By September 27, 2019

UK, France, Netherlands Invest USD 350 Mn To Advance Renewable Energy In Africa

By September 27, 2019

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Three European countries have earmarked USD 350 Mn to invest in Africa’s renewable energy and electricity storage. 

The commitment from France, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom is a strategic investment. It comes at a time when Africa has shifted to depend on cleantech energy to provide sustainable electricity to its population. 

The investment is part of the global energy storage program that targets a larger gravy of USD 1 Bn. This could prompt battery storage capacity to 17.5 GW by 2025 in developing countries. The funding comes as part of the Climate Investment Funds’ Global Energy Storage Program, which runs in collaboration with the World Bank’s Energy Storage Partnership.

Africa Solar Investment

The Dutch government has plans to pump in USD 44 Mn, which will be used to finance solar off-grid in sub-Saharan Africa. The weakness of national electricity grids and the constant power outages in Africa prompts solar compensation. The money from the Netherlands will go into brightening households, companies, and public institutions. 

The French contribution to the project is USD 55 Mn. The funds will be provided via the French Development Agency (AFD). It will be allocated to independent private investors (IPPs) who major in the development of solar projects on the continent. 

On the combined USD 99 Mn front, France is joining the Netherlands to advance the Solar Risk Mitigation Initiative (SRMI). The joint initiative, by the World Bank and the AFD, will mitigate the risks associated with solar projects in Africa. The funds are being used to look into the technical and financial issues related to the increased deployment of solar energy in low-income countries. 

Significance

Mansoor Hamayun, CEO of BBOXX – an Africa-focused off-grid solar utility firm, tells WeeTracker that the deal is the latest strategic investment into solar energy and electricity. According to him, BBOXX’s recent USD 50 Mn funding included investments from three continents – further evidence of how the global community is embracing innovative firms to advance access to clean energy.

“About half of households across Africa lack access to grid power, largely because of the high costs attached to connecting homes to traditional grids. At BBOXX, we are helping to solve this problem by providing remotely monitored solar home systems (SHS) using mobile money technology”.

“As the cost of storing and generating power at home comes down in comparison to the cost of distributing electricity through traditional grids, we will see a much higher percentage of self-generation and self-storage. Due to the high take up of mobile money in Africa, we believe it will be at the forefront of leapfrogging old models. In the longer term and as battery costs drop, developed countries will also want to diversify their distribution-mix,” Hamayun concludes.

Energy Storage

The United Kingdom, on its part, promises a more significant investment. Up to USD 250 Mn will be allocated to middle-income nations around the world, most of which are in Africa. Previously, the U.K has provided USD 205 Mn in funding for renewables in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

The effort was part of the Renewable Energy Performance Platform. Riccardo Puliti, global director for energy and extractive industries and regional director for infrastructure in Africa at the World Bank, said the funding would attract “even more private sector interest” in energy storage and renewables.

“Energy storage is essential to maximize the use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power,” Puliti added.

“Among the different renewable energy sources, solar is the best opportunity for the African continent to reach SDG7 by 2030. Massive deployment of solar energy will have to rely on private sector initiatives, whether on grid or off grid. We are teaming up with the World Bank to foster private investment in this space, with a focus on enabling country frameworks and risk mitigation tools”.

Jean-Pierre Barral, Director for Energy and Digital Transitions, AFD.

Image Courtesy: Greentech Media.

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