Oscarline Onwuemenyi, with agency reports
21 June 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The just-concluded 19th Africa Energy Forum (AEF) in Copenhagen has secured a number of power sector deals, including announcements from United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), World Bank and InfraCo Africa among others.
A new World Bank report has called for increase in private sector investment in Africa’s under-developed electricity transmission infrastructure, a vital ingredient for reaching Africa’s energy goals. The ‘Linking up: Public-Private Partnerships in Power Transmission in Africa’ report examined private sector-led investments in transmission globally and how this approach is applicable in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Private finance has supported the expansion of electricity transmission infrastructure in many regions of the world and the same can happen in Africa. To attract private sector investment, however, governments need to adopt policies supportive of this strategy and establish the right business, regulatory and legal environment to sustain investor interest,” World Bank’s Senior Director and Head of Energy and Extractives Industries, Riccardo Puliti, said.
Also, InfraCo Africa and Standard Microgrid also signed a Convertible Loan Agreement for the phased disbursement of up to US$3.5m. In parallel, the USTDA also awarded Standard Microgrid a US$0.75m grant to support project preparation services. These commitments will fund the deployment of distributed solar power across Zambia.
The USTDA’s Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Director, Lida Fitts, signed the grant on behalf of USTDA along with Standard Microgrid Initiatives Limited Project Manager, Matthew Wainwright.
Using the loan committed by InfraCo Africa, Standard Microgrid will initially build six solar photovoltaic (PV) micro-grids in rural and peri-urban areas before rapidly expanding its distributed power service by further deploying 100 units. Each 10kW PV micro-grid is backed up by batteries and managed by smart metering technology which matches customer demand to available supply.
About 11 African students attended this year as part of the EnergyNet Student Engagement Initiative, meeting with Ministers of Energy and delegates to learn about the industry and explore employment opportunities.
The Forum was attended by over 300 speakers, 2,000 attendees and saw 64 per cent of the African continent represented.