As part of efforts to increase energy access to rural communities, His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma on Friday 28 July 2017, launched the Conakry Dee Mini Grid in Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom, Port Loko district.
During the launch, President Koroma disclosed that the Mini Grid is part of the Rural Renewable Electrification Project funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) with the objective to providing energy to 54 community health centres across the country.
As a result, the President thanked the British Government through DFID for providing funding for the project and UNOPS for speedily implementing the project. He urged the community people to take full ownership of the project for its sustainability and success.
Head of Programmes UNOPS, Sonja Varga, said they are now more than certain that sustainable energy is essential to the wellbeing of human society. She added that the project aim to contribute to universal access to electricity as it will focus on covering those districts not already targeted by other main line electrification programmes.
|President Koroma cutting the tape with UNOPS Boss
Madam Varga continued that the project is implemented through a phased approach to ensure lessons learnt from the first installations are captured in subsequent phases. “Beginning with the installation of 6kWp PV Solar systems in CHCs, the project will commission and test the systems before moving onto the second phase of scaling up, to a capacity between 26kWp and 36kWp. This will be sufficient to serve the remainder of public institutions while delivering electricity to households in the community”. Madam Vaga explained.
She ended by encouraging local ownership of the projects by involving communities to ensure long-term use and maintenance of everything UNOPS builds.
Minister of Energy Hon. Ambassador Henry Macauley disclosed that the electrification of the Kaffu Bullom community and other communities with solar Mini-Grid is in line with the President’s ‘Agenda for prosperity’ and is among the ‘President’s Recovery Priorities’. He intimated that an MOU was signed by 3 Ministries in which the Ministry of Energy commits itself to ensure that the system functions in a safe manner, Ministry of Health commits itself to the protection of the system and used for its intended purpose of giving electricity to the hospitals and help promote health care and Local Government Ministry commits itself to ensuring that young people will be able to develop themselves with the setting up of small businesses like kiosks and other commercial activities and also to ensure the safety and sustainability of the project.
He further disclosed that in 2007 when the government took office the production of electricity was 47million KWHrs, in 2015 it rose to 259million kilowatt hours and in 2016 it rose further to over 300 million KWHrs.
He praised the President for being ambitious as it motivated them to arrive at this stage. Other speakers expressed similar sentiments. Several speakers like Chief Bai Seborah Sheba Gbereh 111, Chairman Parliamentary Committee on Energy, DFID head of office, Minister of Health and Sanitation, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and UNOPS Country Director made short statements.
Signing of the Inter-Ministerial MOU, Launching of the project and commissioning of Mini-Grid climaxed the event.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.