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Sumitomo Corporation has invested in its first independent power producer (IPP) in Africa--the 350 MW Kpone IPP in Ghana's biggest port city, Tema. When completed, Kpone will be a combined cycle gas turbine plant accounting for about 10% of total Ghanaian power production, but it could also run on diesel or fuel oil. Ghana's economy has grown rapidly over the past decade and more generating capacity is needed to ensure that domestic and industrial power supplies are maintained.

Total project costs are put at $903m, although this figure could include transmission infrastructure, out of which the private sector is contributing $685m, including $447m in the form of debt. Sumitomo was the second biggest equity investor with $69.7m, alongside partners Cenpower Holdings, the Africa Finance Corporation, Mercury Power and FMO, which is the Dutch development agency.

Funding for the project also came from two facilities managed by the multi-donor Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG): InfraCo Africa and The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), plus the Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) Cenpower Generation Company is the special purpose vehicle set up to develop the project. In a statement, Cenpower said: "It will be amongst Ghana's most fuel efficient thermal power stations and once in production, the power plant will become a critical base load component in meeting Ghana's growing electricity demand."

Construction of what will be the first licensed IPP in Ghana began in 2015 and was originally scheduled for completion in 2017 but a dispute with Group Five Power Projects, which was awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract and claims over contaminated fuel have held up development. The EPC contract was eventually cancelled in December 2018. All output from the plant is to be sold to the Electricity Company of Ghana for nationwide distribution.

At the other end of the scale, Sumitomo Corporation Africa bought an unspecified stake in M-Kopa, a "pay-as-you-go" solar PV business in December 2018. Customer pay a small weekly fee via mobile phone in return for a solar panel, battery and charging connections to provide electricity for light bulbs, mobile phones, radios and laptops. Larger systems can even power fridges and TVs. Electricity has been provided to millions of people living off-grid in rural areas or city suburbs that are unconnected to their national grids, particularly in East Africa.

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Title Annotation:Special Report: Japan: Africa
Comment:A FIRST FOR SUMITOMO IN AFRICA.(Special Report: Japan: Africa)
Publication:African Business
Geographic Code:6GHAN
Date:Aug 1, 2019
Next Article:Japan has come to Africa.

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