Epileptic power supply remains a challenge for rural communities in Eritrea as only 33 percent of the country’s rural population has access to electricity.
Development Diaries reports that the lack of access to electricity directly affects people’s livelihoods as they are cut off from essential services like clean water, education, and health care.
Eritrea experiences inadequate, unreliable, expensive and polluting electricity supply with an available capacity of 35 megawatts for a peak demand of about 70 megawatts.
The electricity challenge has severely impacted Eritria’s economy as businesses suffer while the creation of new markets is also hampered.
The energy sector is critical for Eritrea’s development, and the Eritrean government aims to scale up energy infrastructure investments to promote agricultural and industrial transformation.
In 2018, the government drafted the Eritrea National Energy Policy with the aim to increase the electrification rate across the country and supply by 20 percent of electric power demand through renewable energy sources by 2030.
In line with this goal, the African Development Bank (AfDB) recently approved U.S.$49.92 million for the establishment of a 30 megawatts solar photovoltaic power plant in Dekemhare, southeast of the capital city of Asmara.
The project is expected to contribute to increasing generation capacity and grid energy to 185 megawatts and 365 gigawatts per hour every year.
‘The additional renewable energy generated will help bridge the electricity generation gap in the grid, reduce power generation costs and increase the connection rate to the electricity grid’, AfDB said in a statement.
When fully implemented, the project will be instrumental in reducing the power deficit, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the cost of electricity generation.
It will also boost the socio-economic development that has suffered from massive and prolonged load shedding and consequently improve the quality of life of the people of Eritrea.
Photo source: Johnathan Cutrer