The European Commission has announced 16 energy projects that will receive more than AUD $139 million in funding to help bring clean power to rural Africa.
The rural electrification projects include hydro, wind, solar and biomass projects across nine countries (Madagascar, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Eritrea, and Rwanda) and will benefit 2 million people. “These innovative projects are a real step forward in terms of bringing energy to some of the most remote and poor areas in Africa,” said European Commission Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs.
“The benefits of rural electrification are manifold – by connecting people to clean energy, we’ll improve healthcare, education, and opportunities to make a living in the area.”
One of the solar projects under the program will occur in North and Centre-North Burkina Faso; where 7 solar farms totalling 2.5 MW capacity will be constructed and and 4,000 small PV kits distributed.
In Tanzania, a rent-to-own home solar systems initiative will take place, with a goal of equivalent to 4.9MW installed capacity in households and 3MW in schools. South East Senegal will benefit from the construction of an 800kW solar farm, plus small systems and low voltage minigrids with a total capacity of just over 1MW.
In Uganda, small household kits consisting of a 30 watt solar panel, light, phone charger and batteries will be distributed; along with the construction of larger systems with battery storage for businesses and social institutions. The EU aims to allocate more than 3 billion euros worth of grants in the 2014-2020 financial period to support sustainable energy projects in 30 countries.
Globally, approximately 1.3 billion people have no access to electricity whatsoever and up to a billion more live with unreliable electricity supply. A related report from the EC states people in developing countries spend about AUD $41 billion annually for poor quality energy supply that generates high levels of pollution.