We’ve Reached 10,000 Megawatts!
Happy belated New Year! We are excited to report that the U.S. Government shutdown is over, and Power Africa is back to normal operations. While the Government was limited in its operations, our partners kept plugging along, and we reached a significant milestone in our partnership: 10,000 megawatts (MW). The Nachtigal Hydroelectric Project in Cameroon and Kipeto Wind Project in Kenya pushed us over the line. For Nachtigal, the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF), which Power Africa funds, advised the Government of Cameroon on the construction framework and launch of operations. USAID advisory services led negotiations on bankability and financing for African Development Bank (AfDB) participation. Please be sure to read the accompanying article on Power Africa’s role with the Kipeto Wind Farm to truly understand how our models work.
Power Africa has now helped 120 projects reach financial close, projects that will provide over 10,000 MW of new generation capacity. We have also helped add more than 12 million home and business connections, which means nearly 60 million people have access to electricity who did not prior to our launch in 2013.
Our goal remains to help bring 30,000 MW of power online by 2030 and to add more than 60 million new electrical connections (assuming about 5 people benefiting per connection, i.e., approximately 300 million people). We have broken the mold and created a true partnership model that is working. We invested our efforts across technologies and fuel sources and supported government reform of key legal and procurement frameworks to create stronger environments for international, private-sector investment. We believe the momentum is clear not only in the stories we hear, but in the data we report on our results.
Now, one third of the way towards our MW goal and one-fifth of our way towards our connections goal, we still have a lot of work to do. Even though nearly 60 million people have electricity for the first time due to Power Africa’s efforts, there are still 1 billion people in the world with no access to electricity. At our current rate of adding new connections, it would seem that it could take 100 years before there’s universal energy access. We all need to do more and not lose the momentum.
We will continue to focus on opening the door for private sector investment in the energy sector and addressing many of the regulatory and financial constraints that have historically inhibited private sector investment. We will stress the need for new financial models and critical reforms that will accelerate access to electricity. We will support governments to make tough reforms and build their capacity so that they retain control of their country’s energy destiny in a financially and environmentally sustainable way.
We are also looking forward to welcoming our partners to our Annual Partners Meetings on February 25, on the sidelines of the Powering Africa Summit in Miami, Florida. We will hold a larger, multi-day partners meeting in May in Johannesburg, South Africa, just after Africa Utility Week/PowerGEN Africa. If you are a partner, we would love to hear from you about the challenges you’re facing, and how our partnership might help you overcome them, so we can build that into our programs for our upcoming meetings.