A sustainable energy supply for the Cape Verde Islands

The Cape Verde Islands, an archipelago located 450 km off the coast of West Africa, have set themselves ambitious energy targets. A pilot project is to support German energy companies that offer solutions for the islands that enable them to gain access to the market.

Shore view of a Cape Verde island.© AHK Portugal

The West African country of Cape Verde is planning to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels and shift to generating all of its electricity from renewables. The vision is for wind and solar energy to supply almost all of the electricity as early as 2020. Apart from expanding generation capacities, the country also wants to improve grid infrastructure efficiency in particular. Currently, a lot of electricity is lost in the transportation process – up to 25 per cent according to experts. The country is also targeting the demand side. There is a lot of potential for saving energy, especially in the buildings sector. The focus here is on large-scale consumers, such as hotel complexes or commercial enterprises.

To help Cape Verde in its efforts, the German-Portuguese Chamber of Industry and Commerce has launched a project that is supported by the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energies Export Initiatives of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The project is to serve as a platform for decision makers from Cape Verde and companies from Germany to discuss suitable concepts for transforming the energy system on the island country. The goal is to identify technological solutions that are especially suitable for islands to ensure a viable energy supply in the future.

Gateway to West African Markets

Paulo Azevedo from the German-Portuguese Chamber of Industry and Commerce knows that the Cape Verde market is small and the potential for German companies to sell products is therefore limited. However, companies interested in doing business should see the islands as a gateway, Azevedo says. "If you can get your foot in the door here, you have a real chance to break into the markets of the Western African ECOWAS states – markets of more than 300 million people."

In October 2015, experts will join together for a conference entitled "Renewable energy and energy efficiency for the development of the Cape Verde islands" in the country’s capital Praia, and a German business mission to the region will provide opportunities for talks. The local events are aimed at small and medium-sized technology or service providers working in energy generation and transportation, grid and demand side management as well as storage systems. The project will last for three years.