The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) has approved a reimbursable grant of $1 million to NewAfrica Impact Ltd to prepare two bioenergy plants in Sierra Leone and Ghana that will each output 5 megawatts of electricity and 11 megawatts of heat.
The reimbursable grant will strengthen the project’s bankability by supporting technical feasibility studies and regulatory structuring. NewAfrica Impact is a renewable energy developer, investor and advisor.
The plants will be co-located with wood processing facilities to provide biomass from sustainably cultivated and certified plantations. They will provide electricity and heat to the wood processing machinery and nearby industrial parks. The Sierra Leone plant will also provide electricity to surrounding communities.
Mads Asprem, Managing Partner of NewAfrica Impact Ltd, said, “The SEFA process has already helped us increase the standard of our development work, including the environment impact assessments, and with the project approved, we will create a new efficient solution for combining the generation of energy for productive use and household consumption through mini-grids. Bioenergy provides baseload electricity and leverages complementary mainstream renewables. It also offers more positive impacts than any other form of renewable energy.”
The plants are expected to add 10 megawatts of electrical and 22 megawatts of thermal capacity in total. They will provide electricity to 5,000 households and create 125 temporary jobs during the construction phase, with another 60 people employed to operate the plants. Another 250 indirect jobs will be created, of which 30% will go to women. The project will cut carbon emissions by 45 ktCO2 per year.
Kevin Kariuki, African Development Bank Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate, and Green Growth, said, “Bioenergy is a technology struggling to be successfully implemented on the African continent and hence in need of support from Multilateral Development Banks such as the African Development Bank. By choosing the right technology and securing feedstock in the required quality and quantity, we are confident that this project will help Bioenergy to emerge in Africa.”
The project aligns with the Bank’s strategic goal to support inclusive green growth by promoting access to clean, modern, reliable and affordable energy services in rural areas and also to promote renewable energy technologies. It also aligns with Sierra Leone’s National Renewable Energy Action Plan and the Ghana Renewable Energy Masterplan.
SEFA is a multi-donor special fund that aims to unlock private sector investments that contribute to providing universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy services for all in Africa, in line with the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa strategy and Sustainable Development Goal 7.