The new Regional Emergency Solar Power Intervention Project (RESPITE), funded by the International Development Association (IDA), will assist current and potential electricity customers in Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
A $20 million grant is part of the new project. It will help the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) build the institutional and technical capabilities it needs to carry out its regional mission and make it easier for power to be traded in the region in the future.
The main goals of the RESPITE program are to improve cooperation between the countries that are taking part and to quickly increase the number of renewable energy sources connected to the grid.
About 106 megawatts of solar photovoltaic systems with batteries and energy storage systems will be installed and put to use. The hydroelectric capacity will also go up by 41 megawatts.
It will also help distribute and transmit electricity across the four countries.
West Africa has some of the most expensive electricity rates and one of the lowest electrification rates in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Also, rising energy costs have made utilities’ debts bigger, and many countries now have serious power supply problems that could stop their economies from growing.
The new project’s solutions are many-sided and will help the countries and the area in a big way. Starting to build clean energy that is connected to the grid and bid on competitively will help ease the current power supply crisis.
Rhonda Jordan-Antoine, the leader of the World Bank Task Team, said that one way to deal with climate change in a positive way is to help countries move away from expensive and polluting fuels. Another way is to help synchronize the WAPP network, increasing regional integration in the energy sector.
The project has made a regional plan to increase the potential for power trade in West Africa and make it easier for each beneficiary country to get electricity when needed.
Ms. Boutheina Guermazi, the Regional Integration Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Africa at the World Bank, says that “RESPITE provides benefits that spill over country borders and complements existing regional integration efforts in the energy sector involving all member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).”
Investing in transmission and infrastructure to physically connect the markets “provides economies of scale, improves the potential for regional trade, and supports regional public good by facilitating knowledge sharing and capacity building.”
The new project is part of the World Bank Group’s response to the energy crisis in West Africa. It aims to speed up the use of more renewable energy sources in the area as soon as possible.
The project will show that competitively tendered grid-connected solar and battery storage is possible in the countries that are taking part. It will also encourage the best commercial companies in the world to move into smaller, less stable economies.