Work has begun on Djibouti’s first grid-connected solar power plant after an inauguration ceremony last week in which President Ismail Omar Guelleh (pictured) laid the foundation stone.
The 300 MW photovoltaic project in the Grand Bara desert is being developed by Swiss renewable power firm Green Enesys in partnership with the Djibouti government. Green Enesys is set to invest around €360m ($390m) in the project, which is to be financed through a Programme Partnership Arrangement.
Once operational, the plant’s power will be purchased by state utility Electricite de Djibouti through a power purchase agreement (PPA).
Construction will take place in six phases, each of which will install 50 MW. The first phase is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Around 25 smaller solar power projects are reportedly underway in the country, but none will be grid-connected.
Djibouti aims to supply 100 per cent of its power from renewable sources by 2020 and to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030.
While 65 per cent of the nation’s power is currently supplied through a hydroelectric link with Ethiopia plus 100 MW of native generation capacity, the energy ministry has said a Qatar-financed 60 MW onshore wind farm is also in the works, along with several geothermal projects.
Djibouti’s geothermal power potential has been estimated at 1 GW.