Petroleum, Energy Ministry holds Validation Workshop on Green Mini-Grid
by Adam Drammeh.
In a bid to achieve its national strategy for universal access to electricity, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy on Tuesday held a virtual workshop on the Gambia Green Mini Grid (GMG) feasibility studies.
To develop the GMG policy and technical regulations and lay a foundation for the deployment of privately-owned, community-based or public-private green mini-grids in the Gambia; the ministry is implementing the flagship GMG Country Support Programme, with support from Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) at the African Development Bank.
The first component of the project is to prepare a GMG policy strategy, regulations, capacity development to promote GMG development in The Gambia. The second component of the GMG is to support the project’s development through feasibility studies at potential sites and implementation of a “roll-out plan” to attract prospective investors to the identified GMG opportunities.
Fafa Sanyang, Minister for petroleum and Energy said the availability of reliable, affordable, efficient, and environmentally friendly electricity supply is one of the cornerstones of the Government’s development aspirations for the energy sector as elaborated in the sector policies, strategies, and National Development Plans.
Notwithstanding that the electricity grid cannot reach every community in the Gambia, and in keeping up with the global energy transition towards decentralized renewable energy systems; Minister Sanyang said his ministry is committed to promote alternative electrification solutions, as a necessary vehicle to provide access to those communities beyond the reach of the national grid. “The Gambia Government has set a target to connect one-third of the rural population through off-grid solutions by 2030, mainly through green mini grids and standalone home systems”, Sanyang stated.
He however explained that this target cannot be readily achieved without establishing the enabling policy environment to stimulate both public and private investments in off-grid electrification, and putting in place an effective regulatory framework and developing financial support including de-risking mechanisms for the private sector. “the only outstanding deliverables for the project are the GMG investment prospectus and Roll-out plan, but I am confident that the remaining activities will all be completed by November 2020, ahead of the official project closing date of December,2020”, the minister said.
For his part, Lamin Camara permanent Secretary- Ministry of Petroleum and Energy said the project coordination and the steering committee have been working diligently in the formulation and development of the regulatory instruments and policies in relation to the GMG initiative in the country, which culminated in the mapping of various sites for potential sites that could be connected for the GMG.
“We have done capacity building trainings for stakeholders and we are almost at the tail end of the project which resulted in the validation workshop of the feasibility studies for the GMG which we are witnessing today”, He said.
PS Camara added that this feasibility studies will help in assessing the demand for mini-grid connectivity and their need in this country. With this validation he said, they are hoping that they can advance on the completion of the GMG project as they look forward a fruitful partnership to execute their roadmap.
Since Independence, The Gambia as one of the poorest countries in Africa with limited natural resources and a grumbling economy have been facing inadequate electricity supply for its populace. With a population of 2Million, nearly 50% of the population have no access to electricity.