COIMBRA, Portugal — Cleanwatts, a leading climate tech scaleup, has signed a contract with the Government of São Tomé and Príncipe for the production and sale of affordable clean energy. Working with the country’s public utility, the Power & Water Company (EMAE), the project will install photovoltaic plants across the country.
The first phase of the project began with the installation of photovoltaic plants at the country’s national airport in São Tomé, as well as on the island of Príncipe. Clean energy produced by the installations will be injected directly into the grid; parties expect this project to revolutionize Sao Tome and Principe’s relationship with energy by addressing gaps in affordability and security of supply.
Currently, 76.6% of the population of São Tomé and Príncipe have access to electricity1, generated primarily through imported diesel (92%)2. The Government of São Tomé and Príncipe has committed to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and increase the proportion of renewable energy from 5% to 50% of the energy mix by 2030.3 The project will therefore enable greater independence in electricity production while also reducing energy poverty and will create jobs through the employment of local labor in the construction, operation, and maintenance of the infrastructure.
The Minister of Infrastructure and Natural Resources of São Tomé and Príncipe, Osvaldo Abreu, hailed the project as “the result of a great joint effort,” and thanked “the institutions, companies and individuals involved.” Mr. Abreu expressed satisfaction in noting that “the panels and other equipment have arrived in the Port of Ana Chaves in São Tomé, following delays and uncertainties due to a shortage of maritime transport.”
Michael Pinto, CEO of Cleanwatts, said, “We are delighted to deliver this project in São Tomé and Príncipe. Islands are a promising growth segment for local energy markets and energy communities. Like many islands around the world, São Tomé depends greatly on a stable and affordable supply of energy. What we propose to do in this country is precisely to reduce dependence on imported energy through the production of locally sourced clean energy. This will contribute to achieving the country’s decarbonization goals while also addressing energy poverty – both of which are core objectives of our work.” Pinto added, “We look forward to expanding this project into a second phase and broadening the perimeter of the communities that we serve.”
In delivering this project, Cleanwatts worked closely with Pleno Ambiente STP, a local partner responsible for the installation, operation, and maintenance of the solar power plant.