Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 76 | Page 61

INTELLIGENT BRANDS // Green Technology

African Development Bank approves $ 50 million for 30 MW solar plant in Dekemhare , Eritrea

The African Development Fund grant will finance the construction of a 30-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant with a battery backup system . This is expected to contribute to increasing generation capacity and grid energy to 185 MW and 365 gigawatt-hours per year , respectively .

Part of the grant will also be allocated to technical assistance and capacity building to improve the operational performance of the grid and ensure the sustainability of the results achieved and the overall development of the Eritrean power sector .
Eritrea experiences inadequate , unreliable , expensive , and polluting electricity supply . The available capacity is 35 MW for a peak demand of about 70 MW . Consequently , frequent load-shedding periods affect businesses and the population .
The project consists of the power generation phase , which includes the design , construction , supply and installation of a 30 MW grid-connected solar photovoltaic power plant with a 15 MW , 30 MWh battery energy storage system , a 33 , 66 kV substation and a 66 kV transmission line connected to the existing transmission line between East Asmara and Dekemhare , located about 1 km from the project site .
The second component of the project is technical assistance and capacity building . This component aims to support technical studies for large-scale renewable energy projects to respond to electricity demand within Eritrea Electricity Corporation , EEC network ’ s interconnected system , minimise the electricity generation from thermal plants and conduct critical studies of the energy sector , including emission reduction potential of the identified renewable energy projects and their eligibility for co-financing by international climate funds .
The technical assistance includes capacity building for the electricity company and the Ministry of Environment , particularly in photovoltaic technologies and battery energy storage systems , dispatch management and commissioning of electrical equipment . This component also includes capacity building in network planning and design , performance improvement , and financial , legal , operational , and environmental aspects . Technical assistance also aims to support the Renewable Energy Centre .
The project entails the construction of a gridconnected solar photovoltaic power plant near the town of Dekemhare 40 km southeast of the capital Asmara , and to increase the capacity to supply clean and affordable electricity .
The project aligns with the objectives of the 2018 National Energy Policy , which underscores Eritrea ’ s Vision 2030 and aims to increase the electrification rate across the country and supply 20 % of electric power demand through renewable energy sources by 2030 , guide the transition from over-reliance on fossil fuels for power generation to renewable energy such as solar , wind and geothermal , and develop energy infrastructure to support agricultural production , food security and value chain development . p
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