The African Development Bank (AfDB) has just breathed life into Burkina Faso—the lease electrified country in the continent and globally, with € 48.42 million ($53 million) fund for the government of the country to implement the Yeleen Solar energy Plant, which is anticipated to boost national power supply, AfDB press release reads.
According to AfDB, the current project is part of Burkina Faso’s broader 2025 Solar Programme, known as “Yeleen” with three components: Development of photovoltaic plants (PV) connected to the interconnected national grid, Increase in the electricity distribution network, and Rural electrification by mini-grids (isolated) and individual solar systems.
Further, the rural electrification “ Yeleen rural electrification project” which aims to increase electricity access in Burkina Faso by connecting 150,000 households to solar mini-grids (50,000 household) and through stand-alone solar kits systems (100,000 households) was approved by AfDB in December 2018 with joint financing with European Union (EU) and GCF.
On the same line, the project is parallel with AfDB’s country strategy paper for Burkina Faso (CSP 2017-2021), its High-5 “Light Up and Power Africa” initiative, and the Bank’s Climate Change plan.
More importantly, the Desert to Power initiative aims to accelerate economic development by adding solar energy generation capacity of up to 10 GW (gigawatt) by 2025 through a combination of public and private interventions.
However, the Yeleen project, which is set to be implemented under AfDB’s Desert to Power (DTP) Initiative, for five years from 2020-2024, is the second project under the DTP initiative in Burkina Faso.
The total project cost is estimated at €136.69 million ($ 150 million). The rest of the financing for Yeleen is provided by Agence Française de Développement (AFD), EU, and Société Nationale d’électricité du Burkina Faso (National electricity company of Burkina Faso, SONABEL)
The project will levitate Burkina Faso electricity access expansion efforts, which had been significantly low. According to data from Sustainable Energy for All, in 2010 access to electricity stood at 13.1 per cent , 2012 16.3 per cent, 2014 19.2 per cent (which remained the same to 2016) and per AfDB statistics 28 per cent is the national level access recorded in 2018.
Also—the project stands to increase and diversify electricity supply through the construction of four new 52 MW photovoltaic (PV) plants and extend power distribution networks to connect 30,000 new households or about 200,000 people.
It will also contribute to the avoidance of 48,000 tCO2eq (tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) emissions annually.
The latter can be substantiated by Wale Shonibare, AfDB Acting Vice-President for Power, Energy, Climate Change & Green Growth and Dr. Daniel Schroth, the Bank’s Acting Director for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency, who highlighted on the project operations to align with past commitments made.
“This project will augment the Bank’s efforts to ensure inclusive access to energy through improvements in rural electrification, regional interconnections and energy sector reforms. Notably, it will increase Burkina Faso’s generation capacity by 15%, which will greatly help to reduce Burkina Faso’s reliance on fossil fuel imports,” Shonibare commented.
“With this project, we are making concrete progress on two of the five priority areas under the Desert to Power initiative which include adding new solar generation capacity and strengthening the transmission and distribution networks,” Schroth added.
The project will calm the ongoing demand for more power, which comes amidst expansion and development of various demanding sectors such as industry, transport, and urbanized communities.