7,181 mini-grids projects were underway in March 2020 worldwide, according to a study by BNEF and SE4ALL. 39% of these projects are in Africa. The technology will allow universal access to energy, provided that investments planned by 78% are increased by 2030.
In March, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, island states and Latin America totaled 7,181 mini-grid projects, of which 5,545 were operational. These data come from the “State of the global mini-grids market report”, produced by BloombergNEF in collaboration with Sustainable Energy for All.
63% of these mini-grids are powered by solar energy, 21% by hydroelectricity and 11% by diesel generators. Asia is the largest market for these installations with 60% of the mini-grids installed. It is followed by sub-Saharan Africa which concentrates 39% of these mini-networks on a global scale.
Mini-grids are economically more affordable for rural communities according to the researchers, compared to diesel generators or centralized networks with a price varying between $ 0.49 and $ 0.68 per kilowatt hour.
Long supported by small companies, the market today welcomes large energy groups such as EDF, Enel, Engie, Iberdrola, Shell or Tokyo Electric Power Co. “As the market matures, the mobilization of funds must accelerate. This acceleration will depend on the policies and regulations of the countries where the beneficiaries of the funding are located. Governments must promote robust regulatory frameworks to support the development of these mini-grids, ” said Takehiro Kawahara, chief energy analyst at BloombergNEF.
Some governments, like that of Nigeria, have already put in place regulations to reduce the risks run by developers in the establishment of these mini-networks. But efforts remain to be made, because to reach universal access to electricity in 2030, it will be necessary to electrify 111 million households thanks to mini-grids, which will require an investment of $ 128 billion or 78% more than expected. in current estimates.
Source: Agence Ecofin