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AfDB launches a Green Mini-Grid Help Desk to support project developers deliver energy access in rural areas


The AfDB-hosted Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Africa Hub launched a Green Mini-Grid Help Desk for renewable energy mini-grid project developers during the 3rd International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference (IOREC) on October 1st in Nairobi.

Today, 645 million Africans, nearly 60% of the population of Africa, don’t have access to electricity.  According to the International Energy Agency by 2040, 70% of new rural supply in sub-Saharan Africa will be from off-grid and mini-grids, two thirds of which powered by renewables as a result of falling costs, technological advancements and more efficient appliances.  Green Mini-Grids are “small” electricity networks developed to provide renewable power to households, businesses and institutions in rural African communities.

The GMG Help Desk provides 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.

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

The GMG Help Desk was designed and will be operated for the GMG MDP by Energy4Impact and INENSUS GmbH.  Energy4Impact (formerly GVEP International), based in London, is a non-profit organization that advises off-grid energy businesses, in order to reduce poverty through accelerated access to energy. INENSUS GmbH is a German consultancy firm for private sector driven mini-grid electrification. ENERSA S.A. and JUMEME Ltd., which was supported earlier through a SEFA project preparation grant are INENSUS subsidiaries and mini-grid utility businesses in Senegal and Tanzania, respectively.

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.”

Nico Peterschmidt, Managing Director of INENSUS, said: “We are excited to support African mini-grid developers given our long-term experience in developing and operating mini-grids in Africa.”

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