UNIDO and ECREEE support Guinea Bissau in making SDG-7 a reality by 2030

Hybrid Mini-Grid Project Bambadinca
Potential site for Salthino HPP (19 MW)
Guinea Bissau Sustainable Energy International Conference

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project "Promoting Renewable Energy Investments in the Electricity Sector of Guinea Bissau" is implemented by the United Nations Industrial Develpopment Organisation (UNIDO) in close cooperation with the Ministry of Energy and Industry, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Associação para o Desenvolvimento pela Tecnologia, Engenharia, Saúde e Educação (TESE).

The project is also promoted by the Small Islands Sustainable Energy and Climate Resilience Initiative (SIDS DOCK), the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centers (GN-SEC) and the Associação Lusófona de Energias Renováveis (ALER).

Objectives and baseline

The project aims to reduce risks for and create an enabling environment for renewable energy investments in the national electricity sector. The project has adopted a holistic approach and combines interventions in the areas of policy and planning, (pre-)investment support, technology demonstration, as well as capacity building. 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 and energy efficiency 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. Due to the high political risk and small project-size, financiers and investors were reluctant to invest in renewable energy projects with long payment periods. The domestic capacities to plan, install and maintain renewable energy systems were weakly developed.

Results of the project

The GEF project assisted the Government to develop a coherent vision and road-map on how to achieve SDG-7 by 2030. The National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP), the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) and the SE4ALL Access Agenda set targets for renewable energy, energy efficiency and access to energy services by 2030. The documents were validated in several national workshops. This is also a significant contribution of the country to the mitigation targets in the National Determined Contributions (NDCs) of the Paris Climate Agreement. This national vision of Guinea Bissau is also well-coordinated and harmonised with the adopted regional targets in the ECOWAS Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policies. 

With these policies, Guinea Bissau aims at a 50% renewable energy penetration in the grid peak demand in 2030. Through energy efficiency measures the total electricity demand in 2030 will be 13% lower than in the base scenario. In the policy scenario, around 80% of the population will have access to electricity services and 75% access to modern cooking services. Around 9% of the population would be served by renewable energy-based hybrid mini-grids and stand-alone systems. 

To operationalise the established targets, UNIDO supported the development of the National Sustainable Energy Investment Plan (NSEIP). It includes a concrete pipeline of priority projects with an estimated investment volume of around 700 million USD. Currently, the NSEIP is being presented to interested investors and financiers at various events. In May 2018 UNIDO, the Government of Bissau and ALER organised the Guinea Bissau Sustainable Energy Investment Workshop at the margins of the Sustainable Energy For All Forum in Lisbon, Portugal. As a follow up to the investment workshop, the partners invited interested investors and financiers to the Guinea Bissau Sustainable Energy International Conference, held from 6 to 7 December 2018 in Bissau.

Moreover, the GEF project has provided key pre-investment support for a number of projects of the NSEIP and succeeded in “pitching” them to investors and financiers. They cover technology areas such as medium-scale grid-connected solar PV, solar PV hybrid mini-grid systems (between 312 to 500 kW), PV stand-alone and bioelectricity systems for rural electrification and productive uses in the fishery and agricultural sectors. Up to now, more than USD 50 million of funding commitments have been mobilized. Guinea Bissau is on the way to become a hub for testing and demonstration of renewable energy hybrid mini-grid systems. With support of various partners (e.g. EU, UEMOA, BOAD, TESE, SABER-ABREC), the country is currently developing and operating the biggest systems of ECOWAS. Examples are in Bambadinca (312 kWp), Bissora (500 kWp), Contubuel (100 kWp), Bubaque (650 kWp), Bolama (360 kWp), Gabu and Canchungo. This triggered the need to develop a revised regulatory framework for rural electrification and concessions, which is currently supported by the European Union.

