‘Energy is the lifeblood of our economy’ -Minister of Energy

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Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay

By Yusufu S. Bangura

“Energy is the lifeblood of our economies and this first step in transitioning to large-scale renewables is a significant and historic milestone. In Sierra Leone, RESPITE is second only to the Bumbuna hydro project as a singular endeavour in renewable energy,” says Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay.

He made this speech on Monday 30th January 2023 during the launching of Regional Emergency Solar Power interventions project at Radission Blu hotel, Aberdeen in Freetown.

The launching ceremony attracted government officials and development partners from different countries like Chad, Liberia Sierra Leone and Togo.

Minister Kanja Sesay thanked participants from different countries as they have been able to come together to initiate an impactful energy project that would scale up renewable power generations and improve capacity for regional energy trade in the future.

He said the war in Ukraine has added to the challenges faced by the region, not only are the countries in  food crisis, but the significant increase in oil prices is hitting government budgets hard and for them to have a cheaper and sustainable energy, with fund support from World Bank.

Sesay continued that the World Bank-financed project would use competitive procurement to install 106 megawatts solar power volt with storage and 41 megawatts of hydro to increase overall generation in the participating countries.

He added that the project would also support electricity distribution and transmission interventions that would improve the capacity for energy trade in the future.

He further thanked World Bank and the IFC for a coordinated IFC-WB solution and this initiative that includs accelerated board approval for funding and implementation is a sea-change for the bank in its efforts to address energy, poverty and to promote rapid transition to renewable energy sources as the baseline.

He said the project would help accelerate emergency basis, deployment of more renewable energy in the region through direct contact with the private sector under the IFC release program that supports the deployment of containerized solar in the region.

He underscored that this project would be one of the biggest renewable energy project after Bumbuna hydro project because they now have plenty solar project across the country, but for them to have a single project which is close to 40 megawatts is unique.

He said out of 40 megawatts, Newton would have 32 megawatts and Lungi would also have 10 megawatts, adding that the project would increase their solar energy component which would add to their generation and they would connect more people to electricity at cheaper and sustainable rate.

“We look forward to increase collaboration among our countries further regional energy integration and the success of this ground breaking endeavour,” he said.

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