The Rural Electrification Authority of Zambia and the Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Partnership have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to monitor and support the country’s electrification efforts through data collection and analysis.
In particular, the MoU outlines a joint effort to leverage the Edison data platform. The platform was originally developed to monitor and support Zambia’s broader electrification efforts with advanced data collection and analysis on behalf of the Rural Electrification Authority (REA). This underscores both organizations’ commitment to promoting and engendering access to modern, clean energy for rural and underserved Zambians.
The REA has the mandate to provide electricity infrastructure to Zambia’s rural areas using appropriate technologies and they aim to increase the country’s electrification rate to 51% by 2030. Over the next few years the Authority is the focal point of a number of initiatives including capital subsidy support, solar, mini-grid and hydro projects meant to enable new and existing energy service provides to reach thousands of new customers in rural and peri-urban areas.
The Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) team has already started with REA to use the Edison data platform to monitor the initiatives, and on the success of the Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia (BGFZ), which has helped energy services provides in the country provide services to more than a million Zambians.
REEEP created the Edison data platform for Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia [BGFZ] to provide the fund with real-time, accurate and precise data and information on energy services. The platform has given the programme as well as Zambians a transparent view into the Fund’s impact and results.
Mapping energy data must be done for the good of Zambia and its people
According to the REA CEO, Clement Silavwe, their partnership with REEEP and their Edison team will help give REA the big data and analytics tools it needs to ensure Zambia’s rural people are getting the affordable smart power they have been promised for decades with operation and maintenance capabilities to make it sustainable.
The partnership will begin with REEEP launching a pilot data collection effort for a new REA programme to turn existing solar-power hummer-mills in rural areas into mini-grids, which will bring power to local villages. The REA-REEEEP pilot is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) as part of its ongoing support to the Edison Initiative.
Magdalena Kouneva, REEEP director general, says that; “In the field of renewable energies and energy efficiency REEEP initiates and invest in projects for market development, captures and reacts to project experiences and generates evidence-based intelligence toward further growing and replication promising models.
“Data is a key element of this effort and the potential benefits of improved data collection and monitoring for Zambia are enormous, especially as we see the sector advance so rapidly. Through Edison, we will work towards ensuring that the huge volume of data generated in these efforts is handled responsibly and for the good of the Zambian people.”
REEEP will also support the Authority to understand and map out its long-terms needs in data collection and monitoring so as to develop a broader plan for REA to leverage Edison to monitor its portfolio of electrification projects. This will include an eventual handover of Edison operations and system infrastructure to the REA.
Zambia is facing a formidable challenge to increase electricity access from the current rate of 31 percent nationwide, and 4.4 percent in rural areas. Doing so will require a concerted effort from all key stakeholders and development partners.