By Ousman A Marong
The Minister of Petroleum and Energy Mr. Fafa Sanyang, has envisioned a total electrification of rural settlements by 2030.
“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 system,” the Petroleum Minister stated.
According to him, this target cannot be readily achieved without establishing the enabling policy environment to stimulate both public and private investment in off-grid electrification, and putting in place an effective regulatory framework and developing financial support including de-risking mechanism for the private sector.
He made these revelations at a day-long online validation workshop on the theme: ‘GAMBIA Green Mini Grids Feasibility Studies’ held at the Ministry of Petroleum in Brusubi.
The Petroleum Minister adduced that the availability of reliable, efficient, affordable, and environmentally friendly electricity supply is one of the cornerstones of the Government’s development aspiration for the energy sector, as elaborated in the sector policies, strategies, and national development plans. He observed that since the electricity grid cannot reach every community in decentralized renewable energy system, his Ministry is committed to promoting alternative electrification solution.
“It is against this backdrop that the Ministry is implementing the flagship GMG Country Support Programme, with support from Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) at the African Development Bank (ADB), 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,” he remarked.
Major Components Of The Project:
He revealed that the project has two major components which are Component 1: Preparation of a GMG policy strategy, regulations, capacity development to promote in the Gambia.
Component 2 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. He said the first component outputs/deliverables have been successfully completed.
“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 have been successfully completed.
He said under second component, the feasibility studies and environmental social impact assessments for (1)) off-grid communities in the Upper River Region (URR) are to be finally completed , subjected to the outcome of the validation by the participants of this online workshop.
“The only outstanding deliverables for the project GMG Investment Prospectus and Roll-out Plan. I am confident that the remaining activities will all be completed by November 2020, ahead of the official project closing date of December 2020,” he concluded.