Ethiopian Energy^Power Business Portal

Building out mini grid systems could help to electrify rural populations in the developing world, but these projects can be a hard sell to investors. According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, progress on this type of energy generation has been obstructed by insufficient in-country technical capacity to install, operate and maintain the systems, weak regulatory frameworks to attract project developers, and inadequate access to financing to bring these projects to scale. Mini grids are small-scale energy generation units that supply electricity to a localized distribution grid. These projects can be independent or connected to the central grid, if it is available. Mini grids can be an important alternative to the grid or enhance central grid extensions, said UNIDO.

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Africa relies on traditional biomass and waste fuels for almost half of its primary energy supply. An estimated 600 million people still lack access to electricity, and household air pollution resulting from the combustion of wood, dung, and charcoal leads to the death of an estimated 600,000 Africans each year. The continent therefore urgently needs a massive rollout of modern energy services to improve the quality of life and the productivity of its underserved and rapidly growing population. Such a development would also power industrialization and urbanization.

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(Engie Africa, 3 April  2018)

Global utility company ENGIE and off-grid energy leader Fenix International have closed their acquisition agreement today. Fenix is the first Solar Home System “SHS” company to join a major worldwide energy com-pany and has already delivered clean, safe and affordable energy and financial services to over one million people. ENGIE and Fenix have ambitious targets to reach millions of households across Africa and this partnership will accelerate and expand Fenix’s ability to scale off-grid energy and financial services. Fenix will gain access to ENGIE’s supply chain, expertise, long-term capital investments and talent across the energy value chain.

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(Reuters/Amina Ismail, 10 May 2018)

China’s GCL Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Egypt’s ministry of military production to build a solar panel facility at a cost of up to $2 billion, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported on Thursday. Under the MOU, which was signed on Wednesday, the facility will manufacture panels capable of producing 5 gigawatts (GW) annually, it said, without mentioning the location or timeframe of the project. Egypt in 2014 announced extensive plans to develop renewable energy targeting 4.3 GW of wind and solar projects to be installed over three years, but many investors pulled out following contract disputes. Egypt aims to meet 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2022. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former general who took office in 2014, has promised to revive the economy, which has struggled since a 2011 uprising scared away investors and tourists, Egypt’s main sources of foreign currency.

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