Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 February 2024:
Octopus Energy – a global energy technology company – visits Sierra Leone as part of its partnership with Idris Elba and Siaka Stevens’ Sherbro Alliance Partners (SAP), as they progress on their project to build Sierra Leone’s first wind farm on Sherbro Island.
The green energy project will consist of up to five wind turbines with solar panels and batteries to store energy. It will expand access to affordable clean electricity for the local community.
Wind turbines are a tried-and-tested technology that is complementary to other clean energy sources like solar and hydropower. Wind turbines use the power of wind to create electricity.
Across the African continent, there has been a steady increase in the number of wind farms being built in countries including South Africa, Senegal, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Morocco and Egypt.
Around 28% of Sierra Leone’s population are estimated to have access to electricity, and the Government is targeting 85% renewable electricity capacity by 2030, highlighting the massive potential to rapidly bring affordable green energy to more people in Sierra Leone.
The partners used this trip to Sierra Leone to explore the best site for the location of the project on Sherbro Island. They are looking to create green job opportunities and training for local people to help build and also maintain the wind farm once it is operational. Construction will start later this year.
Octopus Energy was founded in the UK in 2015 and is now Britain’s largest electricity supplier. It is growing globally, serving 7.7 million customers in 18 countries including France, Spain, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Japan and USA.
Octopus invests in building green infrastructure like wind and solar farms, with hundreds of projects around the globe – and this Sherbro project is its first in Africa.
SAP is an infrastructure development company co-founded by award-winning actor Idris Elba and Siaka Stevens, the grandson of the former President of Sierra Leone. It is on a mission to transform Sherbro Island into a vibrant West African economic hub and dynamic eco-city.
Sherbro Island is a designated semi-autonomous Special Economic Zone, which allows private sector entities and investors to lead in the island’s development activities. The vision is to replicate the transformative economic shifts seen in Singapore and Dubai, with a focus on efficient governance, robust infrastructure like high-speed connectivity, alongside healthcare, education, arts, film, entertainment, business, and talent development.
Idris Elba, co-founder of Sherbro Alliance Partners, said: “We look at the pristine beaches of Sherbro Island, with the goal of creating a culturally diverse international city that blends African tradition, dynamism, and pride with state-of-the-art infrastructure and services, where development sits in harmony with sustainability. We’re pleased to partner with Octopus Energy who share a profound commitment to sustainability and energy which will be a backbone to development on Sherbro.”
Siaka Stevens, co-founder of Sherbro Alliance Partners: “Sherbro Island City is being founded on sustainable principles, and will be fuelled by clean energy sources. Over the last few years, our mission has been to transform Sherbro and ignite a new way of building African cities, Africa needs new cities. We are focusing on making a significant impact across the region and beyond with partners in the UK, Europe, Americas, Asia, and the Middle East. Our collaboration with Octopus is the first of many partnerships which will allow us to achieve this world class vision.”
Zoisa North-Bond, CEO of Octopus Energy Generation, said: “It is brilliant to be here in Sierra Leone as we progress on the next steps for developing our first renewables project here – and the first wind farm in the country too. We are incredibly excited to be working with Idris, Siaka and their team who are real visionaries creating a vibrant and sustainable future in Sherbro Island. Green energy represents a monumental opportunity for the country and across the African continent. And through projects like this, we can accelerate access to affordable, green electricity to even more people.”