Global utility ENGIE says it wants to focus on providing off-grid energy in Africa, with plans to expand its solar home system (SHS) and mini-grid activities.
ENGIE, which is participating in the Africa Energy Forum beginning in Mauritius on Tuesday, is launching new mini-grid projects in Zambia and starting commercial sales of SHS in Ivory Coast with its subsidiary Fenix, part of its goal to provide 20 million people around the world with access to decarbonised, decentralised energy provision by 2020.
"Advances in decentralised energy put universal access within reaching distance, but the scale of the challenge is significant. As governments work hard to improve electrification rates, decentralised solutions must be part of the mix," ENGIE Africa CEO Yoven Moorooven said.
"Demand for clean and safe energy across Africa is continuing to increase, and the supply needs to rise in both speed and quantity."
Moorooven said a number of African governments and regulators were putting renewable energy at the core of their energy policies and ENGIE would work with them to expand energy access faster and sustainably.
In 2015, ENGIE launched PowerCorner, an innovation which provides electricity to rural areas via sustainable mini-grids, and will launch the construction of its first mini-grid in Zambia after the success of the model in Tanzania where it has 8 mini-grids currently in operation or in final construction stage.
For over 50 years, ENGIE has been active in many African countries through its energy engineering business, its natural gas purchase agreements with Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria and more recently as an independent power producer in South Africa and Morocco with a total capacity of 3 000 MW either in operation or under construction.