W Regional Park Solar Energy System

 

Location: W Regional Park in Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger

Type:
  • Solar

Status: Commissioned in 2003

Project Leader: Électricité de France (EDF)

Key results

  • Contributed to the preservation of the W Regional Park, part of the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex, the largest natural reserve in Western Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve
  • Solar power systems installed in villages, dispensaries, and ranger stations within the park, as well as solar water pumping stations in the core area of the park
  • Heralded as a strong example of cooperation between states and international agencies

Location: W Regional Park in Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger

Type:
  • Solar

Status: Commissioned in 2003

Project Leader: Électricité de France (EDF)

In 2003, we commissioned a pilot renewable energy system in the W Regional Park. The park is part of the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve and the largest natural reserve in Western Africa. We conducted the project in close collaboration with the three host countries – Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger – as well as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU).

We constructed different renewable energy supply systems that promoted the conservation of biodiversity in the core area of the park and fought desertification, while fulfilling the basic needs of the populations living in the buffer and transition zones around the park.  The following systems were commissioned in 2003:

  • At Perelegou Pond, in Niger, in the core area of the park, we installed two small dams and a solar water pump. This resulted in consistent water levels at the pond, which has helped develop a new ecosystem and increased the presence of fish, crocodiles, birds, and mammals
  • We installed solar panels at the park rangers’ station to provide lighting and radio communications. A reliable system to supply safe drinking water year-round was also installed, allowing the station to remain operational on an ongoing basis, thus limiting poaching and encouraging ecotourism
  • We installed solar power systems in the park’s hospitals and dispensaries in Benin and Burkina Faso to supply electricity for lighting, medical refrigerators and radio communications. We also installed a system to provide safe drinking water to patients, nurses, and the local population. With these installations, a more stable medical infrastructure was created, improving the health conditions of both the local people and the nomadic populations using these facilities
  • A new water pumping station was constructed in Benin, replacing a simple water hole in a village located close to the park’s perimeter and sparing villagers several hours of hard work each day during the dry season of carrying unsafe drinking water kilometres away

Management of the installations was transferred to the local population, who, through cooperatives based on traditional systems already in existence in West Africa, took over the ownership of the equipment and installations and the responsibility for their operation and maintenance.

"We are also very pleased with the excellent actions, in a climate of healthy and dynamic cooperation, by UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), the GSEP, and the EU. We very much appreciate the quality of the projects implemented, both within the park zone as well as along the periphery."

Mahaman Chaibou, Secretary of State, Ministry of Hydraulics, Environment and the Fight against Desertification of the Republic of Niger

Participating members and partners

  • Électricité De France (EDF)
  • Hydro-Québec
  • Enel
  • Kansai Electric Power
  • RWE
  • Governments of Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • European Union (EU)
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