Togo renewables regime praised as 50 MW solar plant begins generating


With numerous investors and clean energy developers having stressed how more renewables-friendly regulations could unlock Africa's clean power potential, the developer of Togo‘s first private utility scale solar park has praised the policies brought in by the government.

Emirati energy company AMEA Power yesterday held an inauguration ceremony for its 50 MW Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed solar park at Blitta, in the center of the West African nation, and chairman Hussain Al Nowais, quoted in a press release issued by the company, said: “Togo was an obvious choice for AMEA Power’s first operational power plant in Africa, with it being an important trade hub in West Africa, along with the government’s progressive regulatory framework for renewable energy projects, which was key in ensuring the completion of the project in a fast, efficient, and responsible manner.”

AMEA, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-based conglomerate AlNowais Investments, pointed to Togo's $8 billion, 2018-22 National Development Plan as a key factor in financing the project, with the solar park pre-funded and then refinanced, enabling work to proceed at pace on a renewables plant the developer said was completed in “record time,” without giving a context for any records broken.

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The emirati developer said construction, by an 80% Togolese workforce, was completed within 18 months of national electric company Compagnie Energie Electrique du Togo signing a 25-year power purchase agreement to buy the electricity generated at the site. The tariff to be paid for the solar power generated was not specified.

The plant is 267km from the Togolese capital, Lomé, and is expected to generate more than 90 GWh of electricity per year. AMEA said 9% of the energy production will feed the local distribution network of Blitta.

With pv magazine having previously reported the project would cost XOF20 billion ($36.3 million), AMEA yesterday said finance had been supported by concessional loans from the Togo-headquartered West African Development Bank, which serves eight countries in the region, and fellow public body the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

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The developer described the pre-funding and refinancing approach as “a unique model for a large scale IPP [independent power project] project in Africa,” and said the process was “indicative of the level of project certainty created by the [Togolese] NDP’s [National Development Plan's] regulatory framework, which provided AMEA Power with the necessary level of assurance and comfort to embark on the project’s execution well in advance of the financing being arranged.”

Under the NDP, the government is aiming for universal access to electricity this decade and for half of its power to come from clean energy sources.

With the president and prime minister of Togo in attendance at yesterday's inauguration, dignitaries were told AMEA had involved 36 engineering students from Togolese technical institutions in construction of the project, via its internship program.

Togo had just 3 MW of solar generation capacity at the end of 2020, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

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