Idris Elba Helps Bring 1st Wind Farm to Sierra Leone

March 13, 2024 by Dan McCue
Idris Elba Helps Bring 1st Wind Farm to Sierra Leone
The actor Idris Elba (right) with, from left, Siaka Stevens, CEO and co-founder of Sherbro Alliance Partners/Sherbro Island City, and Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio.

LONDON — The actor and producer Idris Elba is partnering with the United Kingdom’s Octopus Energy to establish the first wind farm in the West African nation of Sierra Leone.

The project, which is expected to begin producing power later this year, will consist of up to five wind turbines and will also include a solar farm and storage batteries to provide reliable green energy to local communities.

For Elba, the project is personal — Sierra Leone is his father’s homeland — and the wind farm is just one component of his larger vision for the region, called the Sherbro Island City project.

In a post on the X social media platform on Wednesday, Elba referred to Sherbro Island, Sierra Leone, as his “canvas for change.”

“As a British man deeply rooted in Africa, I’m steering a transformative project on Sherbro Island,” he wrote. “Envision green energy, pioneering innovations and a melting pot for global talents to flourish.”

The collaboration between Octopus Energy’s power generation arm and Sherbro Alliance Partners, a development company co-founded by Elba and Siaka Stevens, the grandson of the African republic’s longest serving president, was announced during COP28.

Since then the project partners have been focused on site selection and other prerequisites to actual construction.

During a recent interview with CNN, Elba described Sherbro Island as “a beautiful little island off the coast of Sierra Leone” that’s about the same size as the city of Chicago, but has only about 40,000 residents.

“Initially, we partnered with the government to sort of figure out how to bring tourism to the island,” Elba said. “And now, we’re building a smart, eco-dynamic city.”

“Obviously, Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world, investment isn’t rushing through the door … so what we need to do is understand how to package an investment opportunity about this beautiful island without destroying it. 

“To do that we need to be climate-conscious, eco-conscious and conscious of the fact that there’s a tremendous youth culture across Africa that wants something different than other generations have had,” he said. 

In another interview Elba predicted “Sherbro Island City will serve as an engine of economic growth for Sierra Leone and the surrounding West Africa region.”

Octopus Energy’s involvement marks its inaugural entry into renewables in Africa, expanding its $7.5 billion clean energy portfolio across global regions.

The collaboration also aligns with Sierra Leone’s goal to achieve 85% renewable electricity capacity by 2030, while addressing the challenge of expanding energy access to everyone. Currently only 28% of the population of the republic is believed to have access to electricity.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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  • Economic Development
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  • Sierra LEone
  • wind energy
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