CrossBoundary Energy: Unlocking Capital To Power Africa
CrossBoundary Energy is Africa’s leading supplier of cheaper, cleaner electricity for business.
The firm is the only commercial owner and operator with on-the-ground experience managing solar in Africa for corporate customers. CrossBoundary Energy (CBE) believes that megawatts speaks louder than words and Africa’s top brands have chosen CBE as their solar energy supplier of choice.
CBE is part of the CrossBoundary Group which is a mission-driven investment organisation with a drive to harness the power of capital to make a strong return while creating a lasting difference in frontier markets.
The organisation takes a transaction-centric approach to frontier markets and provides investment advisory services, having developed a specialised expertise in unlocking investment across all industries across fragile and frontier markets. Its advisory clients include governments, development finance institutions, private equity firms, Fortune 100 companies and research institutions.
Earlier this year, CBE received US$16.5mn in funding from ARCH Emerging Markets Partners’ Africa Renewable Power Fund (ARCH ARPF) to develop and finance new Commercial & Industrial solar assets that will provide businesses across Africa with access to cheaper, cleaner power.
CBE has pioneered the solar-as-a-service business model in Africa through which corporate customers avoid upfront capital expenditure and instead enter into long-term solar service agreements. Under these agreements, CBE in collaboration with local developers and solar contractors, finances, installs and operates solar assets that provide customers with cleaner and cheaper power. CBE has already developed landmark projects in Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana and Nigeria with its clients including Unilever, Diageo, Heineken, Actis and leading local companies.
This additional funding will allow CBE to reach new markets and customers across Africa and deploy solar PV and battery storage solutions that decrease energy costs, improve power reliability and decrease carbon emissions.
Pieter Joubert, Chief Investment Officer at CrossBoundary Energy, commented: “Partnering with an industry leading investor like ARCH ARPF highlights the proven viability of captive commercial and industrial solar projects in Africa.
“We’re very excited to work with ARCH ARPF to continue providing Africa’s leading businesses with cheaper, cleaner, more reliable power at no upfront cost. This commitment by ARCH ARPF represents the first phase of a larger transaction which will allow us to take the C&I sector to scale across Africa, and in doing so reduce energy costs for our customers, create additional jobs within the solar sector, and significantly reduce carbon emissions.”
CrossBoundary delivers 30MW of solar for businesses across Africa. With a good track record, the organisation is laser-focused on providing solutions that work for organisations throughout the region.
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?
Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly