Monrovia, Oct 30, 2023 – In an unprecedented show of interest by the private sector, over 20 firms/consortiums/JVs are competing to set up grid connected solar PV and battery storage plants in three West African countries. At the end of the bid submission period and beginning of bid evaluations, the RESPITE Coordination Unit (RCU) announced that it has received 23 bids for the Design, Installation and Supply of grid connected solar PV and battery storage plants in Chad, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The project, approved by the World Bank in Dec 2022, was able to witness the opening of the bids just 9 months after project signing in January -a testament to the truly collaborative approach taken by the participating countries.
The Regional Emergency Solar Power Intervention or RESPITE is a $311 million regional project supported by the World Bank with an aim to rapidly increase grid-connected renewable energy capacity in Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo. The project will finance the installation and operation of approximately 106 megawatts of solar photovoltaic power with batteries, 41 megawatts expansion of hydroelectric power capacity, and electricity distribution and transmission interventions across the four countries. It also provides $20 million to help the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) enhance the potential for power trade in West Africa.
The participating countries have long faced the need for increasing their renewable installed capacity to meet growing demand in a clean and affordable manner. However, limited private sector interest and absence of scale have been big challenges for the countries to overcome. To overcome this challenge the four countries decided to collaborate and pool demand to bring scale to their relatively smaller projects and carry out regional procurement using a centralized multi country procurement process that is agreed to by all countries in advance.
RESPITE truly charts a new path as it is the first time that Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo have come together at a regional level. It is the first competitively bid public procurement of solar power in the participating countries and it is also the first multi country procurement for solar PV plants in the region.
The RCU received 5 bids for Chad, 10 for Liberia and 8 for Sierra Leone. In Chad the bids are for design, supply and installation of 35MWp Solar PV with battery storage at Bassi; in Liberia the bids are for a 20MWp solar PV at the Mt Coffee hydro power plant site while in Sierra Leone the bids are for setting up solar PV plants (52MWp total capacity with battery storage) in Newton and in Lungi. For each country the project would lead to taking the non-hydro related renewable capacity to over 25 percent of total capacity from nearly 0 today.
While Chad, Liberia and Sierra Leone have moved forward and the bid evaluation process has begun today, Togo is also preparing to launch its procurement early next year. The RCU aims to complete the evaluation of the technical bids over the next few weeks allowing for the financial bid opening by November end.
For the RESPITE Coordination Unit: Francis F Kyere, firstname.lastname@example.org