renewable energy
Image credit: IRENA

The 50MW Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed solar power project, Togo’s first renewable energy facility and one of the largest solar energy projects in West Africa, is now operational.

The project was financed by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) as part of efforts to help address energy poverty in Togo. IRENA and the ADFD provided $15 million in loan funding for the project to be developed by AMEA Togo Solar. IRENA provided technical assistance and solutions for the project to be constructed ahead of schedule despite disruptions caused by COVID-19. Some 700 jobs were created and an additional 120 direct and indirect jobs during operation.

The project will play a key role in helping Togo to advance its clean energy strategy which is designed to increase the share of renewable energy within the energy mix to 50% by 2025 and 100% by 2030. Some 160,000 households and small businesses will be powered by the new plant, reducing the country’s dependence on firewood, charcoal, and fuel imports for energy consumption.

Togo has not been able to meet its energy demand due to limited energy generation infrastructure and as such has relied on biomass and energy imports from Ghana and Nigeria to power its population. Expanding and diversifying the country’s energy resources is also expected to boost the connection rate of local households while enabling neighboring communities to improve access to services such as public sanitation, education, and healthcare.

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

“This is a very significant moment in 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.”

Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, adds: “This is a highly significant project not just for Togo but for the whole of West Africa.

“Its 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. This is a proud moment for the IRENA-ADFD Project Facility, for all who have contributed to it, and for the people of Togo.”