Two on-site renewable energy initiatives have been launched in the eastern and southern African agricultural sector – the tea and sugar industries will each become recipients of new generation capacity resulting in more than 70 MW of decentralized sustainable energy for the region.

The East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA) will begin a four year initiative to establish six small hydropower demonstration projects in at least four EATTA member countries generating a total of 10 MW. The industry will use resources available on site at tea plantations to power the industry. The project has been endorsed by eight countries in the region: Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Burundi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania.

Meanwhile, the sugar industry is also preparing to produce its own electricity and heat in a series of cogeneration projects modelled on the success of biomass cogeneration in Mauritius. The sugar industry’s initiative will last six years and is expected to result in the development of 60 MW of biomass cogeneration projects. The initiative seeks to significantly scale up the use of cogeneration systems initially in seven eastern and southern African countries: Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Swaziland.

The two projects were spearheaded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and will be co-implemented by the African Development Bank (ADB).

The initiatives are co-financed by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) and ProInvest. REEEP funding for the project was provided by the Government of Ireland, which targets sustainable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa.