The African continent wants to speed on distributed generation from renewable energy and does so by offering a support portal for designers who want to install mini-networks in rural areas. The initiative, just launched by the African division of SE4All (Sustainable Energy for All), is part of the Green Mini-Grid Market Development Program (GMG MDP).
‘Mini-grid’ means small local power grid installed to provide renewable energy to a community with various utilities: housing, commercial and institutional building activities. An optimal solution for supplying remote areas in a sustainable way.
To date, 645 million Africans, about 60% of the total population, have no access to electricity. The goal of the newly launched platform, Green Mini-Grid Help Desk, is a widespread diffusion of the skills necessary to the exploitation of renewable energy and the culture of sustainability.
According to International Energy Agency forecasts, by 2040 about 70% of supply dell'aree sub-Saharan Africa will come from off-grid and mini-grid systems. To this prediction, it can be added an estimate of the source: two thirds of the energy will come from renewable sources, to which the population can have easier access through cost reductions, technological advances and more efficient applications.
"The mini-grid is a key piece of the puzzle of access to energy in Sub-Saharan Africa," says Daniel-Alexander Schroth, the SE4All Africa Hub Coordinator. "The GMG Help Desk will be the key instrument in the acceleration of mini-grid projects for the private sector in view of the New Deal on Energy for universal energy access in Africa by 2025."
With this in mind, the GMG Help Desk provides online assistance with the full cycle of research, development and installation of renewable energy mini-grid. The portal offers advice and tutorials, also specific to the nation, to support the designer from the choice of an optimal site to the design of the technical system, from the preparation of the business plan to the stakeholder engagement strategies.
The initiative was funded by the African Development Bank thanks to the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA); in the development of the platform European actors were involved: Energy4Impact of GVEP International, a nonprofit organization based in London, and INENSUS, a consulting firm for the private sector, both engaged in universal access to energy.
The goal is to promote not only the economy, but also the culture of a sustainable energy system. In a continent like Africa, where there are many inhabited remote areas, electrification from distributed generation of renewable energy becomes a key process.
Speed it up and ensure widespread access to energy becomes a priority to facilitate scientific education to the younger generation: a tool to fight poverty and build the future of Africa.