Monday, October 6, 2014

Unleashing the Commercial Potential of Mini Grids in Africa

The Africa Mini-Grids Summit will be held next November in Nairobi (Kenya) with the support of: Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), African Sustainable Energy Association (AFSEA), ECREEE, Tanzania Renewable Energy Association (TAREA) and ANSOLE.

As previously mentioned in this blog, the IEA estimates that in order to achieve universal electricity access by 2030, mini grids will have to provide more than 40% of the new capacity needed, which translates to a market potential for mini-grids of about US$4 billion per year. The pressing need for off-grid electrification along with the rising costs of using expensive, polluting fossil fuel solutions such as diesel generators, calls for successful ground level implementation of RET and hybrid mini grids in the region, as it can be observed in the chart below (source: the organization)

Kenya - Rural Electrification Master Plan identified 33 new sites to be established as mini grids with Bill in parliament to open way for private distributors in mini grids. Currently 15 mini grids operated by KPLC with 1 connected to the grid and 10 more currently being developed. 7 have been made hybrid with 2 plants utilising wind and another 6 using solar. There are also private mini grids operated by rural communities.
Tanzania - REA have 90+ projects in the pipeline and the country has the most advanced policy and regulatory framework for small power projects supplying both the main grid and off grid mini grids in the SADC region. 5 small IPPs (2-5 MW) connected to the main grid. TANESCO running 21 diesel based off grid stations supplying isolated mini-grids with capacities ranging from 400KW to 12 MW. 13 sites proposed for hydro mini grids.
Malawi - 2 diesel mini-grids by ESCOM and a few hydro-based mini grids run by private developers or communities. 6 hybrid solar/wind mini-grids (20-24 kW) operated by communities
Rwanda - MININFRA is planning to privatise all publicly funded micro-hydropower plants. 3 private micro-hydro plants are operational (1 mW combined) with 6 more projects currently being planned. Rwanda will be privatizing 20+ public micro hydroplants. Feed in tariffs, partial regulatory framework and basic financial instruments are in place.
Mozambique - 69 diesel mini grids implemented by FUNAE but managed by local management communities. Many stopped operating due to lack of funds for maintenance. Hydro most promising renewable source with 53 identified SHP potential sites with 15 SHP projects under construction or planned by the government. GIZ has implemented 7 micro hydro plants. 3 solar hybrid mini grids by FUNAE(Korean loan) with few smaller solar mini grids by donors and NGOs without FUNAE involvement. One 300 kW wind turbine installed but not connected to grid as there is no tariff.
Uganda - 3 diesel based mini grid, 2 micro-hydro mini grid and 1 hybrid mini grids run by the Government. MHP feasibility studies started in 2013 under ORIO financing with objectives to construct 10 mini hydro power stations
Democratic Republic of the Congo - Highest hydro potential in Africa. 42 diesel based power plants where 27 are isolated supplying mini grids (39MW) run by both public entities and private IPPs and 4 hydro-based mini grids. Planned electrification projects include 347 centres over 20 years, 3 years action plan to have 11 micro-hydro schemes.
Nigeria - Mini grids in isolated sites and IPP for grid injection operated by oil companies in the South have shown sustainability .Longest most successful project is the hydro mini grid operated by NESCO in Jos region .A green mini grid project using biomass and mini hydro has been identified with UNIDO/GEF.
Mali - Tariffs of EDM national grid are uniform but tariffs of mini-grids by private operators can be adapted to recover operation cost. Most private run mini grids are fuel based and thus have increasing operating costs. EDF has programs implementing mini grids for villages.
Zambia - Planning 3 mini-grid projects after implementing mini grid projects using both hydro and solar.
Senegal - One of the most active countries to implement hybrid technology with 9 hybrid power plants in remote areas with collaboration from Isofoton from Spain. A GIZ and DGIS program has implemented 16 hybrid power plants (5kWp PV, 11kVa diesel) and has plans to add 50 more. ERSEN project aims to electrify 256 villages with solar-diesel hybrid preferred. Recently Inensus is operating a purely private rural electrification project in Senegal with initial support through GIZ under a PPP.

Issues to be addressed at this event will cover:

  • Market Trends
  • Advanced commercial use of mini-grids
  • RET and Hybrid systems
  • Regulation and Policy
  • Financing and Investment
  • Knowledge transfer and Human Capital

The Speakers panel will include, among others, representatives from Rural Electrification Agencies, Private Companies, International Organizations (UNEP, Alliance for Rural Electrification), Financial and Academic sector. 

For further information about the event: 

1 comment:

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