The World Bank Group has approved a total of US$ 465M to fund the new Regional Electricity Access and Battery-Energy Storage Technologies (BEST) Project that will help improve the energy sector in West Africa, particularly in the ECOWAS member states.
The Battery-Energy Storage Technologies (BEST) Project will increase grid connections in fragile areas of the Sahel enabling access to grid electricity to over 1 million people, build the capacity of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) and enhance power system stability for another 3.5 million people, and increase renewable energy integration and strengthen the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP)’s network operation with battery-energy storage technologies infrastructure.
The beneficiary countries
Owing to the new Regional Electricity Access and BEST project, rural electrification in Mauritania will be expanded through grid densification of existing substations, which will enable the electrification of Boghe, Kaedi, and Selibaby, and neighboring villages along the Southern border with the neighboring Republic Senegal. Communities in Niger’s River and Central East regions that live near Niger-Nigeria interconnector will also gain grid access, as well as communities around substations in Senegal’s Casamance area. Connection charges will be partially subsidized. This will help keep costs down for the 1 million people expected to benefit from the project.
The Battery-Energy Storage Technologies (BEST) Project will also see the installation of Battery-Energy Storage Technologies in Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, and Mali. This will help improve the stability of the regional electricity network by increasing the energy reserve in the three countries and facilitating the integration of variable renewable energy. It will enable WAPP operators to store renewable energy generated at non-peak hours and dispatch it during peak hours, instead of relying on more carbon-intensive generation technology during peak hours, or when the sun is not shining, or the wind is not blowing.
It is expected that the BEST will further spur private sector participation in the region by supporting the market for renewable energy, as the battery-energy storage capacity installed under this project will be able to accommodate the 793 MW of new solar power capacity that WAPP plans to develop in Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, and Mali.