The “Moyamba” project is being developed by Energicity (SL) Limited after the company won a concession to build and/or upgrade and operate 32 mini-grid sites from Sierra Leone’s Rural Renewable Electrification Project, which was conceived in the wake of the 2014 Ebola crisis to support the country’s struggling health care system.
A significant part of the Moyamba project targets increasing the system’s capacity and strengthening its resilience to climate change via direct connection to hospitals and clinics. As part of the agreement with the government, Energicity’s project company is required to provide a minimum daily amount of power to community health centres free of charge.
As well as supporting health care, all 32 mini-grids are suitable for productive uses of energy, such as milling and grinding, thus providing income-generating opportunities for local businesses and direct job opportunities for communities. Energicity, a subsidiary of majority women-led Energicity Corporation, is also developing ‘behind the metre’ relationships with customers, providing value-added services such as leasing freezers and electric motors.
The UK government loan, provided by the Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP), will enable the completion of the project and provide funding for the operation of all 32 sites which are situated in Sierra Leone’s Port Loko, Kambia, Karene and Moyamba districts. Once completed, the mini-grid portfolio will provide first-time access to electricity to nearly 80,000 people, directly supporting Sierra Leone’s national electrification target of 92 percent by 2030. The sites will also add a combined 1.3 MW of renewable energy capacity and avoid over 2,800 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
“With the support of REPP’s $1.25 million loan, the project is not only providing a source of reliable power to the districts’ under-pressure health clinics, but once completed will have connected almost 80,000 local people and small businesses to electricity for the first time” said Nicole Poindexter, CEO and Founder of Energicity Corporation. “These people include Kadiatu Maseray, who with affordable and reliable electricity has increased the profits of her cold drinks business by 300 percent and the Conakry Dee Junior School, which has seen a 25 percent increase in attendance and a 235 percent increase in students passing since being connected to its local mini-grid. We are grateful for the REPP team’s commitment to helping us achieve our vision of providing affordable, reliable, scalable electricity so that families and communities can thrive.”
Geoff Sinclair, Managing Director of REPP’s investment manager, Camco Clean Energy, added that the Ebola outbreak in 2014 had a devastating impact on Sierra Leone, and put an overwhelming demand on the country’s healthcare system and that the ongoing success of the Moyamba project is a sign of a country on the mend and proof of how renewable energy initiatives present a viable investment decision for external investors.
“From the start, Moyamba has been designed to have the widest positive impact on people, not just through providing free power to hospitals and clinics, but by delivering a sufficiently high service quality so as to promote the productive use of electricity, as well as providing households with a clean, healthy and more affordable alternative to kerosene” Mr Sinclair said.
By having 60 percent female representation in Energicity (SL) Limited’s senior management team, the Moyamba project meets the 2X Challenge’s criteria for gender lens investment. This means that of all REPP’s current investments, 53 percent now meet this widely regarded criteria for supporting gender equality.
“In its role as REPP’s investment manager, Camco is committed to increasing the role of women in the sector” added Mr Sinclair. “Unfortunately, women-led businesses remain a rare entity in Sub-Saharan Africa’s renewable energy space, and so being able to support Moyamba as a majority women-managed project is a particular highlight.”
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