By Yankuba Jallow
The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has on Tuesday, 22nd September 2020 held a validation workshop on Green Mini Grid (GMG).
The Ministry is implementing the flagship GMG Country Support Programme with support from Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) at the African Development Bank to develop the GMG policy and technical regulations and thereby lay the foundation for the deployment of privately-owned, community-based or public-private green mini-grids in the Gambia.
Component one of the Project is the preparation of a GMG policy strategy, regulations, capacity development to promote GMG development in the Gambia. The second component is to support GMG project development through feasibility studies at potential sites and implementation of a “roll-out plan” to attract prospective investors to the identified GMG opportunities.
The Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Honourable Fafa Sanyang said the availability of reliable, efficient, affordable and environmentally friendly electricity supply is one of the cornerstones of the Gambia Government’s development aspirations for the energy sector, as elaborated in their sector policies, strategies and the National Development Plan (NDP).
He said his ministry recognises that the electricity grid cannot reach every community in The Gambia and in keeping up with the global energy transition towards decentralised renewable energy systems, Minister Sanyanf said his ministry is committed to promoting alternative electrification solutions, as a necessary vehicle to provide access to those communities beyond the reach of the national grid.
“As part of our national strategy for universal electricity access, the Gambia government has set a target to connect one-third of the rural population through off-grid solutions by 2030, mainly through green mini-grids and stand-alone home systems,” the Minister said, adding “However, this target cannot be readily achieved without establishing the enabling policy environment to stimulate both public and private investments in off-grid electrification and putting in place an effective regulatory framework and developing financial support including de-risking mechanisms for the private sector.”
“All the GMG policy and regulatory documents have been developed and validated. Also, the training of the target groups on GMG planning, management and operations has been successfully completed,” the Minister said.
He said under the second component, the feasibility studies and environmental social impact assessments for ten (10) off-grid communities in the Upper River Region of the country are to be finally completed, subject to the outcome of the validation by the participants of the online validation workshop.
“The only outstanding deliverables for the project are the GMG Investment Prospectus and Roll-out Plan, but I am confident that the remaining activities will be completed by November 2020, ahead of the official project closing date of December 2020,” the Minister said.
Lamin Camara, the Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Petroleum and Energy said “I acknowledge the support being provided by the African Development Bank towards the Green Mini Grid Project which resulted in a one million dollar grant that was provided by the African Development Bank to the Government of The Gambia- it is administered under the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy through our project coordination unit and a steering committee. The project coordination and the steering committee have been working diligently in the formulation and development of the regulatory instruments and policies in relation to the GMG initiative in the country which culminated in the mapping of various sites for potential sites that could be connected for the GMG.
He added: “We have done capacity building trainings for stakeholders and we are almost at the tail end of the project which resulted in the validation workshop of the feasibility studies for the GMG which we are witnessing today. “
This will help assessing the demand for mini-grid connectivity and their need in this country, he said.
He concluded “With this validation workshop, we hope that we can advance on the completion of the GMG Project and we look forward to a fruitful partnership to execute our roadmap.”