, said IEA. Lithium demand for battery rose by 30pc on the year to around 140,000t, that of cobalt increased by 15pc to 150,000t, and nickel rose by 30pc to 370,000t. Continued rapid growth in mining and refining is needed to meet future demand and avoid supply chain bottlenecks, but battery technology advancements can potentially mitigate the demand, IEA said. IEA noted overcapacity has brought critical minerals prices and battery costs down but is also squeezing mining firms' cash flows and margins, with many companies struggling to stay afloat. Australia's nickel industry has been hit hard this year, with multiple producers ceasing operations following a sharp nickel market downturn, having to compete with rising nickel supply from Indonesia. Western Australia had to resort to providing royalty rebates to struggling nickel producers. Low lithium prices are threatening the survival of greenfield lithium project developers , and also affecting some established participants. Major Chinese lithium producer Tianqi Lithium on 23 April issued a profit warning to its shareholders, citing a significant fall in lithium product sales price. Tianqi warned of a net loss of 3.6bn-4.3bn yuan ($497-593mn) in January-March, drastically below a net profit of 4.88bn yuan for the same period a year earlier. Global lithium firm Arcadium Lithium earlier this year warned that current market prices will weigh on future supply . Cobalt prices in China are also under pressure, with market participants forecasting the downtrend to continue at least until the end of this year. "Everyone's mentally prepared that this year's a tough year, even 2025 [can be tough]," said a lithium market participant, noting the adverse effects from this year's global economic downturn. Battery EV battery demand rose by 40pc on the year to 750GWh in 2023, but at a lower rate as EV demand growth also slows down . Among major markets, US and Europe grew the fastest by 40pc on the year, while China — the largest market — grew by 35pc. Battery demand in the rest of the world grew by 70pc, but was still lower than 100GWh. China's battery demand reached 415GWh in 2023, while Europe and US trailed behind at 185GWh and 100GWh, respectively. Battery output in Europe and US were 110GWh and 70GWh, respectively. Lithium-ion battery output in China was 940GWh in 2023 , according to data from the country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). China is leading the way, but it comes at the cost of "high levels of overcapacity", IEA noted. China used less than 40pc of its maximum cell output, with its installed manufacturing capacity of cathode active material and anode active material at almost four and nine times greater than global EV cell demand in 2023. Homegrown current and additional EV battery manufacturing capacity in Europe and US are scarce. South Korean firms account for over 350GWh of manufacturing capacity outside of South Korea, with around 75pc of existing manufacturing capacity in Europe owned by South Korean firms. Japanese and Chinese firms have 57GWh and 30GWh of capacity, respectively, outside of their own countries. By Joseph Ho Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

China's Hunan Yuneng to build Spain battery LFP plant


24/04/24
24/04/24

China's Hunan Yuneng to build Spain battery LFP plant

Beijing, 24 April (Argus) — Chinese battery cathode producers have continued to expand investment in the overseas market, with the country's largest lithium iron phosphate (LFP) producer Hunan Yuneng planning to build a plant in Spain. Yuneng plans to invest 982mn yuan ($135.5mn) to build a 50,000 t/yr LFP production plant in Spain's Extremadura region. The firm aims to complete the site construction in 15 months after obtaining approval from the authorities. It will establish a subsidiary Yuneng International (Spain) New Energy Battery Material to develop this project. It did not disclose more details such as the launch dates. "This project is to strengthen the company's position in the global market and meet demand from overseas consumers, on the back of growing demand for LFP cathodes in the overseas market driven by the development of new energy vehicles outside China, especially in Europe," Yuneng said. Yuneng produced 504,400t of LFP cathodes in 2023, up by 50pc from a year earlier, with sales also rising by 56pc to 506,800t over the same period. It has achieved a nameplate capacity of 700,000 t/yr for LFP as of the end of 2023. It is also expanding capacity for another emerging battery cathode material, lithium manganese iron phosphate, which has higher energy density and allows for a longer driving range in electric vehicles (EVs), better performance in winter temperatures, and has lower manufacturing costs compared with LFP. Overseas expansions A growing number of Chinese battery cathode firms have accelerated their investment in overseas production projects, such as in France, Morocco and South Korea , to diversify resource origins and meet market entry conditions to the US required by the Inflation Reduction Act, and to cope with restrictions on key battery materials in the EU's Critical Raw Materials Act. Argus forecasts total demand for EV battery cathode material will reach 7.7mn t by 2034, from only 1mn t in 2022, with LFP expected to continue to take up the bigger share compared with ternary battery cathodes. Argus -assessed costs for cathode active material LFP were $13.95/kwh on 23 April, up from $12.31/kwh at the start of this year. Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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