Officials from Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Togo on Tuesday launched the Regional Emergency Solar Power Intervention Project (RESPITE), a USD-311-million (EUR 285.6m) electrification initiative supported by the World Bank and aimed at increasing grid-connected renewables capacity in the West and Central African countries.
RESPITE will finance the installation and operation of around 106 MW of solar PV farms with battery energy storage systems (BESS), 41 MW of hydroelectric expansions and support power distribution and transmission interventions across the four countries, the World Bank said.
The fifth stakeholder, the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP), will benefit from USD 20 million in financing to enhance the potential for power trade in West Africa and to facilitate knowledge sharing among members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the bank said in the announcement.
According to the World Bank, 220 million people in West Africa live without access to electricity. Apart from having one of the lowest electrification rates, the region is also faced with some of the highest electricity costs in Sub-Saharan Africa mainly due to reliance on oil-based power plants and exposure to rising oil prices.
“We are paying far more for energy now than we were 18 months ago. Very high and rising energy prices continue to have an adverse impact on other sectors of our economies,” Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio was quoted as saying in the World Bank’s press release.
“This regional intervention is much needed in the short term. Today, our countries are taking a bold step in the right direction. RESPITE is the beginning of a revolution in energy supply and access,” Bio added.
(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.918)
Choose your newsletter by Renewables Now. Join for free!