On November 13-14, 2018, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) hosted the "West Africa Mini-grids Workshop: Technological Advances, Regulatory Framework, and Quality Assurance" in Dakar, Senegal. The workshop was organized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) under the USTDA-funded U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Standards Program (CESP), and was co-hosted by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) as part of ECREEE's Sustainable Energy Forum.
Solar mini-grids are an increasingly viable solution for providing remote populations with affordable and reliable electricity access. Across West Africa, and in countries like Senegal where only 34 percent of the rural population has access to electricity, mini-grids present a promising alternative to traditional grid infrastructure. U.S. experts gave presentations, as well as Senegalese and other African experts from both the public and private sectors, who addressed quality assurance, system planning, energy storage systems, data management, metering, and other important aspects of mini-grid development.
The workshop attracted more than 100 participants, including attendees from six African countries. The event provided a thorough background on Senegal's policy landscape for mini-grid development as well as detailed information on standards-related and technical solutions to support the viability and management of existing and future off-grid systems across West Africa.
The workshop featured 25 expert speakers from the U.S., Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal. These experts included 12 U.S. speakers from Alpha Technologies, FRAYM, HOMER Energy, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), MRIGlobal, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Odyssey Energy Solutions, Power Africa Transactions and Reforms Program (PATPR), PowerGen, Princeton Power, Renewvia, and
Presentations and photos from the workshop are available on the CESP website: www.standardsportal.org/us-africacesp.
The U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Standards Program (CESP) and ANSI
The event was the fourth of five workshops coordinated by ANSI under the second phase of the USTDA-funded U.S.-Africa CESP. The remaining workshop in this phase will likely focus on energy storage systems in South Africa.
The CESP provides a platform for industry and government representatives from the U.S. and Sub-Saharan Africa to cooperate on standardization issues relevant to clean energy technologies and build the relationships necessary for further technical exchange. CESP also supports Power Africa's objectives, helping create an enabling environment and capacity of governments and private sector entities to increase both on-grid and off-grid energy access.
Organizations interested in participating in or co-sponsoring a CESP workshop are invited to complete the commercial benefit questionnaire here. All workshop proposals are subject to USTDA's review and approval.
For more information on the U.S.-Africa CESP and the "Standards to Promote Interoperability" workshop, including access to the presentations, agenda, photos, and flyer, please visit www.standardsportal.org/us-africacesp.