By Victoria Onehi
Savannah Energy PLC, the British independent energy company has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (“MoA”) by Savannah Energy Niger Solar Limited, with the Government of the Republic of Niger for the development of two solar photovoltaic power plants with a combined installed power generation capacity of up to 200 megawatts.
A signature ceremony was held yesterday in Niamey attended by His Excellency Ibrahim Yacoubou, Minister of State for Energy and Renewable Energies, Her Excellency Catherine Inglehearn, British Ambassador to the Republic of Niger, and Yacine Wafy, Savannah’s Vice President West Africa.
A statement by Savannah Energy disclosed that the two proposed solar plants are expected to be located within 20 km of the cities of Maradi and Zinder, respectively, in southern Niger. Each plant is expected to have an installed capacity of between 50 and 100 MW, for a total potential installed capacity of up to 200 MW.
The Solar Projects are expected to be connected to the South Central section of Niger’s electricity grid, which is forecast to be interconnected to the Western electricity grid zone (which serves Niamey) by 2026, as part of a World Bank funded project. Following the anticipated completion of the required project feasibility studies over the course of the next 12 months, the Solar Projects are expected to receive project sanction in 2024, with first power targeted in the 2025 to 2026 window.
Savannah expects to fund the Solar Projects from a combination of its own internally generated cashflows and project specific debt.
Minister of State for Energy and Renewable Energies for the Republic of Niger,His Excellency, Ibrahim Yacoubou said:a I am delighted to participate in today’s signature ceremony for a Memorandum of Agreement with Savannah Energy for the construction and operation of two new solar power plants, up to 200 MW in scale, to be located in the Maradi and Zinder regions of Niger. These projects are an example of the Republic of Niger’s strategy to increase electricity access for our people at an affordable cost through an expanding energy mix, as we have outlined in our National Strategy of Energy Access (“SNAE”) and our National Policy Document on Electricity (“DPNE”).
These projects come in addition to the up to 250 MW Parc Eolien de la Tarka, the wind farm project signed with Savannah last year, which has strong momentum and is expected to start construction in 2024. In aggregate, the wind and solar projects Savannah is developing in partnership with the Government of Niger have the potential to increase the on-grid power supply in country substantially. These projects are crucial for Niger’s economy, potentially improving the lives of millions of Nigeriens by providing them with life changing benefits from energy access.”
British Ambassador to the Republic of Niger Catherine Inglehearn said: I am pleased that Savannah, as a British company, continues to make significant investments in Niger’s energy industry. Foreign investment such as this is crucial for Niger’s continued social and economic development and we welcome Savannah’s support. Following the investor roundtable with President Bazoum in London on 5 May 2023, this is evidence of the United Kingdom’s strong continued commitment to Niger.”
CEO of Savannah Energy, Andrew Knott said: I am delighted that we are announcing the signing of our Niger Solar Projects MOA. These are exactly the sort of high developmental impact projects our renewable energy division is seeking to deliver, with the potential to increase on-grid electricity supply in country by over 20%. We look forward to working with the Government of Niger as we seek to advance these projects through their development and construction phases towards first power in the 2025 to 2026 window.”