The AfDB’s Desert to Power initiative is gaining momentum across the Sahel –
The African Development Bank has approved the Desert to Power G5 Sahel financing facility covering Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
Through this facility, the Bank will commit up to $379 million in financing and technical assistance over the next seven years. The Desert to Power G5 funding facility is intended to help the five countries adopt a path of low-emission electricity generation by utilizing the region’s abundant solar potential.
Dr. Kevin Kariuki, AfDB Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth, said the Desert to Power G5 Sahel Facility’s innovative blended finance approach will reduce risk, and therefore will catalyze, private sector investment in solar power generation in the region. . “This will lead to transformational energy production and close the energy access gap in some of Africa’s most fragile countries.”
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The facility will encourage large-scale solar generation through independent power producers and energy storage solutions. The investment will be supported by a technical assistance component aimed at building implementation capacity, strengthening the enabling environment for private sector investment, and ensuring gender and climate mainstreaming.
The objective is for the installation to help create 500 MW of additional solar generation capacity, which should facilitate access to electricity for around 695,000 households. It is expected that approximately 14.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent could be avoided over the life of the project.
Desert to Power initiative leveraging solar energy
The Board of the Green Climate Fund approved $150 million in concessional resources in October 2021 for the facility, which is expected to leverage approximately $437 million in additional financing from other development finance institutions, banks businesses and private sector developers. The Global Center on Adaptation will provide technical assistance to strengthen adaptation and resilience measures undertaken in the facility under the Accelerated Africa Adaptation Program in partnership with the AfDB.
Dr Daniel Schroth, AfDB Acting Director for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency: “The Facility will also support the integration of a greater share of variable renewables into the region’s power systems, including through the deployment of innovative battery storage solutions and network investments.
The facility will be implemented as part of the broader Desert to Power initiative, one of the AfDB’s flagship programs. The objective of the initiative is to light up and power the Sahel region by adding 10 GW of solar generation capacity and providing electricity to approximately 250 million people in the 11 Sahelian countries by 2030 .
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Transforming Niger’s solar potential into hydrogen
Alongside the AfDB’s approval of the G5 financing mechanism, the Government of Niger has signed an agreement with German energy solutions provider Emerging Energy Corporation to explore and develop commercial green hydrogen projects in the landlocked country of West Africa.
Emerging Energy Corporation will also invest in projects to decarbonize oilfield and refinery operations in Niger through carbon capture technologies. It is envisaged that the production of green hydrogen in Niger will be done by electrolysis, using renewable energy.
In accordance with the agreement, the two parties will study opportunities to enable demand for the product and also prepare Niger to become a hub for the production of green hydrogen in the region.
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