World Bank to Provide $311 Million for Solar & Storage Projects in West Africa
The projects are aimed at helping power customers in West African nations
December 23, 2022
The World Bank Group has approved $311 million in International Development Association (IDA) financing from its new Regional Emergency Solar Power Intervention Project (RESPITE) to install and operate solar, battery energy storage systems (BESS), and hydroelectric projects in West African countries.
The financing includes a grant of $20 million to help facilitate future regional power trade and strengthen the institutional and technical capacities of the West Africa Power Pool to undertake its regional mandate.
RESPITE’s main goal is to expand the grid-connected clean energy capacity in the participating nations while improving regional integration in Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the lowest electrification rates coupled with some of the highest power costs. RESPITE is World Bank’s response to the ongoing energy crisis in West Africa to accelerate the deployment of more clean energy in the region.
The IDA financing will fund the installation and operation of ~106 MW of solar photovoltaic with BESS, and the expansion of hydroelectric capacity to 41 MW. It will further bolster power distribution and transmission interventions across the four countries.
IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. It provides grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.
World Bank Director for Regional Integration for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Northern Africa, Boutheina Guermazi, said, “RESPITE provides economies of scale, increases the potential for regional trade through investments in transmission and generation infrastructure to integrate the markets physically, and develops regional public good by facilitating knowledge sharing and capacity building.
“It provides benefits that spill over country boundaries and complements existing regional integration efforts in the energy sector involving all member states of the Economic Community of West African States,” she said.
Last month, the World Bank approved South Africa’s request for a $497 million project to decommission and re-purpose the Komati coal-fired power plant using renewable sources and batteries.
According to a report released by the World Meteorological Organization in October, despite being home to 60% of the best solar resources in the world, Africa has only 1% of installed photovoltaic capacity. The continent has seen only 2% of renewable energy investments in the past two decades.