We’re still a young company, but we’re off to a great start! We’ve already accomplished a great deal and the future holds even greater great promise for our company, our customers, and the communities we serve.
During 2017, we have some ambitious plans, which include the electrification of an additional twenty villages with renewable energy, using our hybrid “off-grid” technology. For our utility-scale projects, we expect to launch our first hydropower facilities in Ilundo, and to install two to three small solar PV facilities in the Kilosa District.
In May 2016, the Ruaha executive team travelled to Washington, DC for meetings with various Power Africa participants (USAID, USTDA, OPIC, the US Ex-Im Bank) and several other private sector organizations that provide financial support for infrastructure projects in frontier markets. Based on the meetings, the Company received a Letter of Intent from OPIC to provide financing support for its Lower Lukosi hydropower project, and developed a proposal for a technical study for off-grid biomass/solar PV projects. An application was lodged with USTDA to provide partial support for the study.
A longer and harsher rainy season slightly delayed the construction of our Zombo energy facility until early June. First power was delivered in the 4th Quarter!
The hydropower feasibility studies were completed in June. The REA study identified a viable hydropower project site on the Lower Lukosi River. The facility will generate approximately 6.6 megawatts of green energy, which will be delivered directly to the TANESCO main power grid. The USTDA study identified three potential hydropower sites on the Upper Lukosi River, two 10 megawatt sites and one 5 megawatt site. Based on the study’s evaluation assessments, the two larger sites appear to be commercially viable, and the third site is still being evaluated.
In July, the Company’s CEO travelled to Jaipur, India to tour the Genus Power Infrastructures facilities (one of the leading pre-payment meter manufacturing companies in India). A preliminary agreement was reached to assemble the pre-payment meters for the Companies planned off-grid projects. The first meters are expected to be delivered in early 2017 for use at the Zombo location.
In August, the Company entered into an agreement with the Ilundo Community Society to jointly develop, own, operate, and maintain two small hydro power facilities near Ilundo Village. The feasibility study and environmental permits are completed. The sites are expected to be commissioned in 2017.
In September, the Company successfully closed a Series-A Preferred Round of equity financing via a Reg D, Rule 506 private placement.
In November, we received our first Letter of Intent from TANESCO for the development of a 0.95 megawatt utility-scale solar farm near the Village of Malolo. Six additional utility-scale solar photovoltaic sites were identified, and land was acquired for two of the sites. A second application for a Letter of Intent for the second site (Kilosa Town) was filed in November. The Company acquired land for the planned solar farm, and an adjacent 3,000 square meter plot. The adjacent area contains existing buildings that will be converted into the Company’s Kilosa District offices and maintenance facility.
In December, the Company entered into an agreement with Energy4Impact under the IFC sponsored TASF program. Under the agreement, the Company receives technical, legal, and transaction support to further develop our village-scale projects.
In 2015 we realized the efforts of our research during the prior year by launching both initiatives: the village-scale model was fully developed, and the solar evaluation was completed under the REA grant. We also applied for, and were awarded a grant from the Energy and Environmental Partnership for Eastern and Southern Africa. This grant provides partial funding for the construction of a “mini-grid” to connect approximately 1,600 residential and small business rural customers!
Working with our engineering partner Ritoch Powell & Associates, we formed a consortium of manufacturers based in Columbus, Ohio. The consortium will supply the hydropower equipment required for the development of our “run-of-river” green energy projects. The group members worked very closely together to conduct the feasibility studies, evaluate the technologies, and develop the plans for the energy facilities.
We formed a very important partnership with the Kilosa District Council, to launch our project to electrify up to 100 isolated rural communities using hybrid, “off-grid” systems, and to install up to 40 megawatts of “utility-scale” installations. We also partnered with Redavia GmbH to support our village-scale projects, and Cronimet Mining Power Solutions GmbH, to provide assistance for our “utility-scale”, green energy development.
In the fourth quarter, we identified the first group of villages targeted for electrification, and conducted a market assessment for each of the village locations. Our team surveyed several sites for installation and identified a location that was well suited for the energy project, the Village of Zombo. The land was provided by the village; and in return, we agreed to construct a standalone maternity ward with waiting and recovery facilities for the local dispensary!
During 2014, we continued with a series of market reviews and socio-economic studies to determine the best path forward. In December, we applied for two research grants through an affiliate. Both grants were awarded, and helped us undertake two independent feasibility studies.
In December 2014, our first grant was awarded by the Tanzania Rural Energy Agency, as part of a World Bank sponsored program. This partially funded the evaluation of our regional strategy that included: an assessment of the hydropower potential on the Lower Lukosi River, development of our “off-grid”, village-scale model, and an assessment of the potential for solar energy development in the Kilosa District.
Our second grant (also approved in December 2014) was awarded by the US Trade Development Agency under the Power Africa Initiative. The grant provided partial funding for a study to evaluate the hydropower potential on the Upper Lukosi River.
Throughout the year, we also continued to explore strategic partnerships and relationships with companies and organizations that shared our goals and vision, and could offer valuable expertise which could help accelerate our efforts. We formed a joint venture with Husk Power Systems to install and launch village-scale, hybrid mini-grids, using the “Husk Biomass System” integrated with a solar photovoltaic platform. Our first Husk system was installed in late 2014 and successfully tested in early 2015!
In mid-2013, Ruaha Energy’s founder began conducting field and market research to assess the potential for delivering commercially viable, renewable energy solutions to underserved rural communities in Tanzania. It quickly became apparent that the pervasive market need for reliable, affordable, and renewable energy solutions represented a compelling opportunity to serve the local communities. Consequently, Ruaha was formed in August 2013 to undertake our initial operations. As our evaluations continued, two important trends became apparent:
|There was a growing recognition among governments and developmental institutions that smaller scale, rural based renewable energy solutions play an increasingly vital and important role in bringing power to the market.|
|These converging dynamics laid the foundation for our formation. Our Company is the vehicle we use to drive our strategy designed to provide replicable, quick-to-market, renewable energy solutions to under served rural communities.|
The future is bright… Not just for us… But for our customers, as well!