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The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has awarded three grants to the United States to support energy infrastructure development in Côte d’Ivoire.

A $996,238 grant for Société des Energies Nouvelles (SODEN), an Ivorian energy company, to support the development of a 60 to 70MW biomass-to-energy plant fueled by cocoa waste in Divo.

According to the USTDA, this will be the world’s first cocoa biomass project, providing significant renewable energy to increase Côte d’Ivoire’s energy security.

The feasibility study will be conducted by US firm Recast Energy, LLC.

Managing director of SODEN, Ogou Yapi, said: “I want to move ahead quickly with the Divo cocoa biomass project, and this grant will help to do that. This is just the beginning - I see this as the first of many biomass projects here.

“This project will provide jobs, additional opportunities for cocoa farmers and the cocoa economy, and it contributes not only to energy security in Côte-d'Ivoire but it can also help us reach our goal of reducing our CO2 emissions by 28% set at COP21 in Paris.”

Hydropower project grant

The second is a $999,135 grant awarded to the Ivoirian company Kokumbo Energies S.A., a subsidiary of eleQtra Ltd., to support the development of a 27.7MW run-of-river hydropower project on the Bandama River in the Gagnoa District of Côte d’Ivoire.

The project will harness Côte d’Ivoire’s significant hydropower potential and create jobs and energy for the country.

The feasibility study will be conducted by US firm Knight Piésold and Co.

Gad Cohen, CEO of eleQtra, said: “This grant will accelerate the development of the Kokumbo project and allow for much needed affordable clean energy to meet the growing demand from Ivorian households, businesses and institutions.”

Loss reduction

A $733,780 grant to the Ministry of Economy and Finance and Ministry of Energy through Société des Energies de Côte d’Ivoire to create a “Loss Reduction Strategy,” which will reduce transmission and distribution losses and integrate smart technologies into the Ivoirian electricity system.

Doing so will increase the reliability and efficiency of Côte d’Ivoire’s energy network and provide opportunities for U.S. companies to participate in the sector. Read more: USTDA, AfDB expand procurement partnerships in Africa

A U.S. contractor for this study will be chosen through the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website, the USTDA said.

“These projects demonstrate our commitment to investing in infrastructure that will drive the growth of the Ivoirian economy,” said Thomas R. Hardy, USTDA’s Director, Congressional and Public Affairs. “The Ivoirian economy is strong and growing, and we look forward to supporting this growth, while helping U.S. companies enter this dynamic market.”

These projects were inspired by a meeting between Prime Minister GON Coulibaly and USTDA’s Director, Congressional and Public Affairs, Thomas R. Hardy in November 2017. These projects represent USTDA’s ‘re-opening’ in the country, with these grants being the first signed in fifteen years.

USTDA’s partnerships in Côte d’Ivoire were also supported by many conversations with Minister of Energy Thierry Tanoh and with the assistance of the Ivoirian Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Haïdara.