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JOHANNESBURG - The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (Sefa) has approved $990000 (R14m) to eThala Management Services to finance the development of a 10MW biomass-to-power plant to be located in Harding, in KwaZulu-Natal, the African Development Bank (AfDB) said yesterday. 

Sefa is a $95m multi-donor facility funded by the governments of Denmark, the UK, the US and Italy. 

“The project will enable further diversification of South Africa’s power generation mix away from coal dominance by adding renewable energy generation from biomass. The viability of the project will have a significant demonstration effect with regards to bio-energy and showcase Corporate Power Purchase Agreements as an anchor for renewable energy generation. It is expected to deliver economic empowerment and boost the socio-economic development of Harding community,” AfDB said in a statement. 

It said the project’s source of biomass was agricultural, forestry and timber processing waste which, coupled with the gasification technology presented significant carbon dioxide emissions reductions benefits. 

“With the sponsor being a women-led business, the project is aligned with the Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa and can have a significant demonstration effect,” said Ousseynou Nakoulima, AfDB’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Director. The Sefa funding would support the project with a full environmental and social impact assessment as well as legal services.