Energy minister calls on private sector to participate in provision of electricity services

The Minister of Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has called for an increased participation of the private sector in the provision of modern electricity services.

This, he said would improve the social and economic wellbeing of the people as well as bridge the developmental gap.

He said this yesterday in Accra in a speech read on his behalf at the Umoja renewable energy incubator roadshow.

The roadshow brought together energy developers from across the country in order to influence to apply and submit projects by September 4 this year.

The Umoja incubator is a collaboration between Serengeti Energy and Private Financing Advisory Network(PFAN) aimed at giving aspiring renewable energy  developers in Sub-Sahara tools needed to access commercial and technical knowledge as well as funding to succeed in their projects

According to the Minister for Energy, about 600 million of the continent’s population have no access to electricity adding that “Umoja Incubator has come at such an opportune time to help derisk the preparatory costs of renewable energy projects on the continent.”

He said the continent was rich in energy resources including renewable energy and home to 60 per cent of the best solar resources globally but Africa was yet to surpass its unenviable 1.3 per cent thus (8.7GWp) of installed global solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity.

“The development and use of these resources to improve the socioeconomic wellbeing of the people has not progressed satisfactorily. Considering the continent’s average annual population growth rate of 2.5 per cent,” he added.

Dr Prempeh  said about 90 million people needed to be connected every year for the next eight years, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) seven  by 2030 with a corresponding $40billion investment yearly.

He said the International Energy Agency had provided a comprehensive blueprint to connect the remaining 600million Africans between 2022 to 2030 adding that 42 per cent of that population should be connected to the grid, while 31 per cent to mini grids and the remaining 27 per cent to off-grid standalone electricity.

In order to achieve the blueprint, Dr Prempehsaid there was the need to bring private sector investments and innovations in renewable energy facilities to triple the current efforts.

The Minister for Energy urged utilities on the continent to be financially viable while calling for commitments from political leadership, development corporations, bilateral and multilateral banks so as to attract high-quality investments into the electricity sector, particularly renewable energy.

“The roles of the private sector in the implementation of these projects cannot be overemphasized. I see Umoja Incubator playing a pivotal role in supporting private sector actors to package their proposals, business plans and concepts to secure the needed financing to participate in these and many other flagship renewable energy projects on the continent,” Dr Prempeh said.

Business Development Manager, West Africa, Serengeti Energy, AmadouLamineNdour, urged the developers to apply and submit theirprojects by September 4.

He explained that as part of the process, projects would be evaluated to determine its eligibility for the programme and shortlisted applicants would later be invited to participate at a physical workshop in Cape Town, South Africa.

BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU

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