Access Africa reveals two winners of $5 million renewable energy fund
ACF is a $5 million competition aiming to stimulate entrepreneurs who can help bridge the gap between early-stage African renewable energy projects and the expertise and funding they require to become operational.
Access Infra Africa is a developer, owner and operator of power assets in Africa and the Middle East; it has 30 GW of power projects across the globe, with a specific focus on developing renewable energy projects across 15 African countries with the target of establishing a portfolio of $500 million in renewable energy assets.
Quaint Solar Energy’s winning Solar Project is a 50 MW solar development that will utilise photovoltaic technology. The project aims to add to Nigeria’s current power output and help to bridge the power deficit faced by the nation.
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The winning Maroua Solar Project by Flatbush Solar in Cameroon is a 20 MW solar fixed ground mount photovoltaic plant, with the capacity to serve the energy needs of the city of Maroua and neighboring towns and villages.
The winning projects were selected by an expert panel at a live session at the Africa Energy Forum 2015, based on a range of criteria including commercial, technical and environmental merits, and the local regulatory environment, as well as the strength of the project team.
Reda El Chaar, Chairman of Access Power MEA, said: “It is a fantastic opportunity to be able to partner with two projects that will undoubtedly have a positive social and economic impact in their respective regions, and we look forward to working closely with them as they progress towards becoming operational.”
Flatbush Solar and Quaint Solar Energy will enter into a Joint Development Agreement with Access, which will fund third party development costs such as feasibility and grid studies, as well as environmental and social impact assessments. Access will also back Flatbush Solar and Quaint Solar Energy with technical support, financial structure and development process management.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”