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Africa REN, a leading renewables project developer in West Africa, has achieved a significant milestone with the successful financing of its ground-breaking Walo storage project in Senegal.
The project, fully developed by Africa REN, has received a total investment of up to €32 million (nearly $35 million) from the Dutch development bank FMO and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), acting through Ninety One, fund manager of EAIF.
The financing package comprises various contributions from key stakeholders. FMO will provide a €11 million loan, along with an additional €8 million loan from the Access to Energy Fund, which aims to create sustainable energy access in developing countries.
EAIF, a company under the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), will contribute an €11 million loan, while PIDG Technical Assistance will extend $1.5 million in Viability Gap Funding (VGF) equivalent in EUR.
Gilles Parmentier, CEO of Africa REN, expressed his pride in reaffirming the company’s leading role in the sustainable energy revolution taking place in Sub-Saharan Africa. He stated, “We are proud to reaffirm our leading position in the sustainable energy revolution unfolding in Sub-Saharan Africa. This landmark funding from FMO and EAIF for the Walo Storage project reaffirms our commitment to the region.
“It also paves the way for an innovative and resilient energy infrastructure that supports Senegal’s 2030 Universal Access objective and significantly reduces CO2 emissions. At Africa REN, we believe that sustainable energy solutions are key to unlocking potential and driving growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, and we are excited about the opportunities that this ground-breaking project will bring to the communities we serve.”
Huib-Jan de Ruijter, co-chief investment officer at FMO, emphasised the significance of the Walo Storage project in contributing to a stable and sustainable energy supply in Senegal. He commented, “With the financing of the Walo Storage project, FMO contributes to a more stable and sustainable energy supply in Senegal.
“The transaction is an important milestone for FMO in adding storage to FMO’s energy strategy, which goes beyond energy generation and addresses bottlenecks in the energy transition. With the Walo Storage project, FMO also further strengthens its strategic relationship with Africa REN and its commitment to support Senegal’s energy sector.”
Tidiane Doucoure, director at Ninety One, the fund manager of The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, acknowledged Senegal’s impressive progress in installing nearly 25% of its energy mix from renewable sources within just six years.
He expressed delight in supporting Africa REN and the first project-financed solar + battery storage initiative in Senegal. Doucoure highlighted the project’s ability to provide grid stabilisation and ancillary services to Senelec, the national utility company.
The Walo Storage project represents a major breakthrough as it marks West Africa’s first battery storage initiative dedicated to frequency regulation. In a region challenged by grid constraints and the integration of intermittent energy sources, the project will bring stability to the local grid, reducing power outages. Moreover, the project aligns with Senegal’s 2030 Universal Access goal, generating 16 MW of green energy and expected to decrease CO2 emissions by 17 000 to 21 000 tonnes annually.
The inclusion program associated with the Walo Storage project reflects Africa REN’s commitment to community development. It includes training opportunities for young people and the construction of small solar plants to power local pumping stations.
The project will adhere to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards, ensuring effective management of environmental and social risks, resource efficiency, pollution prevention, and more.
Africa REN has set a vision to develop 250 MW of clean energy assets by 2026 and has secured an equity investment capacity of approximately €50 million from Metier and FMO. Operating in West Africa since 2015, Africa REN continues to solidify its reputation as a leader in clean and sustainable infrastructure across Sub-Saharan Africa. Through its partnership with the national electricity utility, Senelec, Africa REN aims to revolutionise Senegal’s energy landscape, one sustainable project at a time.