HOMER Energy CEO and co-founder Dr. Peter Lilienthal has just returned from a trip to Ghana where he was invited to speak at the World Bank conference in Accra on The 5th Mini Grid Action Learning Event and Reaching Universal Energy Access in Ghana by 2020.
The conference was attended by over 250 people from 31 countries, mostly from Africa, and included government officials, utility companies, regulators, representatives from the academic community, international finance agencies and renewable energy project developers.
The World Bank meeting in Ghana touched on the following themes:
- The role of the private sector in mini grid development
- Tariffs, subsidies, and regulation; business models and integration of mini grids into the electric system
- Productive use of power in agriculture and other businesses
- Gender; how electricity resources affect the roles and lives of women
In his talk, Dr. Lilienthal presented “Designing Least Cost Mini Grids with HOMER Pro,” and explored the value propositions of mini grids (also called microgrids) and best practices in the mini grid design process. He also conducted a full day of training on the HOMER software.
Eight years ago Dr. Lilienthal made a trip to Ghana to promote mini grid development, and he says an enormous amount has changed since that first visit, starting with Accra itself, which is now a gleaming modern city, bustling with traffic. Aside from that he says there is now serious interest in mini grids. “It’s been proven that they are cost effective,” he says. “The components are just better. They are reliable and cheaper than they used to be.” Dr. Lilienthal also says that more people recognize the synergies between microgrids and the economic development of rural areas – how microgrids can be an engine for commerce, healthcare and education. “They still have obstacles to overcome such as tariffs, ownership issue and financing,” he says, “but they will get there.”
Don’t miss our webinar on July 25th at 8am, MDT where Dr. Lilienthal and Jon Exel of World Bank’s Global Facility for Minigrids will discuss energy access and mini grid development around the world.