Utility Scale Energy Projects
The focus of our “grid-connected” strategy is to deliver renewable, green energy directly to the power grid, using a hybrid (biomass/solar photovoltaic “PV”) energy generation model.
Our plan is to develop grid-connected facilities with a maximum individual site capacity of 10 megawatts. Tanzanian projects of less than 10 megawatts are classified as “Small Power Projects” (SPP’s) and offer a number of advantages. SPP’s receive payments from the Tanzania Electric Supply Company “TANESCO” in US dollars, and are subject to less stringent regulations. In addition, they receive preferential support and consideration regarding their funding, by the various international developmental institutions and the REA.
SPP sites also allign with our business strategy to focus on rural markets. Smaller scale, individual projects diversify business risk and will allow us to dramatically increase the developmental impact of our efforts.
We have identified four potential sites for “utility-scale” solar PV/biomass facilities, which are being evaluated for commercialization. For the first site, we’ve received a Letter of Intent from TANESCO for the planned development, and the full feasibility study is underway, with completion expected in the third quarter of 2016. Sites for two additional locations have been acquired and preliminary feasibility studies are currently being developed. We expect to apply for Letters of Intent for these two additional sites, in the second half of 2016. The fourth site has been preliminarily identified but requires further reconnaissance to determine its commercial potential.
Hydropower – Run-of-River “RoR”
The RPA engineering team conducted preliminary site evaluations in mid-September 2015, and completed feasibility studies for both the Upper and Lukosi Rivers in June 2016. Five sites with hydropower potential were identified, however only four sites appear to have commercial potential.
The priority site selected for development, based on ease of access and lower anticipated civil works costs, is a 6.61 megawatt project, on the Lower Lukosi. Under the Power Africa umbrella, we’ve received preliminary expressions of support from the US Exim Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
We’ve established a strategy to streamline the development process for small hydropower facilities that improves the speed to market of our portfolio. RPA has partnered with us to provide the comprehensive engineering support for the portfolio of projects. Together with Hydrological Company of Columbus, Ohio, we’ve established a consortium of Ohio-based, small hydropower equipment manufacturers. The consortium will be used to source the equipment for the hydropower projects. In addition, we will leverage their local (in-country) facilities and resources, to help us manage local supply chain components.
By integrating the engineering, procurement, and logistics teams into a single group, we expect to cut up to 18 months out of the normal “idea to power” development process. This will benefit both our customers and our investors: it will deliver electricity more quickly, and achieve better returns by delivering earlier revenue streams.