Togo inaugurates the first renewable facility in the country

The 50-megawatt (MW) Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed solar power plant, will supply reliable, clean electricity for domestic and business use in Togo. Image credit: IRENA

28 June 2021 – The government of Togo has inaugurated one of the largest solar projects in West Africa and the first renewable energy facility in the country.

The now fully operational 50-megawatt (MW) Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed solar power plant, financed under the International Renewable Energy Agency and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development facility (IRENA-ADFD Project Facility), will supply reliable, clean electricity for domestic and business use.

The new plant has the capacity to power electricity to nearly 160,000 homes and small businesses, significantly reducing the country’s dependence on firewood, charcoal, and fuel imports for energy consumption.

The project will also advance the Togolese national clean energy strategy to increase the share of renewables in electrification to 50% by 2025 and 100% by 2030.

“Renewables are at the heart of our national energy goals and are a vital component of our broader social development and economic growth ambitions,” says Mila Aziablé, Minister Delegate to the President of the Togolese Republic, in charge of Energy and Mines.

“This is a very significant moment our country. It marks a positive step on our journey towards building an energy system that is inclusive and clean, and that creates jobs and improves access to energy. Renewables can shape an entirely new and positive era in the development of Togo, and we are extremely grateful to all the partners involved in delivering this project.”

According to Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, this is a highly significant project not just for Togo but for the whole of West Africa. “The scale and speed of development shows what can be achieved in the region when the right blend of partners come together with purpose and intent.

“Africa holds tremendous promise for renewable power generation, which can bring improved energy access and reliability of supply, while creating jobs and economic opportunity.”

Creating jobs and supporting business

Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, says that the new Togo solar power plant truly reflects the level of sustainable impact that can be achieved through the ADFD and IRENA renewable energy development program.

“The new solar plant will greatly advance the Togolese commitment to combat climate change through a shift to clean energy while creating new jobs, supporting the local business community, and expanding community access to social services.”

The project created more than 700 local jobs during the construction phase and a further 120 direct and indirect jobs during operation, contributing to Togo’s long-term socio-economic development.

Through the IRENA-ADFD Facility, ADFD provided USD15-million of finance in the form of a concessionary loan.

The plant was developed by AMEA Togo Solar, a subsidiary of AMEA Power – a global renewable energy developer based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

IRENA remained heavily involved in the project throughout the process, brokering discussions between the Togolese government, ADFD and AMEA Power, and presenting solutions to construction and financing challenges. The project was completed ahead of schedule despite the challenges associated with Covid-19 restrictions and the resulting economic slowdown.

Togo aims to cut energy imports

With a population of close to 8.2 million people, Togo has traditionally relied on biomass as the dominant source of energy, which is a major contributor to pollution in the country.

National production capacity has been insufficient to cover demand, leaving Togo reliant on expensive energy imports from neighbouring countries including Ghana and Nigeria.

Togo expects to significantly cut fossil energy consumption as well as energy imports in the coming years.

Expanding and diversifying the country’s energy resources is also expected to boost the connection rate of local households while enabling neighbouring communities to improve access to services such as public sanitation, education, and healthcare.

The project is one example of ADFD and IRENA’s support for the development of Africa’s renewable energy sector. In 2020, ADFD signed loan agreements worth USD33-million (AED121million) with the governments of Togo, Niger, and Liberia on the side-lines of the IRENA Assembly held in Abu Dhabi.

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