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ENHANCING THE IMPACT OF RURAL RENEWABLE ENERGY (EIRRE) PROJECT

DONOR: The Government of Japan. CONTRIBUTION: USD 3,591,214 UNOPS SERVICES: Project Management and Infrastructure Development DURATION: Mar 2021 - Sep 2023 SECTOR: Energy

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BACKGROUND

Poor access to electricity is recognised as a binding constraint to long-term economic growth in Sierra Leone. The country is currently experiencing a net deficit of power and is in desperate need of new power sources. The Ministry of Energy (MoE) has developed an Energy Sector Roadmap and action plan with initiatives to increase energy access through technical and non-technical interventions. Part of the roadmap strategy is to incorporate Sierra Leone’s great Renewable Energy (RE) resources to provide security of supply to rural communities and to boost the economy.

To help address the energy infrastructure needs, UNOPS, on behalf of the Ministry of Energy, is implementing the project titled “Enhancing the Impact of Rural Renewable Energy in Sierra Leone.” The project, funded by the Government of Japan, aims to increase access to electricity and enhance economic growth in underserved rural communities. The project will facilitate the construction of 6 solar photovoltaic (PV) mini-grids systems in Bo District, Southern Province of Sierra Leone. The rural communities include: Naiagolehun, Petewoma, Serabu, Grima Tikonko, Upper Saama and Lower Saama.

The selected sites are in locations where other Japan-funded projects exist and where improved access to electricity will enhance Japan’s contributions further. The project targets 15,647 beneficiaries and aims to expand energy access to remote villages, leading to improved development outcomes in health, education and economic development to beneficiary communities. This will enable reliable, clean and affordable electricity and in turn improve social, economic and health benefits to rural communities. Community Health Centers (CHCs) will receive up to 6.6 kWh/day of free electricity. Providing electricity access to isolated communities will result in improved economic benefits, reducing the relative cost of energy access by eliminating the expense of alternative sources, such as batteries and kerosine, and will reduce or eliminate the cost of diesel generators for energy-reliant businesses.

 

Enhancing Sierra Leone Energy Access Project (ESLEAP)

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CLIENT: Ministry of Energy Government of Sierra Leone

DONOR: The World Bank

CONTRIBUTION: USD 12,700,000

UNOPS SERVICES: Project Management and Infrastructure Development

DURATION: Dec 2021 - Dec 2024

SECTOR: Energy

 

Background and Context

Sierra Leone has one of the lowest rates of electricity access in the world; the country has a national electrification rate of 26 percent, although this figure declines to 6 percent in rural areas where the majority of the population lives. There are a number of barriers to expanding grid-based electricity access and improving service quality, including a weak and limited transmission and distribution system; non-technical deficiencies with the utility, which result in high technical and commercial losses; insufficient generation capacity; seasonal variability in hydropower production; and institutional and regulatory constraints.

Furthermore, a large portion of small towns and rural communities of the country are not likely to be connected to the main grid for at least ten years. Hence, the Government of Sierra Leone is increasing its effort on access to electricity . UNOPS through the Ministry of Energy (MoE) signed an agreement with the World Bank to implement a $12.7m project with the  aim to increase rural electricity access through mini-grids and standalone home systems in Sierra Leone. The mini-grid option provides a cost-effective solution for small towns, large communities and settlements.

The Rural Renewable Energy Project

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BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT

The National Energy Policy and Action Plan of the Ministry of Energy (MoE) provides for an increase in energy access and in the country’s generation capacity. Part of the overall strategy has been to tap into Sierra Leone’s great renewable energy resources to provide more reliable, environmentally friendly and secure electricity to rural communities.
This objective was further echoed in the signing of a joint Energy Compact Agreement with the UK in 2016 focusing on the expansion of solar power to provide universal energy access by 2030. The President’s Recovery Priorities PRP) of 2016-2017 therefore established a new ceiling of 125,000 households to be electrified within the 15 months of the PRP term.
Against this background, the Sierra Leone Rural Renewable Energy Project (RREP) was developed to support the Government’s energy access objectives and its renewed drive for clean energy access towards low emissions and a climate resilient, gender sensitive and sustainable growth trajectory. These objectives are also anchored in the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative.

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The primary responsibility of the Ministry of Energy is to formulate and implement policies, projects and programmes on energy and provide oversight functions across the entire energy supply chain for all sector agencies which include Electricity Generation & Transmission Authority (EGTC), Electricity Distribution & Supply Agency (EDSA) , Electricity & Water Regulatory Commission(EWRC) and other forms of energy supply and utilisation.

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