AMEA Power, a subsidiary of UAE-based Al Nowais Investments (ANI), on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 announced the official commissioning of its 50MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Blitta, Togo, marking the country’s first utility-scale renewable energy project developed by an Independent Power Producer (IPP), and one of the largest solar PV IPP plants in West Africa.
Officially named Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, after Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the PV plant is said to have been delivered in record time, with just 18 months between the signing of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and commencement of commercial operations.
Built by AMEA Togo Solar, a subsidiary of AMEA Power, the plant, located 267km from Togo’s capital, Lomé, has a planned production of nearly 90,255 MWh of power per year. It will supply power to approximately 158,333 Togolese households per year, with 9% of energy generation feeding into the local Blitta distribution network, enough to meet demand in the area.
The power plant will be operated for 25 years by AMEA Togo Solar, saving more than 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over the course of its life.
The plant is instrumental in supporting Togo’s ambitious $8 billion 2018 – 2022 National Development Plan (NDP), which aims to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030 and to increase the share of renewables in the energy mix to 50%.
Hussain Al Nowais, Chairman of AMEA Power, commented: “We are delighted to launch the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed PV plant and extend our congratulations to all those involved. Togo was an obvious choice for AMEA Power’s first operational power plant in Africa, with it being an important trade hub in West Africa, along with the government’s progressive regulatory framework for renewable energy projects, which was key in ensuring the completion of the project in a fast, efficient, and responsible manner. This is an incredibly exciting time for AMEA Power, and we are on track to becoming one of the fastest-growing renewable energy IPPs, with several additional projects set to achieve financial close in 2021.”
Faure Gnassingbé, President of Togo, and AMEA Power’s Chairman, Hussain Al Nowais, attended the inauguration ceremony Tuesday at the power plant site.
Other high-profile attendees included the Prime Minister of Togo, Victoire Tomegah Dogbé; Minister Delegate to the President of the Republic, in charge of Energy and Mines in Togo, Mila Aziable; Director of Compagnie Energie Electrique du Togo (CEET), Laré Santiégou; Senior Advisor to the President of Togo, Shegun Adjadi Bakari; President of the West African Development Bank, Serge Ekué; and the Deputy Director General of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), Khalifa Al Qubaisi.
Mila Aziable, Minister Delegate to the President of the Republic, in charge of Energy and Mines in Togo, commented: “The development of the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed PV plant is an excellent example of a successful Public-Private Partnership in Africa, with AMEA Power utilising Togo’s committed implementation unit and favourable investment climate to pre-fund a large-scale renewable energy project on balance sheet. We are delighted to have worked with a team of such highly-skilled professionals with demonstrated know-how in the energy sector.”
The project was supported with concessional loans from the West African Development Bank (BOAD) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD). It was pre-funded on balance sheet, and then refinanced, a unique model for a large-scale IPP project in Africa. This is indicative of the level of project certainty created by the NDP’s regulatory framework, which provided AMEA Power with the necessary level of assurance and comfort to embark on the project’s execution well in advance of the financing being arranged.
The construction of the power plant helped to create local employment opportunities, with 80% of plant workers hailing directly from Togo.
AMEA Power also invested directly in community initiatives in Blitta, which positively impacted more than 100,000 people, by constructing (and providing equipment for) one new clinic and three new school buildings; renovating four schools; providing school supplies for 1,400 students; and installing a water pump at a local primary school. AMEA Power will provide electrification via solar power to the schools and clinic.
Moreover, AMEA Power’s internship programme brought 36 engineering students from various technical institutions in Togo to the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed PV plant, preparing them for employment by giving them the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge and develop their practical skills in renewable energies.
In response to COVID-19, AMEA Power distributed essential food and hygiene products to 8,500 families in nine countries across Africa, including 1,100 families in Togo. AMEA Power also distributed food and hygiene products to a further 8,000 families during Ramadan this year, which reached 1,100 families in Togo.