World’s Youngest Country to Tap Solar Amid Teetering Peace Deal

2016-07-20 11:10:07.503 GMT
By Anna Hirtenstein
(Bloomberg) -- Gigawatt Global Cooperatief UA, an
Amsterdam-based renewable-energy developer, is working on South
Sudan’s first solar project even as the country’s cease-fire
The world’s youngest country, which gained independence
from Sudan in 2011, struck a peace deal in August after a two-
year civil war. Sitting atop Africa’s third-largest oil
reserves, South Sudan has no working central electricity system
and is powered entirely by privately owned diesel generators.
“Some of the highest electricity prices in the world are in
the most desperate countries. The system is broken,” said Yosef
Abramowitz, Gigawatt Global’s president, in a telephone
interview. “We want to provide a sustainable alternative to
fossil-fuel vultures swooping in to sell at very high prices to
vulnerable people.”
Despite 12,000 United Nations peacekeepers on the ground in
South Sudan, clashes reportedly killed nearly 300 people in the
capital of Juba last week, according Chatham House, a London-
based research group. The U.S. government has ordered the
evacuation of non-essential personnel from the capital and
demanded an immediate end to fighting.

Setting Terms

Gigawatt Global will seek to set the terms for a 25-year
power purchase agreement with the energy ministry next week if a
team is able to safely travel to the country. The solar power
plant will have a capacity of 20 megawatts once complete,
Abramowitz said. It is expected to cost $30 million and be built
in two stages.
The developer is in negotiations with the African
Development Bank, which may finance around 65 percent of the
costs. Equity investors could fund the remainder. It is also
seeking a grant for batteries to store energy from the panels to
be used at night.
Gigawatt Global is also working on solar projects in
Burundi and Liberia. A 7.5-megawatt plant in Burundi is expected
to reach financial close by the fourth quarter and cost $12
million, Abramowitz said. A power purchase agreement has already
been signed.
The company is planning to install 1 gigawatt of renewable
energy in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2020.

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Anna Hirtenstein in London at
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
Jonathan Tirone