The Government of Guinea Bissau, in partnership with UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization), ECREEE (ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency) and ALER (Lusophone Association of Renewable Energies), supported by the GEF (Global Environment Facility), organized the Guinea Bissau Sustainable Energy International Conference in Bissau, Guinea Bissau, on December 6th and 7th. This event welcomed around 150 participants from Guinean public institutions, private sector, financiers, NGOs and academic institutions.
At the opening session, his Excellency the Minister of Energy, Industry and Natural Resources, António Serifo Embaló assured the commitment of the Government in promoting sustainable energies and said "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."
His Excellency 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”.
Martin Lugmayr, UNIDO’s representative also left a strong message “It’s now or never! The Guinea Bissau Sustainable Energy Investment Plan calls for 700 million USD to make the energy transformation a reality by 2030”.
Eder Semedo, in representation of ECREEE, also highlighted 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 ALER said that “Guinea-Bissau has reasons to be proud, thanks to the renewable energy mini-grids operating in Bambadinca and Contuboel”.
This conference was a final mile-stone of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded UNIDO project "Promoting Renewable Energy Investments in the Electricity Sector of Guinea Bissau”. Since 2014 the project assists 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 private-sector, investors and financiers. The conference featured also the launch of the Guinea Bissau Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Status Report.
With support of the GEF and other key partners, Guinea Bissau – one of the poorest and unstable countries in the world - has become an interesting place to invest in renewable energy projects. They cover 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 bioelectricity systems for rural electrification and productive uses in the fishery and agricultural sectors. Up to now, more than USD 50 million of funding commitments have been mobilized. The country is currently operating and installing the biggest renewable energy hybrid mini-grid projects of the ECOWAS region (e.g. Bambadinca, Bissora, Contuboel).