New grant and loan funding from the European Union (EU) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) is expected to improve access to clean and affordable energy to West Africans in Guinea and Mali.
Representatives from the EU, the EIB and the Guinean government signed a contract for the provision of $399.2 million (€330 million), which will be used to implement a project designed to provide millions of people in Guinea and Mali with clean and affordable electricity.
As part of $362.9 million (€300 million) total EIB support for the Guinea-Mali interconnector project (PIEGM), a $205.7 million (€170 million) 25-year loan will be used for the construction of the 225kV Linsan-Fomi energy transmission line.
The EU will provide green funding through a $36.3 million (€30 million) grant to support the project.
The 225kV interconnector power line will provide an alternative to expensive and unreliable generators on the electricity grid and supply green power to local villages and the wider region. Some new local electricity distribution plants will be constructed to supply rural villages close to the new line and transmission plants to connect to existing energy infrastructure.
The 340km line will also enable 11 countries connected to the West African Power Pool, including neighboring Mali, to access renewable energy generated from hydro in Guinea. The new interconnector will connect two currently separate regional networks; Gambia River Basin Development Organisation (OMVG) and the 225kV Guinea-Mali interconnector.
Access to clean and affordable energy is vital for the growth of the West African economies and to help reduce carbon emissions resulting from heavy coal reliance for baseload power in the region.
In addition, the EIB will provide its technical, environmental and social expertise to help the region to expand its green energy market.
Since 2010, Guinea has been implementing an ambitious programme of major infrastructure work in the field of renewable energy in order to improve its energy mix. The works include the construction of the 250MW Kaléta hydro project, which entered service in 2015 and the 450MW Souapiti hydro project currently being completed. Guinea has a goal to improve access to energy for households, bringing the electrification rate to more than 80% by 2025.
EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle, said the loan issued by EIB is “…the biggest loan ever granted by the EIB for an investment in Guinea and will facilitate the construction of the missing link between national and sub-regional electricity networks.”