With a population of 7.4 million, Sierra Leone is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. This is reflected in local electrification rates; at the end of 2016, only 12.5% of the urban and 2% of the rural population had access to electricity.
The Sierra Leone government is committed to improving energy access for the population. To reach its ambitious energy targets it aims to create market incentives for the deployment of efficient renewable energy solutions for remote and off-grid areas driven by the private sector. The current project will add roughly 15% to Sierra Leone’s current total electricity generation capacity.
The responsAbility-managed energy company intends to provide the development and construction equity finance to fast-track the implementation of the first 5MW phase of the project, under the agreement with AGES, in support of the Government of Sierra Leone and the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority’s electrification agenda.
The site for the first 5 MW plant is located 300 km east of the capital Freetown in Sierra Leone’s Bo District, between Bo and Kenema. Under a Power Purchase Agreement and Implementation Agreement ratified by Parliament, the produced electricity will be fed into the Bo-Kenema transmission mini-grid, which is being upgraded. An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment of the project prepared by local consultants has been submitted to the Sierra Leone Environmental Protection Agency for approval.
Albert Smith, Development Director of Africa Growth and Energy Solutions, further underlined: “West Africa has amongst the highest solar radiation in the world and Bo is well positioned on the country solar map. We are pleased to team up with the responsAbility-managed energy company to implement this exciting new development.”
Speaking on behalf of responsAbility, Joseph Nganga, Executive Director of the responsAbility-managed renewable energy company for Africa, explained: “In the seriously underserved Sierra Leon electricity market, this project represents a real opportunity to make a transformational development impact. By working with AGES, experienced developers with an in-depth understanding of the local energy market, we ensure that new segments of the population gain access to electricity, a basic pre-requisite for development.”