BISSAU, 10 December 2018 - The Guinea Bissau Sustainable Energy International Conference was attended by 150 participants from Guinean public institutions, private sector, financiers, NGOs and academic institutions. The event was organized by the Government of Guinea Bissau, in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Lusophone Association of Renewable Energies (ALER), supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
At the opening session, António Serifo Embaló, Minister of Energy, Industry and Natural Resources, reiterated the government's commitment to promoting sustainable energy and stressed that "in this conference we discuss more than just energy – we discuss the future of an entire young generation and its perspective to have access to modern public services and decent income earned in key industrial sectors such as agriculture, food processing, fishery, tourism and manufacturing."
João Saad, State Secretary of Energy, added, “The National Action Plans for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency provide a coherent vision how to achieve universal access to sustainable energy services. We need to reduce our dependence on diesel imports for power generation rapidly.”
UNIDO's representative, Martin Lugmayr, noted, “It’s now or never! The Guinea Bissau Sustainable Energy Investment Plan calls for US$700m to make the energy transformation a reality by 2030.”
Lugmayr further explained that the Plan includes a pipeline of renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects with a total investment volume of US$700m remarking, "We are searching for investors and financiers to invest in these projects." He continued, "The increased use of renewable energy and energy efficiency will help the country to decrease its fossil fuel dependence significantly by 2030. We have to act now if we would like to achieve the targets by 2030. Today´s investment decisions on energy infrastructure will determine the energy pathway of the country for the next decades."
Eder Semedo, the representative of the ECREEE, said that that “the signs of change are here” and hoped that “these two days must be part of something big, and it’s up to all of us gathered here to ensure that is the case.”
Isabel Cancela de Abreu from the ALER said that “Guinea-Bissau has reasons to be proud, thanks to the renewable energy mini-grids operating in Bambadinca and Contuboel”.
The conference was the final mile-stone of the GEF-funded UNIDO project, "Promoting Renewable Energy Investments in the Electricity Sector of Guinea Bissau”. Since 2014, the project has assisted the Government in creating an enabling environment through combined interventions in the areas of policy and planning, (pre-) investment support, technology demonstration, as well as capacity building.
During the conference, the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP), the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP), the SE4ALL Access Agenda and the National Sustainable Energy Investment Plan (NSEIP) were presented to the attending representatives of the private sector, investors and financiers. The conference also saw the launch of the Guinea Bissau Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Status Report.
Guinea Bissau – one of the poorest and countries in the world – with support of the GEF and other key partners, has renewable energy projects investment opportunities covering technology areas such as medium-scale grid-connected solar PV, solar PV hybrid mini-grid systems (between 312 to 500 kW), PV stand-alone and bio-electricity systems for rural electrification and productive uses in the fishery and agricultural sectors. Up to now, more than US$50m of funding commitments have been mobilized. The country is currently operating and installing the biggest renewable energy hybrid mini-grid projects in the ECOWAS region.
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