Reimagining Côte d’Ivoire’s Energy Grid to Power People’s Lives
Power Africa technical assistance and capacity building at utility companies in this West African country will help save enough energy to power 500,000 households
Whether to log onto a computer for work, call a loved one far away, or visit the doctor, people in Côte d’Ivoire rely on the power grid to keep their lives moving. But for many, sudden disruptions to electricity are a normal part of life. Recent changes to the country’s power network — like integrating more renewable energy and trading electricity with neighboring countries through the West African Power Pool — have also made the grid more complex to manage.
Power Africa’s mission is to double access to clean, more reliable energy in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030. In support of this goal, Power Africa is working with utility companies, Côte d’Ivoire Energies (CI-ENERGIES) and Compagnie Ivoirienne d’Electricité (CIE), and the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum, and Energy to enhance the efficiency and security of power systems, incorporate more renewable energy sources, and improve electricity access across the country.
For more people to have access to reliable power, it’s important to reduce technical inefficiencies in the power grid that lead to power loss. In 2018, about 21% of the electricity generated in the country was lost in the transmission and distribution network, of which 7% was commercial losses. To address this, Power Africa has trained and provided resources to engineers at utility companies in Côte d’Ivoire so they can plan a more sustainable future for the national power system on their own. Thus far, Côte d’Ivoire’s utility companies have developed plans to save the equivalent of 80 megawatts (MW) of energy, enough to power 500,000 small households.
Expanding Knowledge to Improve Long-Term Plans for Power
Countries around the world use energy master plans to guide the long-term development and improvement of their power systems. Typically, countries in West Africa hire an international consulting firm to develop and update such plans. But in Côte d’Ivoire, Power Africa focused on building the capacity of in-country experts to strengthen the current master plan independently.
In 2021, Power Africa trained engineers from the country’s two utility companies, Côte d’Ivoire Energies (CI-ENERGIES) and Compagnie Ivoirienne d’Electricité (CIE), on one of the leading software programs in the sector, PowerFactory. Using the tool, the engineers analyzed the power system, identified gaps, and developed recommendations for investments that will strengthen Côte d’Ivoire’s existing master plan and bring more reliable electricity to people across the country. With the effects of climate change already impacting many in the region, the engineers also recommended strategies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions — like integrating use of more solar power and increasing battery storage.
CI-ENERGIES officially adopted the recommendations developed by the Ivorian power engineers. These efforts put communities in Côte d’Ivoire one step closer to having more reliable, efficient electricity for years to come.