African Development Bank funding will help the country achieve its 2030 goal of increasing electrification and supplying 20% of electricity demand with renewable energy sources.
The project includes a 15 MW/30 MWh battery energy storage system, a 33/66 kV substation and a 66 kV power line connected to the existing power line between East Asmara and Dekemhare, located approximately 1 km from the project area.
Funded through the African Development Fund, the solar farm and battery backup system are expected to increase generation capacity and grid energy to 185 MW and 365 gigawatt hours (GWh) annually.
The project is considered to reduce Eritrea’s electricity deficit, greenhouse gas emissions and electricity generation costs to $0.185/kWh. It is also expected to increase the share of renewable energy in the grid’s energy mix from 3% to 23%, creating temporary jobs during the implementation of the project and long-term jobs after the project is completed.
“The results of the project will boost socio-economic development that has suffered from massive and prolonged load shedding, thereby improving the quality of life of Eritreans,” the bank stated.
It added that part of the grant will also be allocated to technical assistance and capacity building to improve the efficiency of grid operations and the overall development of Eritrea’s electricity sector. Technical studies on major renewable energy projects are also planned to meet the demand for electricity in the interconnected network of the Eritrea Electricity Corporation (EEC) network.
“Eritrea has insufficient, unreliable, expensive and polluting electricity,” the bank noted. “The available capacity is 35 MW with a peak demand of around 70 MW. Consequently, frequent periods of load shedding affect companies and the population.”
Funding for the project includes $19.5 million from the African Development Fund and $30.42 million from the bank’s Transition Support Facility (TSF).
According to the latest International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) report, Eritrea’s estimated cumulative solar energy capacity was 10,807 MW in 2022.