Energy project developers and investors in East Africa are all talking about the huge impact that mini-grids and off-grid power projects can make as the region plays catch-up in its generation capacity.
Several exciting projects will be in focus at the 20th edition of the Future Energy East Africa conference and exhibition, formerly known as EAPIC or the East African Power Industry Convention, which returns to the KICC in Nairobi from 12-13 September.
Access to energy and the speed at which the region is achieving this will be a strong theme of the event. A firm favourite and a fixture on the region’s power calendar for the last 20 years, Future Energy East Africa will once again host many of the region’s leading energy decision makers next month. This leading energy forum comprises a high-level, strategic conference focusing on energy access, finance, renewables and transmission & distribution as well as a trade expo with the latest technology for the power sector as well as free technical workshops.
Here are some highlights of the Future Energy East Africa programme:
- “We are excited to be developing our mini grid sites in accordance with an innovative holistic business model, centred entirely on the productive use of energy, with some very interesting partners. We hope to commission our first site in Rwanda later this year and our principal pilot project in Uganda by Q2 of next year.”
“In Uganda, with full Presidential support, we are developing a large number of productive use mini-grids on islands in Lake Victoria, as well as grid-connected mini-hydropower plants. In Rwanda, we are developing 5 mini grid sites and are finalizing financing for our first project. In the DRC we have a number of mini-grids under development, notwithstanding uncertain times ahead – people will always need power. We are also working in Kenya and have begun exploring other markets, such as Ethiopia, Zambia and Nigeria.”
– Riccardo Ridolfi, co-founder and CEO of Equatorial Power. At Future Energy East Africa, he is part of two panel discussions on off-grid, innovation and productive use of energy. Read the full interview here.
- “I think the region is setting itself apart as a progressive, enabling environment for energy sector development. Just look at the numbers. Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia are Africa’s leading solar lantern and solar home system markets, together accounting for over two-thirds of sales in sub-Saharan Africa. They are also the three countries with the largest number of active mini grid companies. East Africa, including Rwanda and Uganda, performs the best in terms of setting national and rural electrification targets.”
– Dr Rebekah Shirley, Chief Research Officer at Power for All and Visiting Researcher at Strathmore University in Kenya is the moderator of a session on the digital utility at the upcoming Future Energy East Africa. She was also the winner of the African Utility Week Industry Award 2018 in the category of Outstanding Contribution Award: Young Energy Leader. Read the full interview here.
- “We make equity investments in companies working in East Africa, so there is lots of exciting work happening through the ventures in our portfolio. I am personally excited about the progress being made by a portfolio company called Ampersand. They are making electric motos for the motorcycle taxi market, and are headquartered in Rwanda. They are building the foundation for a clean mobility future in East Africa, and early indication is that they are going to be very competitive with petrol motos.”
– Amanda DelCore, Associate, Factor[e], Kenya. At Future Energy East Africa she is addressing the conference with a presentation entitled: ‘Case study: Innovating for income-generating appliances’ and is part of a panel discussion on mini grid business models. Read the full interview here.
• “We are currently working on financing four projects in East Africa, both solar PV and run-of-the-river hydro, and a few more in West Africa. We are very excited about the drive in the commercial and industrial space and seeing companies that are putting the climate action high on their agenda and how they would like to contribute to the climate solution rather than being a cause. It is very encouraging to see the will to adapt in this market as well as the strides that are being made to find solutions for mini grid projects both on a regulatory and business model level.”
– Ørjan Alexander Pedersen, Founder/ COO of Empower New Energy and panellist at the upcoming Future Energy East Africa on ‘Improving the outlook and bankability of mini-grid projects – how do we heighten the financial appetite for the sector?’
Future Energy East Africa’s expo will feature some 80 leading global and local technology and services providers, including several country pavilions, as well as free, technical workshops for visitors. Končar, Trans-African Projects and Eskom Rotek Industries are the leading sponsors for the event. China, India and Norway will also host country pavilions with specialised services and products for the sector.