CoM SSA sets in motion Cabo Verde local governments’ ecological transition
Published: 18 Jan 2022
Through the installation of solar panels, the local government of Ribeira Grande de Santiago will be able to produce its own 100% sustainable energy in its headquarters and at the city's heritage sites.
Through a voluntarily political commitment, the cities of Praia (capital of the country) and Ribeira Grande de Santiago (a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site) will begin their strategic planning for climate change adaptation and mitigation and promote the penetration of renewable energies at a local level. These are the first two Cabo Verdean cities to join the Covenant of Mayors for Sub-Saharan Africa, a programme co-financed by the European Union and co-implemented by the Spanish Cooperation that promotes energy efficiency from local governments. In Cabo Verde, the two signatory cities will identify low carbon urban infrastructure projects and develop a portfolio of sustainable projects to seek future funding.
The first step was to carry out project feasibility studies of a series of pilot projects that will be implemented in the CoM SSA signatory cities. One of these projects will seek to illuminate the heritage areas of Ribeira Grande de Santiago through renewable energy. Specifically, Banana and Carrera streets, considered the oldest streets urbanised by Europeans in the tropics, with no street lighting. Likewise, the Royal Fort of San Felipe, restored by the Spanish Cooperation in one of the historical interventions of heritage recovery, will also be decoratively illuminated through solar panels. This will promote tourism and improve street safety.
One of the energy production cores will be the City Hall itself, which will house the solar panels on its roof and the batteries in its basements. The results of the feasibility studies concluded that 91% of the City Hall consumption is daytime (60% from air conditioning) and there is no consumption during the weekend. Improving the building isolation and installing solar panels will stop consuming energy (mostly from fossil fuels) from the public grid equivalent to 28,6 ton CO2/year.
Also, the energy produced during the weekend and the surplus during the week will be supplied to the grid. During the night-time, the energy stored in the batteries will be used to illuminate city's heritage areas. The economic savings made on electricity bills would be invested in initiatives to impact the inhabitants' quality of life of Ribeira Grande de Santiago Municipality.
Praia and Ribeira Grande de Santiago are members of a worldwide network of local governments, the Global Covenant of Mayors, which fights against Climate Change and benefits from the experiences of other cities. In its chapter for Sub-Saharan Africa, the initiative involves more than 270 signatories throughout the continent and it is currently expanding to adopt this voluntary commitment and contribute, from the local level, to the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is expected to achieve an emissions reduction potential of 80,000 tons of CO2 over the next 15 years once the project is implemented.