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World Bank Outlines How Mini-Grids and Small Producers can Energize Africa

World Bank4 February 2014: The World Bank has published a book offering comprehensive practical guidance to governments on implementing dual-track on- and off-grid energy strategies to improve energy access and end energy poverty.

The book, titled 'From the bottom up: how small power producers and mini-grids can deliver electrification and renewable energy in Africa,' authored by Bernard Tenenbaum, Chris Greacen, Tilak Siyambalapitiya, and James Knuckles, was written in response to the creation of many energy strategies by African Governments that lack detail on their planning for the off-grid, decentralized components of their strategies. Decentralized energy systems are both new and largely unfamiliar to energy ministries around the world but are seen as critical to efforts to rapidly increase provision of modern energy services to the energy poor, especially in rural areas, where only 14% of which are currently serviced in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In particular, the book offers guidance on regulatory and policy issues relevant to improving access, with chapters focused on: examples of small power producers (SPPs), small power distributors, and electrification; the regulation of SPPs and mini-grids; regulatory processes and approvals; the regulatory treatment of subsidies, carbon credits, and advance payments; regulatory decisions for grid-connected SPPs; grid-connected SPPs; and when the big grid connects to a little grid. [Publication: From the Bottom Up: How Small Power Producers and Mini-Grids Can Deliver Electrification and Renewable Energy in Africa]