Project General Description
The Desert to Power West Africa Regional Energy Program (WAREP) will support Sahelian countries in accelerating regional-scale development of solar power generation, transmission and decentralized solar power projects. The project is aligned with the goals and strategies of relevant regional and sub-regional organizations—notably ECOWAS, the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and West African Power Pool (WAPP). Indeed, WAREP will support these organisations towards reaching the region’s goals of universal access to electricity and increase energy trade over the next decade. The target countries face enormous challenges to significantly reduce their deficits both in electricity supply and access, which limit their capacity to develop their agricultural and industrial sectors. Phase 1 will finance pre-feasibility studies to accelerate regional-scale development for on-grid and off-grid solar generation and transmission interconnection across the Sahel Region. The project which will be executed over 36 months, has three components: (i) Pre-feasibility studies for the Sahel Backbone and associated solar parks to improve regional energy trade; (ii) Preparation Activities for the ECREEE Regional Mini Grid Program (ERMGP) to expand mini-grid investments and generate economies of scale (iii) Project management to ensure quality control and supervision of the project. This in turn is expected to contribute to the global objective of DtP to reach 10,000 MW of new solar generation capacity and universal access to electricity by 2030. The estimated total project cost is UA 4.18 million (approximately USD 6 million) funded under the Bank’s ADF-15 Regional Envelope.
The Project aims to support studies to facilitate regional integration of electricity networks across the Sahel countries by supporting grid interconnectivity to integrate more solar generation capacity. It intends (i) to build a pipeline of regional solar projects, both gridconnected and decentralized solutions, as well as cross-border transmission projects; (ii) to strengthen the capacity of utilities to integrate intermittent solar energy in power systems; and (iii) to streamline and harmonize off-grid regional policy, planning, and regulatory frameworks and capacity-building initiatives led by regional bodies.
Several positive social (including gender) and environmental impacts are expected to be derived from the project. The direct beneficiaries are the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and West African Power Pool (WAPP), which cover 13 ECOWAS Member Countries, Chad and Mauritania. The 15 beneficiaries include Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Indirect beneficiaries will be electricity users in these 15 countries who will benefit from enhanced access to reliable and affordable power, since competitive regional pool is expected to lead to a reduction in tariffs. Target countries have a total population of nearly 400 million people.