The African Development Bank Group’s Board of Directors has authorized the Desert to Power G5 Sahel Financing Facility, covering Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. Over the following seven years, the Bank intends to invest up to US$ 379.6M in funding and technical assistance for the facility.
The Desert to Power G5 Financing Facility intends to help the G5 Sahel nations transition to low-emission power generation by using the region’s tremendous solar potential. The facility will focus on utility-scale solar generating via independent power producers and energy storage systems. These investments will be accompanied by technical support to improve implementation capacity, develop the enabling environment for private-sector investment, and guarantee gender and climate mainstreaming.
The Desert to Power G5 Financing Facility’s Goal of Carbon Emission Reduction
The plant will add 500 MW of solar production capacity and provide power to about 695,000 homes. The project is estimated to cut carbon emissions by more than 14.4 million tons of CO2 equivalent throughout its lifetime.
In October 2021, the Green Climate Fund‘s Board of Directors authorized US$ 150M in concessional resources for the facility, which is projected to leverage US$ 437M in additional funding from other development finance organizations, commercial banks, and private sector developers. The Global Center on Adaptation provides technical support to boost adaptation and resilience measures implemented at the facility as part of the Africa Adaptation Program, which is a collaboration between the African Development Bank and the Global Center on Adaptation.
Dr. Kevin Kariuki, the Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate Change, and Green Growth at the African Development Bank, stated that the Desert to Power G5 Sahel Facility’s innovative blended finance approach will de-risk and thus catalyze private sector investment in solar power generation in the region. This will result in revolutionary energy generation and help overcome the energy access gap in some of Africa’s most vulnerable countries.
Dr. Daniel Schroth, the Bank’s Acting Director for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, added that the facility will also aid in the integration of higher proportions of variable renewables in the region’s power systems, particularly through the deployment of innovative battery storage solutions and grid investments.
The Desert to Power G5 Sahel Financing Facility will be built as part of the larger Desert to Power program led by the African Development Bank. The goal is to light up and power the Sahel area by 2030 by installing 10 GW of solar production capacity and delivering electricity to about 250 million people throughout the 11 Sahelian countries.
What we reported earlier
US$ 5m grant approved for Desert to Power (D2P) initiative
Desert to Power (D2P) initiative which is intended to deploy solar energy production resources in the G5 Sahel countries (Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger), where approximately 60 million people do not have access to electricity is set to receive US$ 5m grant from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA).
Approved by the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) as a technical assistance project, the grant will cater to three main components. These components are; the realization of technical studies for the integration of variable renewable energies (mainly solar) in national grids; the feasibility studies for the hybridization of solar energy production systems from existing isolated grids; and capacity building to help Chad integrate the first solar energy production project which is Djermaya PV IPP plant, into its national grid.
Also Read: Construction of Nagréongo solar power plant in Burkina Faso begins
Daniel Schroth, the Acting Director for Renewable Energy and energy efficiency at the AfDB said that “this technical assistance project will specifically address the key bottlenecks limiting the large-scale deployment of solar power generation projects and allow the preparation of bankable projects for future investments.”
Aim of the Desert to Power (D2P) initiative
The “Desert to Power” initiative aims to transform the Sahel region into a renewable energy giant by harnessing its potential in solar energy, so as to create the largest solar energy production area on the planet.
It aims to produce ten gigawatts of solar energy through on-grid and off-grid projects to provide electricity to about 250 million people living in eleven Sahelian countries.
These operations should make it possible to eliminate various obstacles hampering the development of the energy sector in the Sahel countries, in particular the lack of sufficient installed production capacity, high dependence on imported fossil fuels, and an inability of networks.
US$ 6M grant approved for the launch of the initial phase of Desert to Power Program
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a US$ 6M grant for the launch of the initial phase of the Desert to Power West Africa Regional Energy Program.
Sourced from the African Development Fund’s 15 (ADF-15) Regional Operations Envelope, part of the grand will be handed over to the West African Power Pool (WAPP) to conduct pre-feasibility studies for the construction of the Sahel Transmission Backbone.
The latter will link regional solar parks in the G5 Sahel countries ( i.e. Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Niger).
The impact of the grant in the project area
According to Mr. Siengui Apollinaire K, the Secretary-General of the West African Power Pool, the Sahel Backbone is in line with the West African Power Pool’s ambition to reinforce interconnectivity among the ECOWAS national power systems, increase coverage area beyond the ECOWAS geographical space and increase renewable energy within the regions energy mix.
“The approval of this grant by the African Development Bank signifies a concrete step towards leveraging the solar potential of the Sahel region” explained Mr. Siengui Apollinaire K.
The grant will also help de-risk energy investments by preparing transmission infrastructure that will link countries in the Sahel region and harness a larger share of electricity from solar power.
This is expected to make the way for power trading on a regional electricity market.
Mr. Bah F. M. Saho, the acting Executive Director of the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) which will also receive a fraction of the grant to expand decentralized energy systems as part of an ECOWAS Regional Mini-Grid Program, said that the funding will allow the agency to upscale efforts on clean energy mini-grids and improve the availability of locally qualified personnel through the certification of technicians.
Desert to Power (D2P) initiative receives US$ 150M boost
Desert to Power (D2P) initiative will benefit from US$ 150M funding provided by the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The financing package, which is one of the most important financing packages released for the implementation of the initiative so far, will be disbursed to African Development Bank’s Desert to Power G5 Financing Facility. The African Development Bank (AfDB) is leading the Desert to Power (D2P) initiative.
Desert to Power G5 Sahel Financing Facility
The Desert to Power G5 Sahel Financing Facility’s objective is to assist Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger to adopt a low emission power generation path by making use of the region’s abundant solar potential. It is set to mobilize US$ 966M over a seven-year implementation period, and lead to substantial CO2 emission reductions – projected at over 14.4 million tCO2equ.
The facility consists of both public and private sector sub-projects that will be implemented under three components. The first component entails grid investments and investments in storage solutions to de-risk solar IPPs and pave the way for the uptake of a regional solar market, while the second entails the provision of concessional finance and guarantees for new solar independent power producer plants to add over 500 megawatts of solar energy generation capacity.
The last component involves technical assistance to support the creation of a clear and predictable environment for private sector solar investments and the development of an adequate capacity of national institutions in the G5 Sahel countries.