Fund lends €25m to Côte d’Ivoire clean energy hydropower project

27th July 2021 By: Schalk Burger - Creamer Media Senior Contributing Editor

The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), owned by the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), is lending €25-million over 18 years to Ivoire Hydro Energy (IHE), which will build a 44 MW hydroelectric plant on the Bandama river near the village of Singrobo, in Côte d’Ivoire.

Financial close on the €174-million project is expected in the third quarter of this year. Construction will take about 36 months.

A long-term power purchase agreement will see all of the energy produced by the Singrobo plant sold to Compagnie Ivoirienne d’Electricité, the operator of Côte d’Ivoire’s national grid. 

“The new facility being built at Singrobo is the country’s first hydroelectric development by an independent power producer.

The project has seen the EAIF and the PIDG deliver on three core objectives – mobilising private capital, enabling economic development and contributing to increasing Africa’s stock of renewable energy infrastructure,” says EAIF investment management company Ninety One investment director Paromita Chatterjee.

The project site is located on the Bandama river, 23 km downstream of the existing Taabo dam and upstream of the confluence of the Nzi river.

The main plant infrastructure will include a rockfill dam on the right bank of about 27 m in height and 1 025 m in length, while on the left bank, a concrete dam of about 27 m high and 150 m long will be built.

At the centre of the plant, a spillway, water intake structure and bottom outlet will be built, while the reservoir will have an area of 19.6 km2. Two penstocks with a diameter of 5 m will be built.

A power-house with two horizontal 22 MW Kaplan turbines will be supplied by energy equipment multinationals GE or Alstom. A 1.3-km-long and 35-m-wide tailrace channel will be built, as will 3 km of access roads.

A 4-km-long 90 kV transmission line and substation to connect the hydropower plant to the existing Taabo-Agboville transmission line will also be built.

Development finance institution the African Development Bank (AfDB) acted as the mandated lead arranger of the debt finance and will be a senior lender in its own right. In addition to the AfDB and the EAIF, the other lenders are the German international development agency DEG and the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).

Further, 25% of the project cost is funded by equity from the project’s shareholders, IHE Holding, the AFC and Denham Capital-owned international power projects investment platform DIPFA. Renewable energy project developer Neo Themis is advising and acting for the shareholders in relation to finalising the project’s development and the financing agreements.