Unlocking battery storage systems in ECOWAS with PPIAF support
Many countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are looking for new solutions for achieving their green electrification goals. Developing battery energy storage systems (BESS) in the region could help these efforts, particularly by optimizing the use of intermittent wind and solar power.
The World Bank is a strong partner to ECOWAS, under which the West African Power Pool (WAPP) is established. The WAPP seeks to provide reliable energy at competitive costs throughout the member states through regional integration of the market. The success of WAPP is underpinned by infrastructure investments that will link all West African countries. Within the decade, it is planned that full physical interconnection of the network will connect all ECOWAS countries. These investments are being financed with support from the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and other multilateral and bilateral institutions.
In June 2021, the World Bank Group provided $465 million to expand energy access and renewable energy integration in West Africa under the Regional Electricity Access and Battery-Energy Storage Technologies (BEST) Project. It aims to provide access to grid electricity to over 1 million people in the Sahel, enhance the stability of the power system for an additional 3.5 million people, build the capacity of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA), and strengthen the WAPP’s network operation with battery-energy storage technologies infrastructure.
Another World Bank project, the $300 million West Africa Regional Energy Trade Development Policy Financing Program, seeks to remove barriers to electricity trade to lower electricity costs, support the competitiveness of firms, and improve resilience and reliability of supply.
PPIAF-supported technical assistance is helping prepare the ECOWAS Regional Battery Storage project, which aims to enhance the reliability of regional interconnectors. This activity is aligned with the vision to support the interconnection of power systems in recognition of different energy endowments and the benefits of optimizing energy resources across the region.
The technical assistance (TA) informed the development of battery storage needed in the coming years to improve the integration of transmission networks. The TA defined the components of the battery storage program, supported synchronization studies, identified priority investments to be included in the World Bank financing project, and assessed opportunities for private sector participation to support investment and operations of the battery storage systems in ECOWAS.
PPIAF looked at ways to bring in private participation in battery storage in the ECOWAS power system and developed guidelines for such participation. The guidelines covered considerations in identifying, assessing, structuring, preparing, and implementing PPPs and provided the general framework to help leverage private capital in BESS, thus leveraging both private sector investment capabilities and managerial expertise in operating RE and battery storage systems. The PPIAF technical report focused on developing BESS projects through public-private partnerships (PPPs).
PPIAF’s technical assistance supported a pre-feasibility assessment for the pipeline of potential BESS projects in Cote D’Ivoire, Mali, and Niger. The assessment included a comparative analysis of various battery systems and a review of the impact of battery storage systems on power systems—for example, efficiency, voltage plans, and dynamic stability. It assessed the required connecting equipment, technical specifications, and the feasibility of using a single-wire transmission to transmit electrical power. These specifications are needed to attract the right types of investments in the region, including those from the private sector.
Complementing this work was a series of training events on BESS topics for 135 officials from ECOWAS, the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP), and utilities from Cote D’Ivoire, Mali, and Niger. They were trained on operations & maintenance, environmental impact, and social issues related to the development of battery storage projects.
PPIAF’s work has already led to concrete results. Based on the PPIAF technical work, the World Bank approved a project to install 205 megawatt-hours (MWh) battery storage systems to provide frequency control to the WAPP power system. The equipment will be installed in three sub-stations in Cote d’Ivoire (105 MWh), Mali (80 MWh), and Niger (20 MWh). This PPIAF TA has potential for replication in all 15 ECOWAS countries and can be applied to other power pools in Africa and beyond.
This TA also informed a new PPIAF activity to support the government of Mauritania, which is not a member of ECOWAS but conditionally participating in this regional effort. PPIAF support will enable the government to identify priority investments and activities to operationalize variable renewable energy and battery storage technology as part of the WAPP integration. It will also address gaps in the regulatory framework to encourage private sector participation in BESS and Variable Energy Integration (solar and wind).