Africa > West Africa > Cote d'Ivoire > Côte d’Ivoire is also pursuing renewable power projects in the biomass segment.

Côte d'Ivoire: Côte d’Ivoire is also pursuing renewable power projects in the biomass segment.

2015/12/26

Boosting electricity generation from a broader mix of sources has become a strategic priority for Côte d’Ivoire and is part of its drive to achieve emerging country status by 2020.

The country is looking to double electricity production to 4000 MW over the next five years through a raft of projects, with renewables earmarked to play a leading role in new added capacity. The initiatives form part of broader plans, announced in late 2012, to invest $4bn in upgrading energy infrastructure to increase electricity output by 80% by 2018.

Three consecutive years of strong economic increase– averaging nearly 9% per annum since 2012, according to the IMF – has put better pressure on Côte d’Ivoire’s national grid. Request for electricity has risen by an average of 10% per annum in recent years, while net production has increased by just 2%.

Shortfalls will be exacerbated in the coming years as major mining projects, which will require an estimated 500 MW of additional production by 2020, come on-line.

Adding capacity

In July the African Finance Corporation (AFC), a multilateral development finance institution, agreed to partner with Ivoire Hydro Energy to build the CFA60bn (€91.5m), 44-MW Singrobo hydroelectric power plant in Tiassalé, some 120 km south of Abidjan. The plant, which will be the initial private hydroelectric facility in the country, will operate on a 35-year, take-or-pay power purchase agreement with public utility company Ci-Energies.

In October Côte d’Ivoire became a member of the AFC, paving the way for the country to access an significant funding stream for infrastructure projects. The organisation has by instantly invested heavily in other infrastructure projects in Côte d’Ivoire, which have been rolled out in line with the CFA11trn (€16.8bn) 2012-15 National Development Plan (Plan National de Développement, PND). The PND dedicates some CFA622.7bn (€949.3m) to the energy sector, equivalent to around 5.5% of the total package.

Heavy on hydroelectric

Côte d’Ivoire’s broader plans for ramping up renewables include the construction of nine new dams, scheduled to be completed by 2020. The projects, which include the Singrobo facility, will add a combined 1500 MW of capacity and bolster Côte d’Ivoire’s drive to increase hydroelectricity’s share of installed capacity to 60%. At present, hydroelectricity accounts for roughly 25%, with the remainder stemming from thermal energy.

One of the planned dams, a 275-MW plant in Soubré, will stand as the major hydroelectric facility in the country once completed. China’s national-owned Sinohydro is undertaking construction, while France’s Alstom will supply equipment for the project.

The CFA331bn (€496.5m) dam is being funded by a CFA239bn (€358.5m) loan from the Export-Import Bank of China, bolstered by CFA92bn (€138m) of funding from the Ivorian government. The project, which is due to be completed by 2018, will include a 225-MW power line connecting Soubré with the Yopougon 2 industrial area in Abidjan.

While contracts have from instantly on to be awarded for the other dams, the government has indicated that three new hydroelectric plants, providing a combined 548 MW of capacity, will be built downstream from the Soubré facility on the Sassandra River. The Comoé River, in the south-east, will host two additional plants, each providing 200 MW, while two other planned dams in the north-west will contribute 206 MW of capacity.

Broadening the mix

Côte d’Ivoire is as well pursuing renewable power projects in the biomass segment. As Africa’s major exporter of palm oil, the country produces additional than 12m tonnes of biomass per year, which it plans to repurpose for electricity generation, in line with its drive to source 15% of energy from biomass by 2020.

The country is working to construct a 46-MW plant in Aboisso, to the east of Abidjan, at an estimated cost of €31m. The so-called Biokala project is scheduled approaching on-stream in 2017. Ivoirian agro-industrial firm Groupe Sifca and the French utility company EDF are constructing the facility, which is poised to become the major biomass plant in Africa to be connected to a national grid.

According to David Billon, director of Sifca, the plant will as well create a source of additional gain for oil palm growers, helping to finance the supply of fertilisers and technical assistance to improve yields.

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