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Alexandre Dias Monteiro

Minister for Industry, Trade and Energy, Cabo Verde

Alexandre Dias Monteiro outlines his country's ambitious strategy to jettison fossil fuels in favour of reneable energy to Paul Melly.

With a population of just 600,000 spread across its nine islands, Cape Verde faces unique challenges. But the Atlantic location gives it the chance to build an energy future based on renewable power.

Monteiro has ambitions for the island. "Our 2018-2040 energy plan is designed to put the sector on a secure and sustainable basis, and free us from relying on fossil fuels. Our first target is to produce 30% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025, and then 50% by 2030," he says.

"At present, 18% of our power comes from wind generation, while only 2% is generated from solar installations. But we plan to develop 250MW of additional capacity by 2030, of which solar will contribute 160MW and wind 90MW."

But because wind energy is reliant on the weather, while solar power can only be generated during the hours of daylight, this was an obstacle to developing a power strategy based solely on renewables.

But Monteiro explains that Cabo Verde now plans to take advantage of the new technologies that are being developed.

"A pump-storage project--where water held in a reservoir at altitude is used to generate hydro-power during the hours of darkness--will be built on the largest island, Santiago," he says. "Such projects are not viable on the eight smaller islands, where we will install battery storage plants. Altogether, we plan to develop 640MWI1 in storage capacity."

Storage technology--an area where important advances are being made --will be the crucial third leg of Cabo Verde's plan to achieve 100% reliance on renewable power by 2040.

In the long term, some power may also be generated through wave technology, Monteiro explains. "We already have a small test project, linked to a water desalination plant, but we think that there is scope for this technology to become a competitive option."

Indeed, economic competitiveness is an important dimension of the entire renewable energy programme.

"Our aim is to achieve the maximum possible reliance on renewable power...

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