South Africa gets loan to fund power projects; EU firms demand end to China panel duties

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South Africa secures loans to fund plant, grid build

South Africa's power utility Eskom has secured 20 billion rand ($1.4 billion) in loan facilities from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the South African government news agency said July 7.

The loan facilities will fund new plant build, the maintenance and refurbishment of generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure and skills training.

South Africa's renewable energy capacity has grown by 6 GW since the government launched the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP) in 2011 and grid reinforcements are required to accommodate new projects.

Faced with ongoing financial difficulties, Eskom has not matched the expansion in generation capacity with necessary strengthening of the power grid, particularly in the sun-drenched Northern Cape province in the north-west where PV capacity has soared.

Eskom's new loan agreements include funding from AfDB's private sector window, as well as AfDB-arranged B-loan facilities from commercial lenders such as Bank of China, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, CaixaBank, Citibank, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, KfW IPEX Bank, Siemens Bank and Standard Chartered.

In its annual financial results statement published July 5, Eskom said it is on a "sound financial and operational footing compared to a year ago."

Eskom's EBITDA rose by 37.4% to 32 billion rand in the year ending March 31, 2016 and the company achieved cost savings of 17.5 billion rand compared to a target of 13.4 billion rand.

“With new leadership and intensified staff engagements, we have stabilised the organisation," Brian Molefe, Eskom’s CEO, said in the results statement.

Eskom will no longer be a constraint to South Africa’s economic growth and the company’s Corporate Plan for the five years to 2020/21 aims to re-establish Eskom as a catalyst for growth, Dr Baldwin Ngubane, Eskom Chairman, said.

Solar sector demands end to EU-China trade measures

Europe's solar industry has called for the European Commission (EC) to end punitive trade measures on Chinese solar panels and cells and introduce measures to support module producers in Europe.

Some 34 solar and renewable energy companies sent a letter to Cecilia Malmstrom, European Commissioner for Trade, calling for a review of duties and minimum import price agreements in place since 2013, industry group Solarpower Europe said in a statement.

Trade measures are harming Europe's solar manufacturing industry and the entire downstream solar sector and the EC must develop a new plan without trade duties and price mechanisms, Solarpower Europe said.

The EC is due to make its recommendation on solar trade measures at the start of 2017. The commission’s recommendation must be approved by European Union member states.

DNV GL buys solar asset management firm

Energy consultancy and certification group DNV GL has acquired GreenPowerMonitor, the Barcelona-based company specializing in solar monitoring, control and asset management systems, DNV GL said July 8.

DNV GL employs 2,500 consultants globally, across the oil and gas, marine, renewable energy and transmission sectors.

GreenPowerMonitor manages 5 GW of renewable energy capacity globally at more than 2,000 sites and has offices in Spain and U.S.

“The combination of DNV GL and GreenPowerMonitor is an excellent strategic fit...In particular, it brings together world leading domain knowledge, technical expertise as well as digital delivery platforms and data-driven services," Remi Eriksen, Group President and CEO of DNV GL, said.

"This transaction will strengthen our global delivery capabilities and continued technological development, benefitting customers and industry partners, as well as creating interesting opportunities for our employees,” Juan Carlos Arevalo, CEO of GreenPowerMonitor, said.

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