Speaking at the Conference of African Energy Ministers and All Africa Energy Week, EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs pledged EU support for the construction of a 22MW PV power plant in Zagtouli, Burkina Faso.
Located on the outskirts of the capital Ouagadougou, the new power plant will comprise 96,000 solar panels. The plant is expected to provide 32GWh per year, the equivalent of 6% of the country's current electricity production. This will cover the energy consumption of around 400,000 people.
Currently, only 15% of the Burkinabe population have access to electricity and the country still heavily depends on energy imports. EU support for the power plant amounts to €25 million (US$32 million) with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the French Development Agency (AFD) providing loans of a total of €38 million (approx. US$48 million.
Commissioner Piebalgs said, “Energy is fundamental to development. No energy means no sustained or sustainable economic growth, no sustainable agriculture, no quality healthcare; no decent education. In short, no energy means no development.
“And this is especially true for Africa, where technology and distance learning can provide a motor for development, all of which is totally dependent on reliable and affordable electricity,” contined Piebalgs.
“At regional level, we are preparing 60 million euro in support of the development of the main control centre for the West African Power Pool that will be located in Benin.
“At national level, in Burkina Faso, – together with the EU Member States such as France – as well as the EIB, we are preparing 63 million euro for the construction of what is currently the largest photovoltaic power plant in sub-Saharan Africa. With 96 thousand solar panels, this plant will supply electricity to an equivalent of more than 400 thousand people.
“With sound policies and well-crafted projects in place, I believe that, together, we can bring real and lasting change to the lives of the millions of people throughout Africa,” concluded the Commissioner.