Results of the International Hydropower Association (IHA) ESG Tool assessment

The Dibwangui hydropower project (Gabon), jointly developed by the Gabonese Strategic Investment Fund (FGIS) and Eranove, meets international sustainability standards

Libreville, 24 August 2020 – The official International Hydropower Association (IHA) ESG assessment report on the Dibwangui hydropower project in Gabon was officially adopted on 23 June 2020. The Dibwangui project is the first hydropower scheme in Francophone Africa to undergo an ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) audit. It meets international best practices, especially in terms of stakeholder participation (local authorities and communities, etc.). The Dibwangui project confirms the FGIS-Eranove commitment to designing and operating increasingly efficient and sustainable production facilities.

Using the ESG tool, Gabon’s Dibwangui hydropower plant was independently assessed for sustainability against best practices in the sector between September and October 2019. This tool was developed by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) in partnership with the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Board.

The Dibwangui project is being developed under the aegis of Louetsi Hydro, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set up by FGIS-Eranove in the form of a Gabonese public limited company. Located 550 km from the capital Libreville in the Ngounié province, the project involves the design, financing, construction and operation of a hydroelectric power plant with an estimated installed capacity of 15 MW and an estimated annual output of 90 GWh.

The evaluation report credits the Dibwangui project with successfully meeting 11 of the 12 criteria for good practice, including the ability to extensively engage the various stakeholders through “exemplary” communication and consultation plans and processes.

The report also underscores the economic, environmental and social benefits of the project to the communities and areas concerned.

In keeping with the commitments of pan-African industrial group Eranove and the FGIS and the objectives of the Gabonese government, the Dibwangui hydroelectric power plant contributes to the fight against climate change. Its greenhouse gas emissions are estimated at 30 g eqv CO2/kWh and it will eventually emit between 20 and 40 times less than a thermal power plant with equivalent production and more than 10 times less than Gabon’s current energy mix (Source: ADEME, French Environment and Energy Management Agency). It will also strive to preserve biodiversity in an ecoregion known for its diverse terrestrial and aquatic environments by integrating this into the plant’s design, and is already planning actions to benefit the local population.

Furthermore, the project includes the construction of electricity transmission lines and the re-electrification of the villages between Dibwangui and Makongonio, thus economically revitalising this region which has a population of 22,973. In addition to these technical solutions, it provides for the establishment of voluntary plans to contribute to local development and support employment and economic activities, particularly in the agri-food industry (fishing and hunting).

The assessment results attest to Eranove’s commitment to sustainably operating its hydroelectric facilities. Eranove supports hydropower as a preferred energy source because it meets both competitiveness and low carbon emission requirements. The IHA report confirms that the Dibwangui project, which we and the Gabonese Strategic Investment Fund (FGIS) are assessing, complies with good environmental, social and community practices. I thank the FGIS for its trust”, said Eranove CEO Marc Albérola.

Professor Lee White, Gabon’s Minister of Forests, Oceans, Environment and Climate Change, in charge of the Climate Plan and the Land Use Plan, expressed his pleasure, saying, “We are proud that a hydropower project in Gabon is the first in Francophone Africa to be assessed by the International Hydropower Association’s ESG tool. Its results prove the level of involvement of the country’s highest authorities in complying with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and of the maturity of this issue for the Gabonese hydropower industry. I salute the commitment of the FGIS-Eranove company, which takes us another step forward towards sustainable hydropower in Gabon and Africa.

Gabon’s ever-growing involvement in the good governance of its projects and in improving access to energy and the quality of life of the Gabonese people can be seen in the results of this assessment. The President of the Republic, Head of State, His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba, has made access to clean and sustainable energy a priority. Under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Gabon has undertaken to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions
by at least 50% by 2025 through an energy transition that focuses mainly on hydropower. The Dibwangui power plant project, which was awarded the “EMEA Finance Best Water Deal” in 2016, is one such project. It will provide a sustainable response to the energy needs of these isolated communities while contributing to the Ngounié region’s economic development and the well-being of the local population,” said Alain Claude Bilie-By-Nzé, Minister of State, Energy and Water Resources.