- World Bank will support the installation of 106 MW solar and storage projects in Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo
- The RESPITE program will also support 41 MW hydroelectric capacity along with electricity distribution and transmission
- WAPP will also get a boost with $20 million embedded under the program to help expand power trade in the 4 nations
The World Bank has officially announced the launch of the Regional Emergency Solar Power Intervention Project (RESPITE) program. It aims to support close to 106 MW solar PV capacity in Africa’s Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo, in a bid to rapidly increase grid-connected renewable energy and also help strengthen regional integration in the participating nations.
While the project was approved on December 20, 2022, legal agreements were signed on January 31, 2023 following which the bank has released more details about RESPITE (see West Africa To Receive $311 Million From World Bank).
Located in a region with one of the lowest electrification rates and high electricity costs in Sub-Saharan Africa, these countries generate most of their power from oil-based power plants. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, oil prices have shot through the roof and created a supply crisis for West Africa, pointed out the bank.
Welcoming RESPITE as a ‘much needed’ regional intervention, President of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio said, “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,” and added, “RESPITE is the beginning of a revolution in energy supply and access.”
For solar, RESPITE will support the construction of 20 MW DC/16 MW AC solar plant on Mount Coffee island in Liberia, 2 solar and storage projects in Sierra Leone, and another similar facility in Chad, according to details of RESPITE project on the bank’s website.
The $311 million World Bank project will also support the installation and operation of 41 MW hydroelectric capacity along with electricity distribution and transmission interventions in the 4 countries. It includes $20 million to help expand power trade through the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP), a cooperation of national utilities in Western Africa.
The World Bank Director for Regional Integration for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Northern Africa, Boutheina Guermazi, stated, “RESPITE complements other existing regional projects by adding the first competitively and publicly procured clean and affordable renewable energy to the region’s power mix, while also enhancing regional integration, expanding the potential for power trade, and improving the enabling environment for integration of renewable energy in the future.”