Power Africa Transactions and Reforms Program
In sub-Saharan Africa, approximately 600 million people—two-thirds of the population—lack access to electricity, affecting their ability to obtain quality health care, education, and economic opportunities. President Barack Obama launched Power Africa in June 2013 to increase access to power throughout the region. Power Africa combines the expertise of 12 U.S. government agencies and more than 140 public and private sector partners to help unlock the substantial wind, solar, hydro, natural gas, biomass, and geothermal resources in the region. The program aims to enhance energy security, promote economic growth, and reduce poverty.
In 2014 the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) selected Tetra Tech to serves as the prime contractor for the Power Africa Transactions and Reform Program (PATRP), which provides technical assistance, capacity building, and transaction support services under Power Africa. While PATRP’s approach centers on transaction advisory assistance across sub-Saharan Africa, it also includes traditional power sector reform, commercialization activities, and institutional support to the Power Africa Coordinator’s Office.
Under Tetra Tech’s leadership, PATRP is supporting Power Africa’s goals of adding more than 30,000 megawatts (MW) of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation across sub-Saharan Africa and 60 million new home and business connections. PATRP’s complexity has required the creation of an extensive resource infrastructure, which Tetra Tech is managing, including nearly 90 power sector professionals spread across more than 15 countries.
PATRP’s activities fall under four overarching objectives:
- Institutional support to the Power Africa Coordinator’s office
- Late-stage transaction support
- Small-scale projects, rural electrification, and mini-grids support
- Regulatory and institutional strengthening and policy reform
The PATRP team, under Tetra Tech’s guidance, is working to provide broad technical, logistical, and administrative support to track, manage, implement, and publicize Power Africa. Most notably, the team developed the web-based Power Africa Tracking Tool database that allows Power Africa and its stakeholders to monitor transactions’ progress toward financial close and commercial operation.
Our team also is tracking a pipeline of power generation projects from the concept phase through late-stage transactions and providing transaction project support to bring late-stage power generation, transmission, and distribution projects to financial closure. This objective seeks to provide African governments, the private sector, and donors with a focal point to galvanize collaboration around priority electricity generation, transmission, and distribution transactions. In the process, PATRP is helping governments drive systemic changes and fundamental reforms in the power sector that will facilitate even greater private sector involvement and investment over the long term.
Under our team’s leadership, PATRP also is focusing on reducing the main barriers for small-scale renewable energy (SSRE) activities, namely project development and access to financing for fully developed SSRE projects. These objectives also support Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid sub-initiative, which focuses on fostering clean and hybrid energy solutions for rural and peri-urban areas that may never be connected to a national electricity grid. In South Africa, PATRP is supporting the City of Johannesburg with a plan to electrify more than 180 informal housing settlements, in consultation with a range of stakeholders including local private sector companies. PATRP is helping to design sustainable, affordable, and inclusive energy access solutions using technologies that can be relocated or redeveloped as the city adapts to changing environmental and economic conditions.
As of November 2017, PATRP had facilitated the financial close of more than 1,800 MW of power generation projects. Further, PATRP has developed a pipeline of more than 250 active Power Africa transactions at various stage of development, representing more than 25,000 MW of potential generation capacity.
PATRP also has supported drafting the Ethiopia-Kenya-Tanzania transmission line wheeling agreement and related tariff; helped with revising Kenya’s grid code; worked on the establishment and institutional development of an independent transmission system operator in Tanzania; and helped develop a geothermal legal framework in Ethiopia.