March 16, 2023 (ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), with the financial support of the African Development Bank, organised a steering committee meeting to develop technical studies for regional solar parks and associated battery storage in close proximity to the regional interconnectors.
The meeting was also meant to strengthen the technical capacity of IGAD in the operationalization of the AfDB-financed Regional Infrastructure Master Plan (IRIMP).
The meeting was attended by the selected Steering Committee members from IGAD Member States’ Ministries in charge of renewable energy.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Gosaye Mengistie, Senior Energy Advisor from the Ministry of Water and Energy of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia said: “We, East African countries have many challenges. There is need to improve the quality of life of our citizens. Apart from the difficulties in improving education, health, and access to clean water, the low rate of electrification and per-capita consumption of energy is a severe concern to our governments in all Sahel countries including Ethiopia.”
On behalf of IGAD Executive Secretary, Dr Osman Babikir, Director of IGAD Economic Cooperation and Regional Integration Division stated: “As we are going to learn about this ambitious initiative led by AfDB, Desert to Power Initiative, it will as well be an opportunity for us to discuss about clean energy sources and how we can harness the vast solar power potential across the region to provide access to electricity and enable socioeconomic development as well as improve resilience in the region.”
The steering committee meeting gave the committee members a good understanding of the project as a whole. The participants were informed about the details and implementation mechanisms of the project.
By the end of the one-day meeting, the terms of reference for the Steering Committee were discussed and approved, and the project work plan and budget were presented, discussed and approved as well.
Desert to Power (“DtP”), a flagship renewable energy and economic development initiative led by the AfDB, aims to accelerate socioeconomic development through the deployment of solar technologies at scale in the 11 countries of the Sahel region (Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan).
The second phase of the DtP programme, namely, East Africa Regional Energy Project (EAREP), aims to develop and harmonize a regional Renewable Energy policy for the East Africa Sahel countries (namely, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan) in collaboration with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the East Africa Power Pool (EAPP).
IGAD has received a grant of USD 5.5 million for a period of four years to implement the project.
The project will be implemented through four main components:
Component I: Harmonization of the Regional Regulatory and Policy Framework, which aims to propose a portfolio of policy measures, laws, regulations, and incentives to be implemented at national and – when applicable – regional levels in the East Africa Sahel region.
Component II: Technical Studies for Development of Regional Solar Parks, which aims to support the implementation of regional solar parks to respond to electricity demand in the region.
Component III: Capacity Building which aims to enhance IGAD skills in energy planning; technical, legal, financial and environmental aspects of RE technologies.