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  • Masdar, UAE’s renewable energy company, signs agreement with Angola’s Ministry of Energy and Water at COP28 to develop solar plant in southern Angola.
  • Project will create up to 600 jobs and deliver clean energy to 90,000 homes in region with significant electricity supply challenges.
  • The agreement signed at COP28 demonstrates Masdar’s commitment to just energy transition in Africa and around the world.

Masdar, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, has announced plans to develop a major 150 megawatt (MW) solar PV project in Angola to deliver renewable energy to 90,000 homes while creating hundreds of jobs, spurring economic growth, and cutting carbon emissions.

As global leaders engaged in climate negotiations at the UN’s climate change conference COP28 in Dubai, Masdar – the UAE’s clean energy powerhouse – signed a concession agreement with Angola’s Ministry of Energy and Water to build and operate the ground-mounted solar power project in the Quipungo region, Hulia province, southern Angola. The area enjoys strong solar irradiation levels but struggles with a lack of access to reliable electricity.

Masdar solar project to plug energy insecurity gaps

Energy insecurity remains one of the most significant constraints on Africa’s development. In Angola, less than half of the population has access to electricity, that proportion falls even further in rural areas. This project will significantly support Angola’s goal of increasing its national electrification rate to around 60 per cent by 2025.

The agreement was signed by Angola’s Minister of Energy and ater Joao Baptista Borges and Masdar’s CEO Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Chairman of Masdar and COP28 President, said: “Africa has what it takes to become the world’s renewable energy powerhouse. At COP28 and beyond, we will continue to work with Africa for Africa.

“The UAE stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends in Africa as we strive to secure a just energy transition at this COP of action and COP for all. We are delighted to be moving forward with plans to build this solar power plant in Angola that will bring vital clean energy and jobs to communities. We look forward to developing this strong partnership with Angola as we work together to maximize the country’s huge clean energy potential.”

Read also: COP28: unmasking greenwashing in Africa and the challenge for sustainable development

Africa’s enormous economic potential

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said: “Developing renewable energy capacity is the key to unlocking Africa’s enormous economic potential, and Masdar is excited to be playing a major part in this effort.

“Masdar is the largest renewables energy company in Africa, through our platform Infinity Power. To accelerate a just energy transition, Masdar recently joined forces with Africa50, a pan-African infrastructure investment platform.

“Our mission is to fast-track and scale projects so we can deliver 10GW of clean energy in Africa by 2030. Masdar is an anchor partner of the UAE-led Africa Green Investment Initiative and has committed to mobilize US$10 billion in clean energy finance, of which US$2 billion will be generated from equity with an additional US$8 billion from project finance. This transformative project in Angola is a proud milestone on that pivotal journey.”

Provinces like Huila, where this solar project will be built, are highly constrained by their dependence on emissions-intensive, unreliable fuel. Once completed, the solar facility will displace over 224,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year, the equivalent of removing 50,000 cars from the roads.

Clean energy set to grow agriculture

The solar plant will support homes and businesses to leapfrog from patchy, traditional-fuel powered electricity to accessing continuous clean energy. The project will boost the local economy too.

Up to 600 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase. Afterward, the supply of reliable, clean energy is expected to help grow sectors including agriculture.

The solar project in Quipungo forms part of a wider commitment made by Masdar in January, during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2023, to develop 5 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy projects across Angola, Uganda and Zambia.

The Agreements were signed under the umbrella of Etihad 7 – a global development fund launched by the UAE to provide 100 million people across the African continent with clean electricity by 2035.

Source of original article: Industry and Trade – The Exchange (theexchange.africa).
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