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HomeLocal NewsDeputy Energy Minister Launches Pilot Phase of Mini-Grid Tariff Harmonization

Deputy Energy Minister Launches Pilot Phase of Mini-Grid Tariff Harmonization

By Austine Luseni Communications Specialist

The Deputy Minister of Energy, Dr. Eldred Taylor, has at the launch of the pilot phase of Sierra Leone’s Mini-Grid Tariff Harmonization Project said that the country was proud of the stunning succeses it was making in the mini grid space and commended the government for creating the enabling environment for public-private partnerships to flourish or thrive in the renewable energy domain.

“President Julius Maada Bio recognizes the imperative role of reliable and affordable energy in nation building and in promoting sustainable development.

Under his leadership, and through the contributions of development partners and private operators, the energy in Sierra Leone is undergoing profound and fundamental changes,” Dr. Taylor noted, adding that it was now imperative on the country to focus on generating cleaner and cheaper power to guarantee energy security and promote access in rural communities.

The Deputy Minister of Energy went on to say that despite the fact that great strides had been made in Sierra Leone’s energy space, the country’s work in the sector still remains cut out, noting that mini grids had been globally identified as the least cost options for providing certain communities with dignified access to electricity.

He said they were gathered for discussions around mini grids and informed participants that the most important development in mini grids in Sierra Leone had come through the Rural Renewable Energy Project-an FCDO flagship project implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services, UNOPS.

“This project has seen the development and operationalization of 85 solar mini grids to date, with an additional 9 sites in the pipeline to be commissioned by December 2022,” Dr. Taylor noted, stressing further that despite these accomplishments, a lot of challenges still persist.

He concluded by saying that the Ministry and partners had developed clear regulatory license and tariff procedures, introduced GST exemptions on tariffs on mini grids, and prioritized the wellbeing of citizens.

Director General of EDSA, Abu Kamara, said that with this intervention, more customers would eventually want to be connected to the grid because the subsidy would drastically reduce on the current cost of KWh.

He called on the operators to build on their varied capacities and ensure there was always a spinning reserve so that at any given time a request was made for connection, they would be readily available to respond.

Director of Economic Regulations at the Sierra Leone Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission, SLEWRC, Brima Bah, said on a recent trip to mini grid communities, his commission had informed beneficiaries of a one-year pilot project which would commence in November this year and which was part of a broader tariff harmonization project.

He said the communities expressed their happiness for the reduction in tariffs. He highlighted a number of policy and practical interventions that his commission had made with a view to creating an enabling environment for the domestic and industrial use of energy, particularly in the area of mini grids.

Fiasah Olanipekun, a representative from Cross Boundary, said that mini grid tariffs were set to markedly drop after completion of site integrations, adding that his company was appreciative of the support it had received from partners.

He said the project would start with a one-year pilot phase dedicated to proving the feasibility of the nationwide project.

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