Owendo Mineral Port (OMP) and British International Investment (BII) accelerate port’s energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions with new solar energy system

Owendo Mineral Port (OMP), part of the pan-African group Arise Ports & Logistics, and British International Investment (BII), UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, announced a significant commitment to sustainable development with an investment of 2.6 million USD. The funds will be dedicated to the implementation of a 1.56 MWp solar system and a 1 MW battery energy storage system. This project, aligned with BII’s vision of achieving a net zero emissions portfolio by 2050, represents a concrete step towards solving the climate challenge.

The anticipated environmental benefits are major, with an estimated reduction of more than 1,700 tons of CO2 per year, while optimizing port operating costs. This solar energy investment is part of OMP’s wider sustainability strategy to develop a world-class low-emission port in Africa. The solar installation is just the beginning, with OMP also expressing an interest in the future electrification of its mechanical equipment and transport vehicles, demonstrating an ongoing commitment to environmentally friendly practices.

Towards solar power in Gabon: an innovative approach

Although half of Gabon’s electricity is generated by renewable sources, its penetration of photovoltaic solar energy is low. OMP’s project is part of a wider perspective, contributing to the establishment of a commercial and industrial solar energy balance in the country.

Meeting growing energy demand

Analysis of energy demand at the site – estimated at around 7730 MWh – points to a steady increase due to the growing volume of materials processed. In this context, the installation of a solar energy and battery storage system on the workshop roofs is an effective solution. The 6 available roofs will enable the installation of around 1.56 MWp of solar panels, generating around 1,800 MWh of electricity.

BII facilitates climate action

BII’s financing, combined with a Resource Efficiency Program (REP) energy audit, demonstrates a concrete dedication to climate action. This loan accelerates energy efficiency at the port. The energy audit identified captive solar power as an essential solution for improving performance and environmental impact. This project reinforces OMP’s ongoing commitment to sustainable operating practices and the move towards a low-emission economy.

Geoffrey Manley, Director and Head of Energy Access and Efficiency, at BII commented: “Improving resource efficiency is part of the important work in mitigating the impacts of climate change, and ports are a particularly hard-to-decarbonise sector. BII has invested in OMP since 2018, and we are glad to have identified this value-add opportunity with OMP to help address climate challenges. This is in line with BII’s ambition to achieve a net zero portfolio by 2050 and support decarbonization efforts for our portfolio companies.”

Ebrima Sawaneh, COO & CFO, Arise Ports & Logistics, said: “This solar energy initiative marks a crucial step in our commitment to a sustainable future. We firmly believe that investments in eco-responsible solutions are essential to preserve our environment and enhance the port’s operational efficiency. It is an honor for OMP to actively contribute to Gabon’s energy transition.”

Paul-Dany Menga Bekale, Director in charge of Public Relations for Arise Ports & Logistics in Gabon, stated: “This strategic investment in solar energy reaffirms our commitment to pioneering sustainable practices within the port industry. By embracing innovative solutions, we not only address the immediate environmental concerns but also set a precedent for future advancements. Arise Ports & Logistics is proud to contribute to the realization of a greener and more sustainable future for the maritime sector in Gabon.”