Introduction

In the first part of this Power to Africa instalment on the Cte d'Ivoire, we looked at the challenges facing the power sector and the legislative framework put in place by the Government of the Cte d'Ivoire (GoCI). This second part will look at the anticipated developments and opportunities in the power sector in the country.

Executive summary

While the Cte d'Ivoire faces many challenges, it is one of the most dynamic sub-Saharan economies, with an investor friendly regulatory environment. Mr Luc Ay, the managing director of Azito Energie, has stated that "there are very few countries that have such a clear [legislative] organisation and structure". This, along with the GoCI's clear push for power sector reform through its National Development Plan 2016-2020 (Second NDP), has incentivised private investment and demonstrates the GoCI's commitment to creating a dynamic and growing economy, with a real focus on power. As the GoCI seeks to grow its generation capacity, become a leading regional and continental power exporter and diversify its energy mix, there are many opportunities for private sector investments.

On-grid capacity As outlined in the first part of this Power to Africa instalment, the GoCI's wishes to increase its on-grid capacity to 4,000 MW by 2020, and 6,000 MW by 2030. This is a very ambitious target, but one that the GoCI is on target to achieve. According to Africa Energy, if the GoCI's pipeline of projects comes to fruition within their stated timescales, the Cte d'Ivoire's generation capacity will be 4,060MW by 2020 and 5,184MW by 2022 (as set out in Figure 1).

Anticipated developments

Through its legislative reforms and the Second NDP, the GoCI has sought to create an environment in which investment in the power sector can grow rapidly. The areas in which significant developments are anticipated are set out next.

On-grid capacity 

As outlined in the first part of this Power to Africa instalment, the GoCI’s wishes to increase its on-grid capacity to 4,000 MW by 2020, and 6,000 MW by 2030. This is a very ambitious target, but one that the GoCI is on target to achieve. According to Africa Energy, if the GoCI’s pipeline of projects comes to fruition within their stated timescales, the Côte d'Ivoire’s generation capacity will be 4,060MW by 2020 and 5,184MW by 2022 (as set out in Figure 1). 

Private sector investment 

The drive towards expanding the country’s on-grid capacity has led to a large increase in private participation in the sector. The GoCI hopes that two thirds of the costs of the Second NDP will be met by private participation, and this extends to the power sector. 

Figure 2 shows that private investment in the energy market in the Côte d'Ivoire has significantly increased, from c. US$ 5.5 million in 2010 to c. US$ 270 million in 2014. 

With extensive legislative reform, and the ambitious Second NDP, this pattern has continued, and should create even more opportunities for private power projects in the future.

Power export

As the country’s on-grid capacity increases, the GoCI is looking to further grow its regional influence as a major player in, and net exporter to, the West African Power Pool. The country already exports power to Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone and Togo, and we expect this trend to continue.

The completion of the 1,357 km Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea (CLSG) interconnection project in 2017 marked a significant step for the GoCI towards its ambition to boost power exports. The CLSG interconnection project is a US$ 500 million 225 kV transmission grid, with a transit capacity of 290 MW. According to the Autorité Nationale de Régulation du Secteur de l’Électricité, as a result of this project, the Côte d'Ivoire is estimated to have exported 1,735 GWh in 2017 up from 893.10 GWh in 2014.

It is anticipated that the GoCI will continue to look for opportunities to increase its power exports, creating opportunities for private participants to bring new capacity onto the grid, to build new interconnectors and improve existing export infrastructure. 

Power sourse diversification

As well as growing its power capacity, the GoCI also has ambitions to diversify its energy mix away from fossil fuels (which account for c. 60% of installed capacity) and to create opportunities for investments in alterative, clean energy sources. 

The GoCI’s ambition is to generate 34% of its power from renewable sources by 2020 and 42% by 2030. Figure 3 sets out the current energy mix, and the anticipated energy mix in 2022 given the current pipeline of projects. 

It is notable that the government has already succeeded in sourcing 40.9% of its capacity from renewable resources in 2017. However, the current pipeline of projects shows that gas and coal power projects will experience the biggest growth, with hydroelectric power, an already established technology, also growing significantly. The only new renewable energy sources currently scheduled to be brought on-grid by 2022 are solar and biomass projects, accounting for less than 2% of the energy mix combined.

This gap between the GoCI’s ambition for more renewable projects, and the lack of such projects in the pipeline, will create huge opportunities for investment in renewable energy. 

