Publication - Exploring the Nexus of Mini-grids and Digital Technologies: Potentials, Challenges and Options for Sustainable Energy Access in Sub-Saharan Africa
Exploring the Nexus of Mini-grids and Digital Technologies: Potentials, Challenges and Options for Sustainable Energy Access in Sub-Saharan Africa
Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Potsdam, enerpirica & Reiner Lemoine Institute (RL)
Kerstin Fritzsche, Luke Shuttleworth, Bernhard Brand & Philipp Blechinger
Access to clean, reliable and affordable energy is one of the key challenges for many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is particularly the case in rural and remote areas which are often not connected to the national main grid. Mini-grids are expected to play an important role in providing access to sustainable and reliable energy in these areas. On the other hand, this report argues that mini-grids also need to meet a set of key requirements to become future-proof and contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Mini-grids should foster the integration of renewable energies. They should provide for equitable and affordable electricity costs and reliable electricity supply. They should be sensitive to the specific local context and foster the development of productive uses. Moreover, they should be flexible and adaptable to changing conditions, such as new technologies, increasing demand and the arrival of the main grid, and account for transparency and consumer protection. Finally, mini-grids should be designed in a way which reduces their ecological footprint as far as possible.