Masdar, EDF sign MOU to develop sub-Saharan Africa’s off-grid sector

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Bader al Lamki, Masdar’s executive director for clean energy signed the agreement alongside Valerie Levkov, senior vice president Africa and Middle East for EDF SA, at the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA’s) 8th annual assembly, currently taking place in Abu Dhabi.

The agreement will foster development opportunities within the framework of both companies’ existing off-grid investments in sub-Saharan Africa. New solutions to bring electricity to the region will be evaluated, offering designs for off-grid projects and models to address power issues in the region.

Access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa is limited, with the World Bank estimating that around 600 million people do not have access to a reliable source. EDF and Masdar aim to reduce this, promote local socio-economic development, and further expand their renewables portfolio.

“We look forward to collaborating with EDF SA to unlock opportunities to address the acute need for modern energy services in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in rural communities,” said Bader Al Lamki.

Masdar already has operational solar PV projects located in sub-Saharan Africa, including the 15 MW Sheikh Zayed Solar Power Plant, and eight rural solar energy projects with a capacity of 116.6 MW in Mauritania.

It also has other renewables assets, including in wind, solar powered water treatment projects, battery storage; and geothermal projects in the Caribbean and Pacific Islands.

Overall, since 2006, Masdar says it has invested a total of US$ 8.5 billion in renewable energy projects, with company contributions coming in at $ 2.7 billion.

EDF is also active in the market, particularly in peri-urban and rural areas, where access to energy is more acute. Cote d’Ivoire has been one of the beneficiaries of EDF’s efforts, for example, receiving solar kits with pay-as-you-go systems for households. It has further developed a 46 MW power plant generating electricity from agriculture residue (biomass), said to be the biggest of its kind in Africa.

Our in-depth knowledge of the region is key to offering the most adapted energy solutions,” said Valérie Levkov. “EDF is convinced that the cooperation with Masdar will enhance the development of essential energy projects for sub-Saharan Africa, combining electrification and low-carbon growth.”

Masdar and EDF collaborated together initially in 2017, when the EDF Group joined the Masdar-led consortium in developing and helping with the third phase of an 800 MW solar park in Dubai.