ENGIE Energy Access to provide electricity to low-income communities in Benin
Cotonou, 13 June 2023 – Construction has started on a mini-grid project set to give low-income communities in Benin access to electricity. The Beninese Agency for Rural Electrification and Energy Management (ABERME) has signed an agreement with ARE Member ENGIE Energy Access, an independent power producer. The project is part of the Off-Grid Electricity Access project of the Millennium Challenge Account – Benin II (MCA-Benin II) programme.
The agreement is to allow ENGIE Energy Access to deploy 20 mini-grids to improve power reliability. It will promote decentralised electricity distribution in low-income communities like Borgou, Donga and Zou. Construction started in North and Central Benin for a total power of 1200. lkWp, 68.8 km of low voltage network and the connection of almost 6,000 subscribers. Sagecom and Butec Energies & Services – West Africa are the two project engineering procurement and construction companies involved. ENGIE Energy Access has so far provided sustainable electricity to over 1,250,000 people in Benin.
The mini-grid project will further impact 30,000 Beninese, giving them access to electricity for the first time and deepening energy access in the country within the next 10 years. Per capita consumption of electricity in Benin is among the world's lowest because of limited access to and availability of electricity for the country's 11.8 million people, said the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
"Rapidly growing demand coupled with inadequate maintenance and insufficient investment have stressed Benin's national grid, resulting in poor service that impacts households, hurts businesses, and hinders public services."
The MCC partnered with Benin to tackle these issues through a $391 million compact to reform and modernise the West African country's power sector.
"With an additional contribution of $28 million by the Government of Benin, the compact aims to strengthen the national power utility, attract private sector investment into solar power generation, and fund infrastructure investments in electricity distribution as well as off-grid electrification for poor and unserved households."
The compact was amended in 2021 to extend its duration by one year and to add $16 million in additional resources to account for the consequences of COVID-19.