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EGEB: Kenyan coal project near UNESCO World Heritage site loses big-bank backing, more

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • African Development Bank pulls out of an eastern Kenyan coal plant project at Lamu.
  • Seoul is putting solar on all public buildings and 1 million homes.
  • German steel giant Thyssenkrupp uses hydrogen as a step toward its net-zero-by-2050 pledge.
  • An earthquake in France earlier this week prolongs the shutdown of nuclear reactors until December.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Kenyan coal plant loses big-bank funding

Senior African Development Bank (AfDB) officials told Reuters that the organization “will not fund a coal-fired power plant project in Kenya and has no plans to finance new coal plants in future.” The bank said they were getting out of coal at the UN climate talks in September.

The 1,050 MW Lamu project in eastern Kenya was planned near a UNESCO World Heritage site, the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa. It was stopped by a local environmental tribunal. This latest blow will make it very difficult for the plant, which is backed by Chinese and Kenyan investors, to progress.

Wale Shonibare, AfDB’s acting vice president for energy, said the bank “did not move forward with the Lamu Coal transaction and had no plans to do so in the future.”

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina told Reuters at a conference in South Africa the bank took environmental concerns seriously and was focusing on renewable energy, adding that coal projects risked becoming ‘stranded assets’ on the AfDB’s balance sheet.

The AfDB is one of the Big 7 multilateral development banks, and the Abidjan, Ivory Coast-based bank’s decision is a positive step toward moving finance from fossil fuels to green energy.

The AfDB was given a D grade by Christian Aid’s Big Shift Global in a report called “Small Steps Are Not Enough” because it has not ruled out upstream oil and gas exploration.


Seoul goes solar

In Seoul, South Korea, every public building and 1 million homes will have solar panels by 2022.

In November 2017, the capital city’s government announced the 2022 Solar City Seoul Plan, in which it said it would add 1 GW of solar capacity by 2022. This has already cut more than 100 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Every public building in Seoul will be fitted with solar by 2022, and one-quarter of the city’s residences will get solar panels in an attempt to further reduce CO2 emissions by more than a half-million metric tons. There is a solar-panel rental scheme in place for residents, which is proving popular.

The city’s baseball stadium is covered with solar panels, and Gwanghwamun Square will become a solar street in January 2020, featuring solar panels on lights, benches, and trash cans. The city hopes that its solar initiative will even attract tourists.

Seoul is hosting an international solar power conference in June 2020 and is a member of the C40 Cities group.


German industrial engineering and steel giant Thyssenkrupp initiated a test to replace pulverized coal with hydrogen in a running blast furnace.

Thyssenkrupp has pledged to reach net zero by 2050. Their aim is to produce no carbon emissions during steel production. The company lays out their plans on their website here, and explains their hydrogen initiative to replace coal in the tweet below:

French nuclear reactors could be further delayed

5.1 magnitude earthquake in southeast France on Monday resulted in French utility EDF shutting down four nuclear reactors at its Cruas plant.

On Tuesday, EDF said it intended to restart the reactors on Friday. Yesterday, the energy company said that the Cruas plant could face further delays.

“Reactor startup may be delayed by the duration of the ongoing control process,” EDF said in a note on its website on Wednesday. The company did not give further details.

But S&P Global reports today that “Cruas is not expected to return to service before the first half of December, EDF said.”

EDF’s transparency website showed the plant’s four 915 MW reactors returning to service at 23:00 CET on the following days: December 2 (Cruas 2), December 9 (Cruas 4), December 16 (Cruas 3) and December 19 (Cruas 1).

Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.