18 October 2012 – The municipal utility of Mainz (Stadtwerke Mainz AG) and DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft, received a special award for the profitable electricity generation from renewable energy in the community Kalom in Senegal. The prize was awarded by Bundesverband (Federal Association) PPP and Behörden Spiegel, an independent professional journal, within the framework of the "PPP Innovation Prize 2012". It was awarded for the seventh time already. The ceremony took place in Berlin on the 16th of October 2012.
Within the framework of the project, a biomass power plant with pyrolysis technology was established to supply a rural community with electricity. The project was financed by the foundation Energy for Africa, set-up by Stadtwerke Mainz AG. DEG complemented this amount by €200,000 from funds of the develoPPP.de Programme of the federal ministry for economic cooperation and development (BMZ).
"We are pleased that this innovative solution for rural electrification, which is based on biomass and involves the participation of the local population, gains recognition by being awarded with this prize," Manuela Marques, head of DEG’s division German corporates / special programmes said during the awards ceremony.
"The project is to serve as an example, demonstrating how a functioning "Dorfwerk" (a village power utility) which bases on the model of a German municipal energy supplier can be established in a rural community in Senegal," Detlev Höhne, commercial director of Stadtwerke Mainz says. On the ground, the project was implemented by the south German Novis, which specialises in electricity from biomass. The company supplied the technology for the biomass power plant, which mainly uses peanut shells and millet stalks as renewable source of energy.
The biomass is mainly covered by local smallholders, which improve their income by providing the "Dorfwerk" with the basic requirements. The remaining biomass needed can be obtained from a larger ground-nut oil producer. At the core site, the power generated by the plant is distributed via a so-called island network. Households in remote areas are able to operate two to three electric lamps and one additional device via micro solar systems. For the operation of larger electrical appliances, a charging station is available at the core site, which offers renting and recharging of batteries.
Since May 2012, an operator company is responsible for the power plant. The foundation Energy for Africa as well as about a dozen villagers hold shares in the company. A total of seven local workplaces were created in the "Dorfwerk" "Kalom Mainz Industries SARL". These local employees had been thoroughly trained by Novis to operate the plant autonomously. The village community has been made familiar with the use of electricity.