USTDA supports clean energy access and utility digitalization in Benin
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) announced grant funding for technical assistance to help Beninese company Sherlock Grids SAS expand and improve clean energy access to rural communities across the country.
“This project embodies USTDA’s commitment to deploy innovative solutions that connect more of Africa’s citizens to clean, reliable power,” said Enoh T. Ebong, USTDA’s Acting Director. “By leveraging U.S. technologies, USTDA’s engagement will help mitigate the climate crisis while supporting Benin’s goal of universal electrification through solar power.”
Sherlock Grids will work with Washington, DC-based technology provider SparkMeter to analyze the feasibility of bringing solar-powered minigrids online for tens of thousands of Beninese. The project will also demonstrate the benefits of implementing a digitalized system to fully integrate and remotely manage multiple minigrids. The system will consist of smart meters, digital models of the minigrids and their distribution networks, and software for real-time outage management, asset management, and planning.
“Grid edge technologies are a powerful but underutilized tool in emerging markets. By developing a grid analytics platform for Sherlock Grids, the utility can provide its end users with reliable power and ensure financial sustainability for the project,” said Dan Schnitzer, CEO of SparkMeter. “We’re confident that USTDA’s forward-thinking investment in utility digitalization in Benin and throughout the region is a prelude to larger-scale investment within the minigrid sector.”
Tristan Kochoyan, CEO of Sherlock Grids said, “As a social enterprise, what motivates us is the impact electricity can have on rural communities. This is also very much aligned with our minigrid operator business: the more useful and transformative our services are, the more electricity people will consume. Both technological and business model innovations are key to trigger this kind of virtuous circle of economic and social development. We strongly believe that what USTDA is helping us achieve in Benin can contribute to solving the electricity access crisis for millions more.”
This project supports the U.S. government’s Power Africa and Prosper Africa initiatives.