30 of November 2018

Now or Never - Join the Guinea Bissau Sustainable Energy International Conference!

Dear colleagues,


We are heading towards the „Guinea Bissau Sustainable Energy International Conference” from 6 to 7 December 2018 in Bissau. Key policy makers, entrepreneurs and financiers will draw-up concrete avenues how to mobilise 700 million USD for making universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy services a reality for Guinea Bissau by 2030.


The conference is also an excellent platform to review the progress of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project "Promoting Renewable Energy Investments in the Electricity Sector of Guinea Bissau”. Since 2014 the project is being implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in partnership with the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Natural Resources and the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE).


The starting point for the project was challenging. Apart from some small PV solar home systems the country had no real practical experience with renewable energy technologies, policies and legislation. There was political will but no real plan and evidence-based knowledge on how a sustainable energy future could look like. To address the planning deficit, UNIDO and ECREEE assisted the Government to establish a baseline and coherent vision on how to achieve SDG-7 by 2030. The developed Guinea Bissau National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP), the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) and the SE4ALL Access Agenda established far-reaching targets.


With these policies, Guinea Bissau aims at 50% renewable energy penetration in the electricity sector by 2030. Most of it will come from domestic or imported hydropower sources. The rest will be generated from solar PV and bioelectricity sources. In this scenario, around 80% of the population will have access to electricity services and 75% access to modern cooking services. Around 9% of the population will be served by renewable energy-based hybrid mini-grids and stand-alone systems. In partnership with ALER, the Guinea Bissau Sustainable Energy Status Report was developed. It provides a benchmarking tool to monitor the achieved progress regularly.


To operationalise the established targets, the National Sustainable Energy Investment Plan (NSEIP) was developed. It includes a concrete pipeline of priority projects with an estimated volume of around 700 million USD. Currently, the NSEIP is being presented to interested investors and financiers at various events. One of them was the Guinea Bissau Sustainable Energy Investment Workshop, jointly organised with ALER at the Sustainable Energy For All (SEFA) Forum in Lisbon in May 2018.


Up to now, around 50 million USD have been raised for the development and implementation of priority projects in the NSEIP. The supported technologies range from run-off river hydropower, grid-connected solar PV, to solar PV hybrid mini-grids, bio-energy and PV stand-alone systems for rural electrification and productive uses. 


The pre-feasibility work of UNIDO and ECREEE on the run-off-river hydropower project Saltinho with an estimated capacity of 19 MW resulted in a partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Austrian Development Bank (OeEB) and the Gambia Rivers Basin Organisation (OMVG). The West African Development Bank (BOAD) and SABER-ABREC are currently developing a 20 MW grid-connected PV facility near Bissau.


Guinea Bissau is on the way to become a hub for testing and demonstration of renewable energy hybrid mini-grid systems. With support of the GEF project and other partners (e.g. EU, UEMOA, BOAD, TESE, SABER-ABREC), the country is currently developing and operating the biggest systems of ECOWAS (e.g. Bambadinca (312 kWp), Bissora (500 kWp), Bubaque (650 kWp), Bolama (360 kWp), Gabu and Canchungo (1 MWp each). This triggered the need to develop a revised regulatory framework for rural electrification and concessions, which is currently supported by the European Union.


An important mile-stone regarding the promotion of mini-grids and stand-alone systems was also the first call for proposals of the newly established ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility for Guinea-Bissau  (EREF-GB).  The EREF is operated by ECREEE and provides small grants to project developers and implementers. The EREF is now being up-scaled through the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP) to be funded by the World Bank and implemented in partnership with ECREEE, the West African Development Bank (BOAD) and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID).


Dear colleagues, a lot has been done and a lot remains to be done. Now is the time for replication, upscaling and acceleration. I would like to thank the Government and all partners for the excellent cooperation and look forward to meet you all in Bissau!


Martin Lugmayr