Renewable Energy: A Crucial Component of Senegal’s Development Outlook

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Senegal has positioned itself as a leader in both West Africa and the MSGBC region with the construction of a number of highly innovative renewable energy projects that are supplying energy into the power grid.

One of the most dynamic sectors in Senegal’s renewable energy industry is photovoltaic (PV) solar energy. The country is blessed with abundant sunshine and this is not only a boon to the stunning tourism sector, but also presents the ideal conditions for solar power projects to thrive. The most important entity in charge of promoting the development of solar power projects in Senegal, as well as other renewables including wind energy and hydro is, the Business Council of Renewable Energies in Senegal (COPERES). 

The importance of capitalizing upon the immense potential of solar power projects in Senegal cannot be overstated. In Senegal, close to a quarter of the total population lacks regular access to electricity, with rural communities enduring the least access. In order to address this long-term economic development challenge, the administration of H.E. President Macky Sall has made renewable energy one of the strategic pillars of his Emerging Senegal Plan (PSE). Several private PV solar power plants have been commissioned and integrated into the interconnected grid in order to achieve a rate of independence in solar and wind energy. 

In May 2021, two new photovoltaic solar plants opened in Kael and Kahone, two towns located in Western Senegal. The plants will provide electricity to 540,000 citizens at a low cost. Kael and Kahone, are two small towns that, like many other rural areas in Senegal, rely primarily on agriculture. Lack of electricity access is higher in rural areas similar to Kael and Kahone in comparison to urban areas. The new solar plants in Senegal bring opportunities for employment, improved conditions in workspaces and homes and affordable electricity costs.

The addition of the solar power plants such as the aforementioned projects form part of the World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar Program and are funded by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), European Investment Bank and Proparco. Because Senegal mainly relies on imported oil for electricity, solar power plants offer a more reliable and sustainable green energy source that costs less. Access to electricity is critical for the economy and businesses, improving people’s daily lives in several ways.

Senegalese authorities have set out even more ambitious plans and a long-term strategy, in order to continue emphasizing the important role of the renewable energy sector as cornerstone of Senegal´s economic development strategy.

This includes a ramp up of the production of renewable energy in interconnected networks while taking care to mitigate the risks of intermittency, as well as in isolated systems, the development of biomass for the production of electricity, as well as supporting the development of renewable energies by setting up incentives to facilitate the acquisition of renewable energy equipment.

Although Senegal is preparing to become the MSGBC region’s largest oil and gas producer when the offshore projects of SANGOMAR, Grande Tortue, and SNE come online, the country is also looking to position itself in the best possible way in the context of the coming energy transition as the world moves to progressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to fight climate change.

In order to continue attracting private sector investment into Senegal’s renewable energy sector, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, the national utility company Senelec and crucial institutions shaping the sector such as COPERES, continue to maintain open channels of communication with leading players in the renewable energy sector. In addition to a number of these companies who are currently members of COPERES; there are also many other investment funds or renewable energy companies around the world who are actively considering new investments in the numerous opportunities presented by the renewable energy sector in Senegal.

In response to growing demand for renewable power, and increasing interest by international stakeholders to invest, develop, and succeed in Africa, Energy Capital & Power will hold the  MSGBC Oil, Gas, & Power 2021 conference and exhibition on the 2-3 December 2021. Focused on enhancing regional partnerships, spurring investment and development in the oil, gas and power sectors, the conference will unite regional international stakeholders with African opportunities, serving as a growth-oriented platform for Africa’s energy sector.

Find out more about the conference here: 

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Miguel Artacho

Miguel Artacho

Miguel is a Field Editor at ECP. Miguel is a forward-thinking communications professional currently specializing in the energy sector. Adept at developing engagement strategies and building relationships. He is known for working ethically and effectively with internal and external stakeholders to further the business goals.

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