On March 11, a group of policy makers, implementation partners and donor partners, met to align on their priorities and strategies for mini-grid market development, and to accelerate the implementation of mini-grid projects in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Summit explored mini-grid cost reduction pathways and business models, as well as providing a forum for the attendees to exchange best practices and lessons learned from their experiences with mini-grids in Africa.
The Summit represented a key milestone towards the establishment of a new GEF-funded Clean Rural Electrification for Africa Countries (CREAC) programme. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), in collaboration with the African Development Bank, hosted the Summit, which will directly inform the further development of the CREAC program.
CREAC is focused on reducing the costs of mini-grids to improve their commercial viability and accelerate the deployment renewable mini-grids, in order to expand sustainable, rural electrification – a core driver of development and crucial to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The program will develop a proposal for a series of mini-grid pilot projects in specific GEF recipient countries.
“The GEF completed its seventh replenishment cycle in June 2018, and clean rural electrification is one of the priority areas under our climate mitigation investment strategy” said Gustavo Fonseca, Director of Programs at the GEF. “By focusing on mini-grid cost reduction, we believe this new platform can support the development of effective delivery models for the private sector to provide clean and reliable energy access to thousands of communities across Sub-Saharan Africa”, he added.
“Renewable energy mini-grids offer the promise of clean, affordable and reliable electrification. UNDP is pleased to be supporting our partners in lowering mini-grid costs, scaling-up investment in this promising technology” said Marcel Alers, UNDP Head of Energy.
“We believe that by partnering with key mini-grid stakeholders we can test and prove that mini-grids are not only financially viable, but also a solution that will provide millions of people with power,” said Eric Wanless, Africa program lead, RMI.
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About the Global Environmental Facility
The Global Environment Facility was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems. Since then, the GEF has provided over $17.9 billion in grants and mobilized an additional $93.2 billion in co-financing for more than 4500 projects in 170 countries. Today, the GEF is an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector that addresses global environmental issues.
About the United Nations Development Programme
UNDP supports over 700 active projects over 140 countries that are designed to mitigate and adapt to climate change, making it the largest provider of support for climate action in the UN system.
About Rocky Mountain Institute
Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)—an independent nonprofit founded in 1982—transforms global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. It engages businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.