The Angolan Ministry of Energy and Water (MINEA) has invited representatives of the World Bank in Angola to discuss the possible entry of the African country in the Scaling Solar program, a scheme run by the same financial institution which is aimed at unlocking private investment in emerging solar markets in Africa.
According to local state-owned press agency Angop, the Angolan minister of energy, António Belsa da Costa said that the proposal to join the World Bank initiative is part of its plan to implement large-scale solar projects in the period 2018-2022.
Furthermore, he revealed that Angolan authorities had started talks to join the program in July of last year. The director of renewable energies at the Ministry, Sandra Cristovao has also said that several sites for the construction of solar parks were already identified, and that all of the country’s regions have favorable conditions for large-scale renewable energy projects.
So far only a limited number of off-grid projects have been implemented across the West African country, mostly in the regions of Zaire, Bié, Lunda Norte, Lunda Sur, Moxico, Cunene, Huíla, Cuando Cubango and Cuanza Sur.
Scaling Solar is a “one stop shop” scheme, which supports privately funded grid-connected solar PV projects in undertaking an initial legal, regulatory and technical analysis; it also prepares and runs the tender for the projects; and helps project developers achieve financial close.
According to a recent report published by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), Angola, together with Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, and Libya, have some cost-effective sites that should receive high prioritization, but are not in the top 20% primarily due to limited transmission access.
According to another report published by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, Angola’s power demand is currently covered by hydropower, which is able to cover of 60% of power production, natural gas plant and fossil fuels. Currently only 43% of the population has access to electricity in urban areas, while in rural regions this percentage drops to around only 10%.
In June of 2014, the MINEA identified potential for 55 GW solar power, 3 GW wind power and 18 GW in hydropower throughout the country. Since then, however, very poor efforts were put in place to plans to take advantage of this huge potential. Another obstacle for the development of solar and renewables, on the other hand, is represented by the fragmented power system of the country, which is divided into three separate grid systems (northern, central, and southern).