- UNDP has launched AMP chapter in Somalia to help increase energy access to rural communities
- It has been customized to Somalian energy market to enable hybridization of existing diesel mini-grids with solar mini-grids
- The program will start with some pilot projects, later leading to a larger, durable transformation of the country’s energy system, the UNDP stated
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is adding a Somalia chapter to its Africa Minigrids Program (AMP) in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The AMP is a regional solar energy access program designed for 21 Sub-Saharan nations.
The AMP helps promote scaled-up investments in solar mini-grids to increase access to sustainable, clean energy for rural communities to support climate action.
According to the UN agency, in Somalia 65% population does not have access to electricity. Most communities with access to energy rely on diesel mini-grid systems that are owned and operated by private Electricity Service Providers (ESP). In absence of limited access to finance, these ESPs cannot scale up using any innovative business models like the hugely popular pay-as-you-go (PAYG) model in some countries.
The Somalian chapter of the AMP is customized to enable hybridization of existing diesel mini-grids and make solar mini-grids more competitive and affordable.
In Somalia, the AMP will support pilot projects to demonstrate the viability of mini-grid hybridization and provide electricity to 66,670 people with half of them women, following which the AMP will ‘catalyze a larger, durable transformation of the country’s energy system which will help the country close its energy access gap while enabling a 594,000 tCO2eq of indirect greenhouse gas emissions mitigation’.
Calling mini-grids the ‘least-cost option’ to provide electricity to 265 million people in 21 African nations, UNDP estimates it to be a total investment opportunity of $65 billion.
“This equates to the construction of 110,000 mini-grids, powering 200,000 schools and hospitals and driving economic growth in the region by supporting 900,000 businesses,” it added.
UNDP says before Somalia, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded AMP was already launched in Nigeria, Eswatini and Djbouti, and more will be rolled out in other nations throughout this year.
The World Bank calls solar mini-grids a core solution to close the energy access gap since its cost of electricity generation has dropped from $0.55/kWh in 2018 to $0.38/kWh in 2022 (see World Bank Finds Huge Potential For Solar Mini Grids).