New mini-grid association sets goal of 100% electrification of Africa

New mini-grid association sets goal of 100% electrification of Africa

New mini-grid association sets goal of 100% electrification of Africa Energy Storage Journal


The Africa Mini-grid Developers Association, the continent’s first trade association dedicated to microgrids, was officially established on April 13 in Kenya.

The association aims to provide a unified voice for the industry, by partnering with governments and utilities to build next generation grids based on the needs of both industry and communities.

To date the association has 11 member companies that aim to combine private sector innovation, efficiency, and customer service with public sector support to help end energy poverty across Africa.

AMDA will share knowledge and feedback with policy-makers, regulators and investors, while also representing end users. It plans to grow into a pan-African platform for private utilities.

The association has chapters in Kenya and Tanzania and is in the process of setting up another in Nigeria — which will include seven additional local developers — and has so far received interest from three other countries. The goal is to add Ethiopia and Uganda by the end of 2018.

Its members include micro-grid, and renewable energy companies from Africa, Europe and the US.

Jessica Stephens, AMDA’s global coordinator, said: “AMDA’s vision is to see 100% of Africa electrified before 2030, and this will require utilities to incorporate new and innovative technologies, with mini-grids playing a central role.

“Mini-grids can deliver more connections per dollar, can be deployed more rapidly than traditional grid infrastructure and play an important role in stimulating local economic opportunities and creating jobs.”

Near-term objectives include: mobilizing finance for mini-grids: equalize public-private incentives: and establishing a national grid integration framework that are inclusive of mini-grids.

AMDA is supported by the Shell Foundation, the World Bank and the UK Department for International Development.

“Mini-grids offer the quickest, most cost-effective way to bring 24-hour power to large parts of Africa, while other areas will be better served by standalone home systems or national grid extension,” said Richard Gomes, director, market development at Shell Foundation.

The 11 members of the association are: European mini-grid firm Engie; Tanzania PV and hybrid back-up power firm Ensol; Indian power utility and mini-grid operator Husk Power; Tanzania hybrid mini-grid firm Jumeme; Kenyan renewable energy system PowerGen; US mini-grid software firm Powerhive; German power utility E.On owned start-up Rafiki Power; German solar power outfit Redavia; Zimbabwean hydro and wind power company Rift Valley; Portuguese mini-grid firm RVE.SOL and Kenyan micro-grid company Steamaco