Prof Bahaj chaired the mini-grid summit in Nairobi

The 2nd African Mini Grid Summit was launched today in Nairobi Kenya, with the aim of sharing experiences in mini grids especially those related to low carbon renewable energy schemes in Africa. The Summit held over the period 18 – 20 November 2015, will be attended by representatives from various African governments, academia, the private sector and NGOs.

Only 15% of people living in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa have electrical grid access compared to 70% of people living in urban areas.  In rural areas the population’s low density as well as the remoteness of these communities makes grid electrification costly, resulting in a lengthy wait for it to arrive. Mini grids clearly provide a quicker and less costly option to provide the needed electrical energy to the rural and poor communities.

The Summit brings together key decision makers from the Ministries of Energy, Rural Electrification Authorities/Agencies, industry, policy experts and academia from the international community to discuss African options for mini grids and how these can deliver energy access in an African context. The themes of the Summit are structured to allow panel discussion and debates of pressing issues regarding mini grids and the importance of improving energy access to rural communities with presentations from a wide range of project case studies and perspectives.

The Summit’s Chairman, Professor Abubakr S. Bahaj, Head of the Energy and Climate Change Division and the Sustainable Energy Research Group (SERG, at the University of Southampton, UK, commented that: “The rural poor must have a voice to support their development through the provision of energy within their communities. This Summit provides a needed avenue to allow the global society to support such needs. We, at the University of Southampton, have deployed six mini grid projects in Kenya, Cameroon and Uganda. These projects provide learning entities that provide sustainable business models for energy access in Africa.  The Summit will culminate in a site visit to one of our projects in Kitonyoni, Makueni County, Kenya, where the delegates can see first-hand the work being done, discuss the project and its impacts directly with the Summit attendees”.

Sharing this international experience and expertise will help promote best practice, appropriate investment, sustainable design and positive support from the stakeholder community in both the public and private sectors, ensuring that mini grids could provide the needed role in bringing clean, affordable electricity to many millions of people across the continent, and along with it cleaner development, better health and increased prosperity.

The conference titled, ‘2nd Africa Mini-Grids Summit’, took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi, and was organised by Magenta Global.

Speakers at the 2nd Mini Grid Summit Chaired by Prof Bahaj (Centre), Nairobi, 18 – 20 Nov 2015, Kenya

Speakers at the 2nd Mini Grid Summit Chaired by Prof Bahaj (Centre), Nairobi, 18 – 20 Nov 2015, Kenya