The GEF project is also facilitating the development of the hydropower project Salthino HPP (19 MW) in the context of the OMVG interconnection project comprising Guinea, Guinea Bissau, The Gambia and Senegal. The project is important for making the 2030 renewable energy scenario of the country a reality. The initial pre-feasibility works of UNIDO and ECREEE have resulted in a financing partnership with OMVG, AfDB and OeEB on the development of the feasibility assessments and studies.

A dedicated grant facility to promote renewable energy projects was established in partnership with ECREEE. The first call of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility (EREF) for Guinea-Bissau was executed. Some of the selected projects are currently under implementation. This support is being upscaled through the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP) funded by the World Bank and their Lighting Africa Program. The project targets all fifteen ECOWAS countries, including Guinea Bissau. The project has a volume of USD 200 million and will be implemented in partnership with ECREEE, the West African Development Bank (BOAD) and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID). It promotes the uptake of markets for small-scale PV stand-alone systems (solar lanterns, solar home systems, solar water pumps, solar mills, solar sewing machines through risk mitigation (e.g. guarantees) and entrepreneurship support. 

To ensure the sustainability of these encouraging developments urgent investments in qualification and certification of sustainable energy products, services and personal is required at all levels. The GEF project has made an important initial step. In partnership with TESE a comprehensive renewable energy capacity needs assessment and action plan was developed.

Based on the recommendations, a number of national and regional capacity building workshops on key issues and technologies were held (e.g. mini-grids, entrepreneurship, gender). More than 150 experts were trained and in partnership with ECREEE a number of tools and tool-kits were developed and translated into Portuguese (e.g. mini-grid tariff calculator and policy toolkit). Knowledge exchange  between the Portuguese speaking Guinea Bissau, Cabo Verde and Sao Tome and Principe was facilitated through ECREEE and ALER. 

Selected results:

  • National Renewable Energy Action Plan developed; 
  • National Energy Efficiency Action Plan developed;
  • SE4ALL Action Agenda developed;
  • National Sustainable Energy Investment Plan developed;
  • Guinea Bissau Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Status Report developed;
  • 1st call of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility (EREF) for Guinea Bissau executed (to be upscaled by the ROGEP);
  • Guinea Bissau Sustainable Energy Investment Workshop organised 
  • Guinea Bissau Sustainable Energy International Conference organised
  • Co-financing arrangement on the 312 kwp PV hybrid system in Bambadinca Sta Claro in partnership with the EU and Portuguese Development Cooperation - watch the documentary on the project;
  • Pre-feasibility study on the 500 kwp PV hybrid mini-grid project in Bissora and technical implementation support for Saber-Abrec (e.g. baseline, tariff and O&M studies);
  • Baseline and tariff studies for the mini-grid hybrid projects in Gabu and Canchungo in cooperation with Saber-Abrec (e.g. baseline, tariff and O&M studies);
  • Feasibility studies and fund raising for the PV hybrid mini-grid projects in Bolama (360 kwp) and Bubaque (650 kwp) in partnership with TESE;
  • Pre-feasibility work and fund raising for the Saltinho Hydropower project with an estimated capacity of 19 MW;
  • Various pre-feasibility studies on bioelectricity projects;
  • Baseline Study on the Biomass Electricity Generation Potential in Guinea Bissau;

Further documents of the project are available at: www.ecowrex.org

UNIDO project contact: 

• Mr. Martin Lugmayr, UNIDO Project Manager, m.lugmayr@unido.org

Other project contacts:

Mr. Julio Antionio Raul, National Project Coordinator, antoniobolo2005@gmail.com
Mr. Joao Raimundo Lopes, GEF Focal Point, jraylopes@yahoo.com
• Mr. Eder Semedo, ECREEE Project Coordinator, esemedo@ecreee.org 
• Mr. Georgios Xenakis, TESE, g.xenakis@tese.org.pt
• Ms. Isabel Cancela de Abreu, ALER, isabel.abreu@aler-renovaveis.org 
Mr. Al Binger, SIDS DOCK Secretary General, abinger@sidsdock.org