Energy company plans 500 MW of solar in Chad


Savannah Energy has signed a deal with the government of Chad to develop up to 400 MW of solar-plus-battery projects in the country.

Reuters reported in January that London-based Savannah Energy paid $626 million to Exxon Mobil and Petronas to acquire interests in Chad and neighboring Cameroon, including a 75% stake in the Doba Oil Project. The agreement announced by the company last week included a commitment to develop up to 300 MW of solar capacity plus a battery system to power the oil project and nearby towns of Moundou and Doba.

Savannah Energy did not state what proportion of the electricity to be generated by the Centrale Solaire de Komé solar-plus-storage project would power operations at the oil field. It did not specify the size of the battery system.

The company also agreed to install up to 100 MW of solar capacity, and the same volume of wind turbines, to generate electricity for the Chadian capital, N'Djamena. A press release issued by Savannah Energy last week stated that the Centrales d’Energie Renouvelable de N’Djamena project is “anticipated to benefit from the installation of a [battery energy storage system].”

If the latter projects reaches 200 MW in scale, Savannah Energy said, it would more than double the capital's grid-connected power generation capacity and would raise the power capacity of the entire nation by around 63%. At 300 MW, the Centrale Solaire de Komé facility would be “the largest solar project in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa),” according to the energy company. It said it would also represent “the largest battery storage project in Africa.”

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Savannah Energy CEO Andrew Knott said the agreement signed with Chad's Ministry of Petroleum and Energy marked one of the African nation's biggest foreign direct investment deals. He said it is likely “the largest ever by a British company” in Chad.

The energy company said the Centrale Solaire de Komé project will likely be approved in 2023. It is expected generate its first electricity in 2025. For the Centrales d’Energie Renouvelable de N’Djamena facility, the respective dates given were 2023-24 and 2025-26.

The International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that Chad had just 1 MW of grid-connected solar capacity and 227 kW of off-grid arrays at the end of 2021.

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