This first round of the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge will award about five grants of up to US$100,000 each to African companies and organisations providing off-grid solutions that deploy renewable resources and power economic activities, as part of a three year, $2 million initiative.
It will benefit rural or urban populations currently underserved by existing utility companies.
Requests for Proposals from African entrepreneurs, companies, and purchasers of innovative off-grid solutions are open from now through October 16, 2013, a statement announcing the development said.
Speaking at a news briefing in Abuja to announce the call for proposals, President/CEO of GE Nigeria Lazarus Angbazo said GE is proud to be associated with this initiative, which promotes innovation in Off-Grid Energy solutions. He said GE deeply involved in efforts to energize the power sector in Nigeria.
He disclosed that GE had signed an MOU with the Federal Government to help develop an additional 10,000MegaWatts of power over the next ten years, a commitment Mr. Angbazo said was achievable by leveraging on GE’s technical expertise pedigree and experience in the sector.
Nigeria and Ghana are the first set of countries to benefit from the initiative but other countries like Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia could be included over the next 3 years.
“GE is working with stakeholders in Nigeria and Kenya to provide sustainable ways to power more of Africa. Nigerians and Kenyans know what works in their communities, and are encouraged in this competition to apply local solutions to the power challenges,” said Angbazo.
On his part, Mr. Douglas Climan, the Economic Counsellor at the US embassy in Nigeria praised the leadership of USADF and GE Africa for this move which, according to him, clearly supports the US government’s Power Africa initiative.
“Through President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, the United States is committed to expanding the grids and helping ensure transparency in the large scale energy sector. USADF, with its focus on economic development from the grassroots level and African-led and-managed projects, is bringing that commitment to underserved communities “off the grid” who need power as much as anyone else. We support this Off Grid Challenge that will benefit Nigerians with innovative solutions” Mr. Climan declared.
In selecting the winners, initiatives from energy service providers, community associations and private companies that are developing Energy Enabling technology will be strongly considered.