Bitgreen, the company building blockchain's epicenter for sustainability, partners with green infrastructure developer Sewa Energy Resources (SERL) and international climate action platform Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) to finance the Betmai Hydroelectric Facility in Sierra Leone. The partnership will fund construction of the 27 Megawatt run-of-the-river hydropower project, bringing affordable, renewable electricity to an equivalent of 500 thousand Sierra Leoneans through clean energy generated by the Pampana River.
(Photo : ReBlonde)
The Betmai facility brings $110 million of private capital project financing, of which $70 million will be debt. Bitgreen aims to raise $10-20 million in debt financing as it builds its regulation-compliant blockchain fundraising platform.
Sierra Leone is among the countries with the lowest electricity access in the world, with only an estimated 26 percent of its 8 million population having access to electricity. Impoverished citizens and those in rural areas are the most impacted, with power access in these groups ranging from 3-5 percent. These access shortfalls cause an over-reliance on heavily polluting imported fossil fuels to provide energy. With vital societal infrastructures unable to power key equipment, the inertia of energy poverty creates a cycle of poor health, educational deficiencies, and stunted economic growth. Sierra Leone has taken strides in achieving political stability and reducing public debt by cultivating its nascent export economy.
Betmai Hydroelectric Facility represents an essential step toward empowering Sierra Leonean citizens and industries with consistent access to renewable electricity. Located on the Pampana River near Betmai Falls in northern Sierra Leone, the facility is strategically situated near the country's iron ore mining hub and interconnected transmission lines to its capital city, Freetown. SERL and GEAPP lead the project funding and construction in a keystone partnership with Bitgreen to generate debt financing through its Polkadot-based green-blockchain fundraising hub.
As Sierra Leone's largest clean-energy developer, SERL brings 17 years of experience to developing the Betmai project and its infrastructure. SERL is a wholly independent, indigenous-owned developer focused on constructing, financing, and operating renewable energy projects across Sierra Leone and West Africa. Slated for construction in Q1 2023, SERL has obtained a USD-denominated 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) from the Sierra Leonean government of $.125 per kWh for the project to operate.
GEAPP operates in working partnerships across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean to operationalize renewable energy transition and expansion. Established in 2021 by the Rockefeller Foundation in collaboration with the Bezos Earth Fund and IKEA Foundation, the Alliance's primary objectives are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, extend clean power to underserved people, and enable green jobs. As a key funding partner alongside SERL, the Alliance bolsters Bitgreen's blockchain fundraising efforts to foster impactful, ground-level ecological and humanitarian change in Sierra Leone.
Bitgreen lays the groundwork for impact investors to back critical sustainability initiatives, including conservation, clean infrastructure, and empowerment measures for vulnerable communities. Betmai illustrates Bitgreen's potential to deliver vital funds for projects and community leaders combating climate change and creating spaces for innovation through the blockchain. Through its Proof-of-Stake consensus model, Bitgreen's layer-1 network consumes 99.9 percent less energy than traditional blockchain networks and protocols. This allows the platform to minimize its impact while embodying core values of ecological and philanthropic responsibility.
With the total cost for Betmai estimated at $110 million to be financed in 30 percent equity and 70 percent in debt, Bitgreen is implementing its blockchain to raise $10 million in debt prior to the targeted construction kickoff.
"The Betmai Hydroelectric Facility is a transformative project that will immediately benefit communities and companies across Sierra Leone," says Adam Carver, President of Bitgreen Switzerland Association. "We are thrilled that our project partners see the capabilities of our platform to connect impact investors with key initiatives and climate disruptors at all levels of reach and impact to foster thoughtful and visionary change."
"Sierra Leone is an incredibly unique country with communities that deserve access to energy," says Kofie Macauley, Founder and CEO of SERL. "As the lead developer for Betmai, I am confident that myself and the project partners will enable people and companies to improve their lives and businesses through ecologically-focused development."
"As partners on the Betmai project, we are thrilled to continue our mission in bringing clean and environmentally sound energy to vulnerable and underserved communities," says Joseph Nganga, Vice President for Africa - Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP). "Empowering disenfranchised people through access to easily available renewable energy is a key part of our operations and how we choose which partners to collaborate with."