Africa REN, a prominent renewable energy project developer in West Africa, is thrilled to declare the accomplished financing of its Walo Storage project in Senegal. Walo Storage, a project entirely developed by Africa REN, has secured a total investment of up to €32 million in syndicated debt from the Dutch development bank FMO and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), facilitated by Ninety One, the fund manager of EAIF. This funding has been made possible with the assistance of the Seed Capital Assistance Facility and FMO.
The €32m financing is provided by:
– FMO, through a €11m loan, and an additional €8m loan provided by the Access to Energy Fund, one of the funds FMO manages on behalf of the Dutch government with the aim to create sustainable access to energy in developing countries.
– An €11m loan from EAIF, a Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) company, and a $1.5m (equivalent in EUR) of a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) extended by PIDG Technical Assistance.
The successful development of the Walo Storage project marks a significant milestone as it becomes the pioneering battery storage project in West Africa solely focused on frequency regulation. Given the grid challenges faced by the country, including limited spinning reserves and the integration of intermittent energy sources, Walo Storage will play a vital role in enhancing grid stability and minimizing power outages. This initiative aligns with Senegal’s 2030 Universal Access goal and contributes to the production of 16MW of clean energy, thereby reducing annual CO2 emissions by an estimated range of 17,000 to 21,000 tons.
This investment reinforces Africa REN’s dedication to making a positive impact on the communities it serves. As part of the Walo Storage project, Africa REN has implemented an inclusive program that includes training opportunities for young individuals and the installation of small solar plants to power local pumping stations.
Moreover, the project will adhere to the IFC Performance Standards, guaranteeing the proper management of environmental and social risks and impacts. This commitment encompasses promoting resource efficiency, preventing pollution, and upholding high standards of environmental and social sustainability throughout the project’s lifecycle.
With a vision of developing 250 MW of clean energy assets by 2026, Africa REN has secured an equity investment capacity of approximately €50 million from Metier and FMO and has been operating in West Africa since 2015. This new venture cements Africa REN’s reputation as a leader in clean and sustainable infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa. In partnership with national electricity utility Senelec, the company is on track to revolutionize Senegal’s energy landscape, one sustainable project at a time.
Gilles Parmentier, CEO of Africa REN, said: “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 groundbreaking project will bring to the communities we serve.”
Huib-Jan de Ruijter, Co-Chief Investment Officer at FMO, said: “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, said: “Within 6 years, Senegal has successfully installed nearly 25% of the country’s energy mix from renewable energy sources. This rapid deployment of renewable energy in the grid has accelerated the needs for large scale battery storage. We are delighted to back Africa REN and support the first project-financed solar + battery storage project in Senegal, using our experience and expertise in the country. Upon completion, the project will provide grid stabilization and ancillary services to the utility company, Senelec”.