The board of African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved grant funding of US$49.92 million to Eritrea for the construction of a 30 MW Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant in Dekemhare town. The solar plant will have a 15 MW/30 MWh battery backup system and is expected to contribute to increasing electricity generation capacity and grid energy in the country to 185 MW and 365 gigawatt-hours/year respectively.
According to AfDB, part of the grant will be allocated to technical assistance, and capacity building to improve the operational performance of the grid, and ensure the sustainability of the results achieved and the overall development of the Eritrean power sector.
The project will include construction of a 33/66 kV substation, and a 66 kV transmission line to be connected to the existing transmission line between East Asmara and Dekemhare, located about 1 km from the project site.
Capacity building for renewable energy in Eritrea
AfDB aims to support technical studies for large-scale renewable energy projects to respond to electricity demand within Eritrea Electricity Corporation (EEC) network’s interconnected system and help the country minimise the electricity generation from thermal plants.
The bank will conduct critical studies of the energy sector, including emission reduction potential of the identified renewable energy projects and their eligibility for co-financing by international climate funds.
The technical assistance by AfDB will include capacity building for the electricity company and the Ministry of Environment, particularly in photovoltaic technologies and battery energy storage systems, dispatch management and commissioning of electrical equipment.
Eritrea has an inadequate, unreliable, expensive and polluting electricity supply system, consequently, frequent load-shedding periods affect businesses and the population. The solar project is set to help improve energy security in the East African country and is aligned with its development priorities and objectives.