The study will support a private sector model for off-grid development that West African countries can replicate. USTDA's study will also increase energy access for more than 8,000 rural households and many businesses in Sierra Leone, while creating new export opportunities for American energy technologies. The study will be conducted by U.S. firm WindGen Power USA, Inc.
"Sierra Leone has significant energy needs, and it is truly rewarding for USTDA to work with the Ministry of Energy and WindGen on private sector solutions that will impact thousands of lives," said Thomas R. Hardy, USTDA's Acting Director. "Off-grid energy development will increase rural access to affordable, reliable electricity, as well as lead to new opportunities for innovative American companies to support a growing sector in Sierra Leone."
Minister of Energy of Sierra Leone Alhaji Kanja Sesay said, "On behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Energy stands ready to work closely with USTDA and WindGen to prepare a world-class Feasibility Study for 45 mini-grids in Sierra Leone. On the basis of the technical design and detailed planning work, we expect these mini-grids will be readily financed and developed - in order to provide affordable, solar-powered energy for over 8,000 Sierra Leonean households and businesses. This new Study and the expected Project will be coordinated with our ongoing mini-grid activities and initiatives, in particular the flagship Rural and Renewable Energy Project, to help achieve the overall energy sector vision of the Ministry of Energy and the Government of Sierra Leone."
WindGen Power USA, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Sam Slaughter said, "We have been developing and operating mini-grids in East Africa since 2013, and we are proud to have launched our West Africa work in Sierra Leone. With progressive mini-grid regulations and a clear vision for their energy future, Sierra Leone is well positioned to show the world how to quickly advance rural energy access while using sustainable energy sources. We are thrilled to partner with the Ministry of Energy on this Study, and we are grateful to USTDA for their support. We are committed to helping these projects come to fruition and making strides towards universal energy access in Sierra Leone."
This project supports the goals of Power Africa and the Electrify Africa Act which aim to increase capacity as well as support private sector involvement in Africa's energy sector.
Source: US Trade and Development Agency