RICHMOND, BC, Nov. 14 /CNW/ - VRB Power Systems Inc. (TSX-V: VRB)
announces the sale of two 5kW x 4hr VRB Energy Storage Systems ("VRB-ESS") to
Winafrique Technologies Ltd., of Kenya ("Winafrique"). The systems will be
deployed in two remote cellular telecommunications sites in Kenya with
Safaricom Limited, the leading mobile telephone operator in Kenya which is
owned by Telkom Kenya and Vodafone Group Plc ("Safaricom"). The sale marks the
initial phase for a potential roll out of multiple systems at cellular
telecommunications sites across East Africa. Winafrique has identified
approximately 300 possible sites in Kenya alone.
VRB Power has also signed a distribution agreement with Winafrique for
the 5kW VRB-ESS in Kenya. Under the terms of the agreement, Winafrique will
sell, install and integrate the systems at the chosen cellular sites; monitor
and service the systems once installed and also provide some of the electrical
components. Winafrique personnel have commenced technical training at the
company's Richmond facility.
Currently, remote cell sites across Africa are typically powered by
diesel generators with lead acid batteries providing back-up power should the
diesel generators fail. With increasing costs of diesel fuel, concerns over
diesel emissions and high maintenance requirements of the diesel generators
and lead acid batteries, there is a strong movement by groups such as
Safaricom to reduce diesel usage by integrating wind turbines or solar panels
into the systems powering cellular sites. To do so requires an energy storage
system such as the VRB-ESS that is capable of repeated deep cycling, with high
reliability, long life and low maintenance costs.
The VRB-ESS enables the integration of significant amounts of variable
wind generation into these cell sites and also has the ability to run the
sites for up to 14 hours a day when the wind is not blowing. The key benefits
are significantly reduced diesel fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions,
reduced diesel engine operations costs and extended life of the overall
"We are very pleased to be purchasing VRB Power's products," said Mr.
Michael Chavanga Director of Winafrique. "We believe that there are growing
opportunities in Kenya and Africa as a whole to integrate renewable energy and
advanced energy solutions to reduce the costs of fossil fuel usage. The
ability of the VRB technology to cycle rapidly and deeply with negligible
impact on system life and the ability to carry out multiple functions from the
same system are unique characteristics, which we believe will open up
opportunities across the region," concluded Chavanga.
"The market opportunity is clear," said Tim Hennessy, CEO of VRB Power,
"In a continent where fixed wire systems are problematic, the reliance on
wireless communications is critical and this is controlled by the availability
of reliable, cost effective power - a concept also being incorporated as a
value added offering by radio manufacturers themselves." Hennessy continues,
"Winafrique's decision to offer enhanced power using the VRB-ESS to East
African telecoms providers is visionary. Remote sites are a core marketing
focus for our Company especially as diesel costs increase and become a larger
and larger portion of operating costs for operators in emerging economies. We
know that there are tens of thousands of remote diesel powered sites where the
uniqueness of our systems makes us the ideal choice," concluded Hennessy.
Safaricom Limited is Kenya's current leading Mobile Telephone Operator.
It was formed in 1997 as a fully owned subsidiary of Telkom Kenya. In May
2000, Vodafone Group Plc, the worlds largest Telecommunication company
acquired a 40% stake and management responsibility for the company.
Safaricom's aim is to remain the leading Mobile Network Operator in Kenya.
In the modern world of globalization, Safaricom has been able to keep
pace with the global mobile telecommunications market by having strategic
business associations which help in meeting the dynamic challenges of the
modern mobile telecommunications world. Its strategic association with the
world leaders in mobile telephony has created a niche in the Kenyan market.
Safaricom announced net profits of $220 million in the last financial year.
Winafrique Technologies Ltd is an integrated renewable energy resources
company incorporated in Kenya in 2001 with the objective of providing
efficient and sustainable alternative energy solutions for Africa and to meet
the challenge of generating electricity on a cost effective, sustainable and
environmentally friendly basis.
Currently involved in the provision of hybrid and alternative power in
remote areas, Winafrique is the most reliable supplier of high end renewable
energy power products and solutions in the region. Winafrique represents a
number of international companies as their distributor and authorized
installer and has provided unique power solutions for remote site
installations for over 5 years. Winafrique evaluates project specifics,
proposes viable and cost effective solutions and specializes in the
installation, commissioning and maintenance of installed systems. Its product
lines include wind, solar and micro hydro power solutions, as well as energy
storage and hybrid power systems.
About VRB Power
Headquartered in Richmond, Canada, VRB Power Systems Inc. is an energy
storage technology developer which is marketing, selling and manufacturing
products utilizing the patented VRB Energy Storage System ("VRB-ESS(TM)"). The
VRB-ESS can economically store and supply large amounts of electricity on
demand and is focused on stationary applications. It is a long life, cost
effective, low maintenance, efficient technology that allows for the
scalability of power and storage capacity independently. The VRB-ESS is
particularly beneficial to renewable energy providers, utilities and end users
through its ability to "inventory" electricity, allowing for the optimal match
of supply and demand.
The VRB-ESS is well suited for a variety of applications. Enabling the
provision of "firm" capacity from intermittent renewable generation such as
wind and solar; more cost effective and efficient generation of electricity in
remote areas; capital deferral for utilities; and load levelling (peak
shaving) applications. The VRB-ESS is also capable of providing backup power
solutions including applications for utility sub-stations and
telecommunication sites. The VRB-ESS is characterized by having the lowest
ecological impact of all energy storage technologies and is unlike most other
conventional energy storage systems that rely on substances such as lead or
Caution regarding forward-looking statements: VRB Power's press releases
may contain forward-looking statements. These statements are based on
management's current expectations and beliefs which are subject to a number of
known and unknown risks and uncertainties (including, but not limited to, the
risk factors described in VRB Power's Annual Information Form filed with the
British Columbia Securities Commission and available at www.sedar.com) that
could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or
implied in our forward-looking statements. The Company does not assume any
obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press
The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy
or accuracy of this release.
For further information:
For further information: VRB Power Systems Inc. at (604) 247-3300;
Investor Relations at (604) 247-5001; Or visit the company's web site at: