This Month’s Africa Mini Grids Summit to Focus on Practical implementation Issues in the Electrification of Africa

Nairobi, Kenya – 1 November 2015 – The 2nd Africa Mini Grids Summit 2015 will convene this month on November 18-20 in Nairobi, Kenya.  This Africa-wide conference will gather key decision and policy makers along with the power players in the mini grids sector to share their invaluable expertise and experience in providing for the continent’s rapidly-increasing power requirements.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that in order to achieve universal electricity access, mini grids will have to provide more than 40% of the new capacity needed by 2030 with the market potential for mini-grids to be US$4 billion per year.  In addition, Sub-Saharan Africa’s off-grid population is forecasted to rise from 600 million to 698 million people in 2030.  Mini grids have been identified as one of the most important platforms to address critical electrification shortages in Africa.  Various projects utilizing different business models and technologies are now prevalent throughout Africa.

Vivian Vendeirinho, founder and managing director of Rural Energy & Water Solutions (RVE.SOL), explained: “The mini grid market globally lacks real focus on scale-up from a financing perspective, although much progress has been made over the last four years.  Being a nascent market full of promise, there is still a high-risk perception on the part of government and financiers, a fact that we believe will be mitigated over the next year or two as innovative business models prove themselves.  RVE.SOL believes in the future of decentralized generation, consumption and management of resources as the only sustainable model to accelerated rural electrification. We are convinced that renewable energy mini grids powering Productive Energy Use businesses are the catalyst for accelerated rural development. This addresses rural poverty, job creation and income generating activity.” Rural Energy & Water Solutions (RVE.SOL) is exhibiting at this Summit.

This 2nd Africa Mini Grids Summit 2015 will deal with today’s most-pressing issues including: the different approaches to mini grids implementation and partnerships; mini grid policies and regulation updates of African countries; advancing the use of green mini grids in Africa; attaining the social license to operate from local communities; avoiding stranded asset and managing investor risks when the grid arrives; hybrid technologies integration plus the growing importance of energy storage in mini grids; attracting big time investors and commercial end users to recharge the mini grids ecosystem; pricing issues for Africa (affordable costs of energy versus investor/business profits); and investor risk versus what is acceptable profit in the African context.

Among the representatives from regional energy authorities participating in this conference are: Engr Isaac Kiva, Director of Renewable EnergyMinistry of Energy Kenya; Prof Abubakr S Bahaj, Professor of Sustainable Energy, Head of Energy & Climate Change Division, University of Southampton and Chief Scientific Adviser, Southampton City, United Kingdom; and Robert Pavel Oimeke, Director Renewable Energy, Energy Regulatory Commission, Kenya.

Distinguished experts from the private sector that will present at Summit 2015 include: Ernesto Macias, President, Alliance for Rural Electrification, Belgium; Mark Hankins, Chief Executive Officer, African Solar Designs, Kenya; Andreas Spiess, Chief Executive Officer, SOLARKIOSK AG, Germany; Vivian Vendeirinho, Managing Director, RVE.SOL, Portugal; and Tomás García, General Manager, Rural Electrification EMEA, SunEdison.

A special feature of this year’s event will be the site visit to the Kitonyoni Solar Mini Grid Project in Makueni County, Kenya.  The informative tour of the live mini grid project will enable participants to understand first-hand the social, technical, economic and humanitarian benefits of this project and how it was executed.  This activity is supported by the government of Kenya and is a project of the University of Southampton.

The CEO of the conference-organizing company, Magenta Global Pte Ltd, Singapore, Maggie Tan, added: Improving electrification in rural Africa is of paramount priority for most of the Governments in Africa.  With less than 15% of rural households in Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) having access to electricity, strategies for creating commercially viable small power producers and mini grids in rural areas, businesses and public institutions are critically needed. This Summit will facilitate the exchange of fresh information and engage industry stakeholders on how to invest in and operate equipment and technology to produce and distribute electricity through mini grids. Ms Tan encouraged all companies and organizations to contribute to the development of this renewable energy sector by being part of this key event.

The 2nd Africa Mini Grids Summit 2015 is endorsed by the Energy for Development (e4D) Network, the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), South African Alternative Energy Association (SAAEA).

The event will be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.

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