Opportunities 

There are many opportunities to be found in the Côte d'Ivoire for private investors. These are explored below. 

Thermal

Thermal power generation, principally using natural gas, is one of the Côte d’Ivoire’s main sources of power generation. Part 1 of this instalment discussed the challenges surrounding the country’s limited supply of gas but, as can be seen in Figure 3 above, the GoCI plans to more than quadruple its natural gas generating capacity.

There are significant thermal projects underway in the country, including:

  • Eranove Group building a new 350MW fifth unit at its Ciprel thermal plant;
  • Globeleq commencing phase four of its Azito thermal plant which will provide a further 280 MW of CCGT generation; and
  • Côte d’Ivoire GNL (a consortium between Petroci, CI-Energies, Total, Socar, Shell, Golar and Endeavor Energy) beginning preliminary construction work on its 372 MW Songon CCGT plant.

Additionally the GoCI is promoting the development of further thermal plants, such as the 370 MW Grand Bassam thermal plant. This demonstrates the GoCI’s ambition to grow its thermal power capacity and suggests that there will be many opportunities in the sector in the coming years. 

Hydropower

Hydropower is currently the Côte d’Ivoire’s second largest source of power accounting for over 40% of the country’s installed capacity. Further, the GoCI has plans to nearly double this capacity, with new dams planned in Louaga (283 MW), Boutoubré (156 MW), Tiboto (220 MW), Singrobo (44 MW) and Gribo Popoli (112 MW).

The majority of hydropower investments in the Côte d’Ivoire are being built by the Chinese company, Sinohydro Corporation, who are constructing the Boutoubré, Tiboto and Gribo Popoli dams listed above. They are also the builder and operator of the Soubré hydroelectric power plant, a US$ 653 million, 275 MW power plant, which was opened in November 2017, and principally financed by the Export-Import Bank of China. 

Soubré served to increase the Côte d'Ivoire’s installed on-grid capacity to 2,149 MW and is the largest hydroelectric plant in West Africa.

The volume of projects in the pipeline demonstrates that the GoCI is keen to continue growing its hydroelectric capacity. 

Solar

Despite as at the time of writing having no largescale solar power plants, the Côte d'Ivoire has a large potential to generate solar power.

The country receives an average of 6 hours of sunshine a day and the annual potential for solar generation is 10,325 TWh.

Figure 4 shows that the north of the country receives the most sun, with up to 6.0 kWh/m2/day of solar potential.

Despite this, as stated above, there is not a large pipeline of solar projects coming to market, with few solar power project scheduled to be brought online by 2022. One notable project in the pipeline is the US$ 88 million, 25 MW Korhogo solar plant, being constructed by Nova Power, a Moroccan IPP, scheduled for completion in 2018.

The GoCI has also tendered for a 50 MW solar station in the Poro region and a 125 MW solar plant in Bocanda. Additionally, the National Steering Committee for Public-Private Partnerships (the Committee) has identified 100 MW of solar projects, split across 5 sites, to be tendered to the private sector.

The small, but growing, number of solar tenders shows that while solar power has been underexploited to date, the country has a large potential in this area. Private investors have the opportunity to partner with the GoCI in exploiting this opportunity. 

Biomass

Biomass is another green energy source which the GoCI is looking to exploit. SIFCA, a local agroindustrial group, estimates that the Côte d’Ivoire produces 12 million tonnes of biomass per year from both agro-industrial and household waste sources. This shows the potential for biomass to be a significant source of power for the country. 

SIFCA, alongside EDF, are developing the largest biomass plant in Africa, in Aboisso, 116 km east of Abidjan. This US$ 120 million plant will have a generation capacity of 46 MW. Other biomass plants in Akouedo, Aboisso and Sitrade are being developed with a combined generation capacity of over 30 MW, and the Committee have set out a further 305 MW worth of biomass projects that should be opened to tender.

Coal

While the GoCI is committed to growing its renewable energy capacity, there is still a need to have a diversified energy mix and a reliable power supply to meet growing demand. Accordingly, in 2016 the GoCI granted Snedai Group the right to construct two 350 MW ‘clean coal’ plants in San Pedro, at a cost of US$ 800 million. 

Conclusion

The GoCI has set itself ambitious targets to expand and diversify its generation capacity. Despite the challenges it faces, given the investor-friendly regulatory environment, it seems likely that the GoCI will achieve its goals.

This presents international investors with a number of opportunities to enter the Ivoirian market, particularly in the growing hydropower, solar, thermal and biomass sectors.