By Madiba Singhateh
The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, recently held a day forum on the Mini-grids Small Scale Electricity Generation, which will increase access and stimulate social economic development.
The inception workshop which was held at a local hotel in Kololi, was attended by stakeholders including senior Government officers.
Lamin Camara Permanent Secretary at the Energy Ministry, said the Green Mini-grids’ support for the Gambia, is implemented by his Ministry, with the support of the World Bank (WB), through the sustainable Energy fund for Africa (SEFA). PS Camara said the project is a multi-donor fund that promotes energy access through project preparation grants.
“For those of us hearing Green Mini-grid for the first time, these involve localized small-scale electricity generation in some parts of the world by renewable energy, and the distribution of electricity to a limited number of customers through a network that can operate in isolation from the national power grid,” Camara said, that within this context, they are developing the enabling policy and regulatory environment under the GMG project, to attract the private sector to develop Green Mini-grids, to supply electricity to rural communities in the Gambia. He said this will improve the standard of living and stimulate the socioeconomic activities of people. Camara said other key areas of intervention for the project includes project development and financing, and capacity building; that the objective of the workshop is to present the report and gather feedback from stake holders, which will guide the Ministry in developing the framework for the country.
Also speaking was the Minister of Petroleum Fafa E Sanyang, who said the Green-Mini grid is to complement the existing power grid expansion which alone, is not a viable strategy because some communities are too far inland, to be economically connected.
He said the option of electrification is important for increasing electricity access to many developing counties.
Sanyang said the GMG is a supportive program that was launched and funded by the ADB and is a ten months program; that when successfully implemented, the program will create an opportunity for an increase in private sector participation in the energy sector in the country, particularly those areas that are off the NAWEC power grid. He encouraged participants to come with the smartest ideas that will formulate the Green Mini-grid (GMG) project.
The workshop was attended by staff of the Petroleum Ministry, NAWEC officials and the media.