Congratulations to the 27 private-sector partners of “Beyond the Grid” – a new Power Africa initiative to unlock investment and growth specifically for off-grid and small-scale energy solutions – announced today by Secretary Moniz at the U.S.-Africa Energy Ministerial in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
President Obama launched Power Africa nearly one year ago to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa – electricity needed for students to succeed, businesses to thrive, and African economies to grow. The challenge is greatest beyond the electric grid serving dense urban populations. More than 240 million people live without electricity in rural and peri-urban communities across the six Power Africa focus countries. Too many do not even show up on government plans to expand the grid over the next decade.
But, bolstered by the falling cost of renewable energy generation; rapid advances in energy storage, smart meter, and mobile payment technologies; and innovative business models, new distributed energy companies are now delivering clean, reliable energy in Africa at a competitive price point. While the market is still young, it holds great promise to follow the mobile phone in leapfrogging centralized infrastructure across Africa.
Beyond the Grid will double down on Power Africa’s support for this potentially game-changing sector, building on more than 25 small-scale energy projects already in the Power Africa pipeline. Beyond the Grid’s 27 founding partners – including impact investors, venture philanthropists, clean-energy enterprises, and practitioners – have committed to invest over $1 billion over the next five years to seed and scale distributed energy solutions for millions of African homes, businesses, schools, and other public facilities.
Examples of commitments to date include:
Leveraging the full tools and resources of the 12 Power Africa agencies, Beyond the Grid will take steps identified by the initiative’s partners and other experts as most critical to unlock further investment and growth in the off-grid energy sector. Beyond the Grid will strengthen the enabling environment and foster the clear, predictable rules needed for investment and operations. It will also catalyze private-sector investment through pre-investment technical assistance, risk mitigation, and new financial tools that strategically blend donor and private capital as well as aggregate small energy projects for investment at scale.
You can learn more about all 27 Beyond the Grid founding partners here.
Capricorn Investment Group
Global Off-Grid Lighting Association
Gray Ghost Ventures
LGT Venture Philanthropy
Liberia Energy Network
Low Carbon Enterprise Fund
Off Grid Electric
Persistent Energy Partners
Tony Elumelu Foundation
United Nations Foundation