mini-grid network

During a recently held conference in Nairobi, Kenya, the AfDB-hosted Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Africa Hub launched a Green Mini-Grid Help Desk for renewable energy mini grid project developers.

According to the AfDB, the ‘help desk’ is intended to provide on-line technical assistance on the myriad of activities important to the business cycle of developing and operating a clean energy mini-grid.

“The portal provides knowledge products and tutorials on setting up a mini-grid business, site selection, legal and compliance issues, mini-grid business models, technical system design, community and stakeholder engagement, financing, procurement, installation and commissioning, operation and maintenance.

“The portal includes country-specific information for much of the above. Project developers can apply through the portal for bespoke support on their projects.”

Mini grid help desk to drive energy access

With over 645 million Africans, nearly 60% of the population of Africa, living without access to electricity, the International Energy Agency said that by 2040, 70% of new rural supply in sub-Saharan Africa will be from off-grid and mini-grids.

The Agency added that two thirds of that amount will be powered by renewables as a result of falling costs, technological advancements and more efficient appliances.

“The GMG Help Desk is part of the larger Green Mini Grid Market Development Programme (MDP) implemented by the SE4All Africa Hub and funded through the AfDB’s Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA),” the Bank said.

Of the new GMG MDP Help Desk, Dr Daniel-Alexander Schroth, coordinator of the SE4All Africa Hub, said: “mini-grids are a key piece of the energy access puzzle in Sub-Saharan Africa and the GMG Help Desk will be a key tool to accelerate the deployment of private sector-led mini-grid projects in support of the New Deal on Energy for Africa’s vision of universal energy access in Africa by 2025.”

Peter Weston, director of investment advisory at Energy 4 Impact, said: “We are pleased to work with the African Development Bank to increase access to electricity through the development of African mini-grids and to have the opportunity to assist mini-grid developers in overcoming the many challenges of project development.”