DRC: Bumba, Isiro and Gemena to Finally Get Electricity

Essor is an ambitious program to build greenfield hybrid solar power generation and distribution projects in the three cities, each with a population of between 130,000 and 180,000.  The three cities currently have no grid connection, and struggle to access reliable, affordable and clean power.

Total capital requirements for the three sites will be around US$100 million which will be funded with a mixture of investment from the consortium led by Gridworks, debt provided by lenders including development finance institutions and capital grants from donors.

This is an important initiative from the Government of DRC in partnership with the UK Government.  It provides a replicable model with the scale and regulatory underpinning necessary to attract commercial investment in green field utilities in Africa. Projects like Essor operate using isolated local power grids which distribute power to homes and businesses from renewable sources such as solar and wind. They operate independently of the national grid.

Simon Hodson, Gridworks’ CEO, welcomed the announcement that Gridworks had been awarded preferred bidder status at a ceremony in Kinshasa this week attended by UK Minister for Africa, James Duddridge MP and the Congolese Minister for Water and Energy Eustache Muhanzi.

“This Project will provide more reliable and affordable electricity in DRC, leading to economic growth and job creation, quality of life improvements and a cut in carbon emissions through the displacement of diesel generation. It will also bring power to hundreds of thousands of people who do not currently have an electricity connection,” said Hodson.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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