Nairobi, 20 January 2020: A one-week Micro-Grid Academy officially kicks off today at Kenya Power and Lighting Company Institute of Energy Studies, Nairobi, Kenya with over 60 participants from the East African Partner States and Italy. The Micro-Grid Academy (MGA) was launched in January 2018. In the pilot years of the training activities, it has managed to reach over 350 people mainly from the East-African countries as well as Ethiopia, Somaliland and Zambia. The main objective of the MGA is to create a skilled and conscious workforce through conducting capacity-building trainings on energy access and development of decentralized renewable energy solutions directed towards African young students, technicians, managers and engineers. The training covers a variety of topics, including overview of Rural Community needs, Energy Demand Assessment and Productive Uses, Components of Decentralized Energy Systems and Field visit and works to Mini Grids systems.
There is need to contribute to enhancement of access to energy in rural and developing communities to foster local enterprise and job creation. “Investing in renewable energy technologies is vital for provision of affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy for all by 2030 as per Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7. To give a hands on experience to the MGA participants, a 20-40 kW mini-grid system will be installed on-site at St. Kizito to continuously support the vocational training activities on ground”, said Prof. Andrea Micangeli.
Commitment to promote an integrated and inclusive energy market is considered vital for socio-economic development and improved livelihoods. To increase the long-term sustainability and local value creation, stakeholders capacity strengthening is essential. Focused and systematic efforts to ensure availability of technical assistance in the proximity of the end users is a key factor as a way to activate market transformation. The presence of technicians well versed in design, installation, trouble-shooting, repair and maintenance of mini-grid systems within the locality will increase the trust of the consumers – and hence more adoption of the technology. “It is time we need to pull up resources to improve adoption of renewable energy systems and technology by taking advantage of falling technology processes”, said Dr. Jeremiah Kiplagat, the Director Kenya Power and Lighting Institute of Energy Studies.
Ensuring everyone has access to sustainable energy set by national, regional and global goals, leadership and influential partnership of all kinds is needed. “We invite us all strive to contribute towards achieving the national goals, UN Sustainable Development Goals and our National Determined Contributions (NDC) by ensuring increased access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all through knowledge acquired during this one week of training”, said Mr. Fred Ishugah, a Sustainable Energy Expert at the East African Centre of Excellence for Renewable Energy and Efficiency (EACREEE).
Mini-Grid systems are registering fast and steady growth in the East African region. “One of the important characteristic of renewable energy systems is that they are scalable to our needs. Knowledge acquisition remains key to ensuring that we can accelerate adoption of renewable energy”, said Prof. Izael Pereira Da Silva, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation at Strathmore University.
The course was jointly organized by the East African Centre of Excellence for Renewable Energy and Efficiency (EACREEE), Renewable Energy Solutions for Africa Foundation (RES4AFRICA), AVSI Foundation, Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) Institute of Energy Studies, Strathmore University, St. Kizito Vocational Training Institute and supported by Enel Foundation.