The Blitta solar PV plant, one of the largest solar plants in West Africa, has been inaugurated in Togo and is now fully operational.
The 50-megawatt (MW) project in the Centrales region of Togo will supply reliable, clean electricity to more than 158,000 homes and small businesses in the country, significantly reducing dependence on firewood and charcoal for energy consumption and receiving a sustainable supply of clean energy.
The project built on a 92-hectare site was financed by Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and selected under the ADFD-IRENA Project Facility.
The inauguration was attended by Togo President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé Eyadéma, ADFD Deputy Director General Khalifa Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Hussain Jassim Al Nowais, Chairman of Board of Directors of AMEA Power Company and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Acting-Director of Project Facilitation Ahmed Badr and senior officials from the Togolese government.
This is Togo’s first solar plant and a key element of the country’s bid to achieve energy independence by 2030, while delivering on its pledge to support the United Nations Frame-work Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Blitta plant will help advance the Togolese national clean energy strategy and its aspiration to increase its renewable energy share by 50% by 2025 and 100% by 2030 while reducing CO2 emissions in the country by more than one million tons. The project also created 700 jobs during construction, out of which 80 per cent were Togolese.
With a population of some 8.2 million people, Togo has traditionally relied on biomass as the dominant source of energy, which is a major contributor to fossil fuel pollution. National production capacity was insufficient to cover demand, leaving Togo reliant on ex-pensive energy imports from countries including Ghana and Nigeria.
ADFD, the economic development arm of the UAE Government, provided $15 million to finance the project. The Mohamed Bin Zayed Solar Complex was developed by Amea Togo Solar, a subsidiary of Amea Power, a global renewable energy developer based in the UAE.
The Togo solar power plant is part of ADFD’s partnership with IRENA to advance development of clean energy alternatives while stimulating sustainable economic growth in developing countries around the world.
ADFD has committed $350 million for concessionary loans dedicated to clean energy development projects.
Together ADFD and IRENA have supported the development of 32 clean energy projects in 26 countries, generating capacity of 245 MW to fuel the power generation needs of more than 4.5 million households and businesses.
Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, said: “We are proud to have this state-of-the-art facility carry the name Mohamed Bin Zayed Solar Complex. This solar park truly reflects the level of sustainable impact we can achieve through the ADFD and IRENA renewable energy development program. This 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.”
“Renewables are at the heart of our national energy goals and are a vital component of our broader social development and economic growth ambitions,” said 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.”
“This is a highly significant project not just for Togo but for the whole of West Africa,” said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA.
“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.”
The Blitta solar PV plant is just one example of ADFD and IRENA’s support for the development of Africa’s renewable energy sector. In 2020, ADFD signed loan agreements worth $33 million with the governments of Togo, Niger and Liberia on the sidelines of the IRENA Assembly held in Abu Dhabi.
ADFD/IRENA projects span Asia, Africa, Latin America and Small Island Developing States, encompassing the complete spectrum of renewable energy sources – wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass and technologies.