Having emerged in 2011 from a decade of conflict and stagnation, Côte d’Ivoire is now one of the world’s fastest growing economies. While the government has ambitious plans to sustain this economic growth through the addition of new electricity generation capacity, efforts to incentivize renewables are unrepresentative of global trends and of their potential in the country.
Côte d’Ivoire prides itself on being the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa in which an independent power producer (IPP) was signed up by the national utility, following the generation market liberalisation of 1994. The government is now hoping to reproduce this success with the liberalisation of the distribution and retail sectors under a 2014 law. However, the opening of the markets will only occur in 2020 when the current concession agreement with the incumbent utility, the Compagnie Ivoirienne d’Electricité, reaches its term.
This openness to IPPs in a context of rapidly-growing electricity demand suggests that Côte d’Ivoire should be open to utility-scale clean energy projects. However, the government has not introduced any targeted procurement policies and does not seem to recognize the role renewables can play in rapidly increasing generation capacity at a competitive cost in emerging markets. Consequently, renewables, which are expected to account for 15% of final energy consumption by 2020, remain overshadowed by efforts to procure new coal and gas capacity, and no new clean energy capacity has been installed.
Similarly, renewables play a small part in the government’s ambitious electrification programme. The “Electricity For All” strategy, which aims to connect a million homes by 2020, has two main components. Firstly, to rehabilitate and extend the transmission grid, and secondly, to make customer connections to the distribution grid more affordable by bringing down the upfront cost of connection with a prepay meter from $250 to just $2. This approach has already succeeded in adding 70,000 new connections between October 2014 and April 2016, and installation rates are increasing. However, the potential for renewables to accelerate electrification of the most remote areas and reduce the cost of electricity access has not yet been exploited. Less than 5% of the estimated $ 796m planned government expenditure on electrification to 2020 are to be spent on renewables in mini-grid projects.
Other than a reduced rate of VAT for solar panels that is not always easy to secure, no official incentives for renewable energy development exist, which has hindered the growth of the distributed solar industry. Even so, other factors have helped create opportunities for small-scale and off-grid developers. The 2014 electricity liberalisation law has opened the door to the injection of privately-owned renewable generation into the grid. Although the necessary implementation decrees to achieve this are still being drafted, the liberalisation - combined with increasing power cuts caused by rapidly growing demand - is creating an incentive and new space for residential and commercial PV systems.
The country also produces significant biomass feedstock on its cocoa, coffee, sugar, and palm oil plantations. Some factories have been using biomass to generate electricity for their own consumption for years. One palm oil producer has installed an anaerobic digestion plant. There is also utility-scale development, with a 40MW biomass plant in development.
Côte D’Ivoire scored 0.71 in Climatescope 2016, which was identical to its performance the previous year, but insufficient to maintain its position amid rising standards in many of the nations surveyed. The country dropped 10 places to 52nd overall and was lowest among the 19 African nations surveyed.
The country dropped eighteen places to 47th, on Enabling Framework Parameter I, reflecting slower growth in demand for power among other factors. Set against this, lower taxes on clean energy goods boosted the country’s Barriers indicator.
Côte D’Ivoire was placed last among the 58 nations on Clean Energy Investment and Climate Financing Parameter II, reflecting the very low level of investment to date.
The country ranked 38th on Low-Carbon Business & Clean Energy Value Chains Parameter III, one place lower than last year. However, the presence of a number of clean energy value chains and service providers helped to prop up its score.
On Greenhouse Gas Management Activities Parameter IV, the country ranked a very poor 53rd overall, ahead of only Liberia among the African nations surveyed.
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