ARE: Firing up the Debate on Energy Access

Published on Wednesday, 14 March 2018

“Looking at the medium term, it is expected that, of the 674 million people still without electricity in 2030, 90% will live in Sub-Saharan Africa. ”

– Massimo Gaiani – General Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy

How can we solve the problem of energy access in the areas of the world that need it most?

This was a question for the 250 participants in the fourth edition of the Energy Access Investment Forum, organised by the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) through a partnership with Renewable Energy Solutions for the Mediterranean and Africa (RES4MED&Africa) and Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP), and which involved Enel Green Power as a Diamond Sponsor of the event.

“Guaranteeing global energy access is the only way to integrate rural communities in emerging economies around the world. Centralised electrical grids are certainly a path toward electrification for urban areas. But only decentralised solutions will provide sustainable energy access to two thirds of the rural population in the near future. We have to diversify the solutions in order to seriously meet the energy needs of developing countries.”

– Antonio Cammisecra – CEO of Enel Green Power

This scenario is confirmed in the latest studies by the IEA, International Energy  Agency, which find that “over 60% of the people that will gain energy access by 2030 will have it through renewable sources, primarily solar and hydropower, while the role of fossil fuels will diminish significantly from 70% to less than 40%.”. This is also considering the fact that the costs of this technology continue to drop.

“This edition of the ARE forum is also an opportunity for investors, project developers and other stakeholders to find out more about future support strategies, innovative products and new business models to speed up rural electrification and advance the decentralised renewable energy market.”

– Marcus Wiemann, Secretary General of ARE

To unlock the development of off-grid solutions, national institutions must make a commitment to simplifying procedures, making tariffs affordable and providing for economically sustainable options where connection to the national grid is involved.

Only through strong public-private cooperation will foreign investors be enabled to invest on site, bringing new capabilities for energy transmission at lower prices as well as skills, know-how e innovation.

For the final day of the ARE event, 15 March, Enel Green Power and Res4Med&Africa will give participants the chance to see two important innovation sites up close: the 3Sun factory and the Enel Innovation Lab at Passo Martino in Catania. At the same time, the Remote Power Unit (Rpu) by Winch Energy, the solar generation plant in a container used in Winch’s rural mini-grid projects in Sub-Saharan Africa will be presented, which will be entirely developed within the factory.