Demand riskRenewable energy

VIDA use case: Sierra Leone


Planning for renewable energy infrastructure and energy access

IndustryRenewable energy
Infrastructure type
  • Centralised and distributed grids
  • Solar power plants
Risk types
  • Demand risk
  • Accessibility risk
  • Climate risk
LocationSierra Leone (country-wide for 21,000 locations)
  • Ministry of Energy Sierra Leone
  • World Bank
  • Other donors
  • Infrastructure developers
VIDA value
  • Users (government, bank, developers) gain a detailed understanding of demand risk, accessibility risk, and other risks
  • Users work with these datasets and can add new geospatial and on-ground data
  • Different stakeholders can collaborate in the software
  • Different types of infrastructure (energy, healthcare, education) can be planned in an integrated, optimised manner
ImpactExpediting renewable energy access for 6 million people

Sierra Leone has one of the lowest rates of energy access globally (ca. 26%). Recognising this urgent need for change, the government of Sierra Leone plans to provide electricity to all by 2030.

Now the Ministry of Energy in Sierra Leone, with support from the World Bank, uses VIDA to turn this vision into reality.

With VIDA, the government, private equity investors, banks, and donors have a country-wide overview of electrification opportunities and risk information. For each of over 21.000 individual investment locations in the country, they can access information on the demand for energy, accessibility, security situation, agricultural potential, social infrastructure (schools, health facilities, etc.), climate risks, and others. With VIDA, they choose the most appropriate energy infrastructure across the country (grid extension, distributed grids, or simply household level solar systems). VIDA enables more than 100 million dollars of immediate investment into renewable energy access in the country.

Country-level energy infrastructure overview in VIDA.
Location-level energy infrastructure overview in VIDA.
Flood risk layer in VIDA (one of 50+ risk layers).

Sierra Leone, located on the West Coast of Africa with a population of approximately 8.4 million, suffered a devastating civil war that ended in 2002, leaving the economy in ruins and severely damaging physical infrastructure. While the country has made notable strides in poverty reduction, the low electricity access rate remains a significant challenge.

VIDA data-layers integrate earth observation, spatial analysis, and artificial intelligence to create a reliable, granular, and comprehensive understanding of the investment opportunities and risks in Sierra Leone. Through the VIDA software, the relevant data is brought to life, allowing decision-makers to visualise it, work with it, add to it, comment on it, extract it in different data formats (e.g. PDFs or Excel), share it with stakeholders and invite them to collaborate on it. Today, more than 60 decision-makers from Sierra Leone’s government, from the World Bank, MCC, the EU, GEAPP, and several private sector infrastructure investors collaborate on VIDA. They receive regular trainings by the VIDA team.

The use of VIDA is an example of technology leapfrogging for rapid infrastructure development.

VIDA training session in Freetown.
“In a very short while, VIDA has helped us with our National Electrification Planning and […] our collaboration with them has been beneficial to the energy sector, to private investors, independent power producers and the Government of Sierra Leone”. Cyril Grant, Executive Technical Adviser to the Minister of Energy Sierra Leone

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