Half a million people over the next four years will benefit from at least 90 mini-grids powered with renewable energy. Initially 50 communities will be electrified in 2017 using mini-grids that will be operated by local entrepreneurs. Sierra Leone’s Minister of Energy, the United Kingdom Government’s Department for International Development (DFID – also known as ‘UK Aid’) and UNOPS gathered at the first steering committee meeting to launch the Rural Renewable Energy Project.
“Off-grid renewable energy is the future for countries like Sierra Leone,” said Ambassador Henry Macauley, Minister of Energy, at the launch of the country’s largest decentralized renewable energy project, funded by UK Aid, aid from the British people, in cooperation with UNOPS.
“Our country suffered greatly during the Ebola crisis,” Ambassador Macauley continued. “This project will increase accessibility to renewable electricity services and enhance economic growth in underserved rural communities. It will also allow us to better respond to future health emergencies by providing much needed electricity to community health centers, paving the way to universal access to basic services.”
During Sierra Leone’s Ebola outbreak, the lack of reliable power generation was a major obstacle to the country’s ability to both deal with and quickly recover from the emergency.