Zambia partners with REEEP to improve rural electrification efforts
The Rural Electrification Authority of Zambia (REA) and REEEP signed a memorandum of understanding outlining a joint effort to leverage the Edison data platform, originally developed to collect and analyze data for the Power Africa Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia, to monitor and support Zambia’s broader electrification efforts with advanced data collection and analysis on behalf of the REA. This effort underscores the two organizations’ shared commitment to promoting and engendering access to modern, clean energy for rural and underserved Zambians.
REA created by an Act of Parliament in 2003, has a mandate to provide electricity infrastructure to all rural areas using appropriate technologies. The REA’s aim is to increase the electrification rate to 51% by 2030, and thereby enhance living standards and productivity, while improving quality of life for all Zambians. In the next few years, the REA is the focal point of a number of initiatives – including capital subsidy support, solar, mini-grid and hydro projects – that will enable new and existing energy service providers to reach thousands of new customers in rural and peri-urban areas.
The REEEP team has begun working with the REA to utilize the Edison data platform to monitor these initiatives, building on the success of the Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia (BGFZ), which has already helped energy service providers in the country provide energy services to over a million Zambians. REEEP created the Edison data platform for BGFZ, providing the Fund with real-time, accurate and precise data and information on energy services, giving the program as well as ordinary Zambians an unprecedented and transparent view into the Fund’s impact and results.
“We are excited to begin this partnership with REEEP and their Edison team, and to 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 that make it sustainable,” said Clement Silavwe, Chief Executive Officer of the REA.
The partnership with REEEP will begin by launching a pilot data collection effort for a new REA programme to turn existing solar-powered hummer-mills in rural areas into mini-grids, bringing power to local villages. The REA-REEEP pilot is being generously funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) as part of its ongoing support to the Edison initiative.
“In the field of renewable energies and energy efficiency, REEEP initiates and invests in projects for market development, captures and reacts to project experiences, and generates evidence-based intelligence toward further growing and replicating promising models,’’ said Magdalena Kouneva, Director General of REEEP. “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 REA in understanding and mapping out its long-term needs in data collection and monitoring, with a view to develop a broader plan for REA to leverage Edison to monitor its portfolio of electrification projects, including a planned handover of Edison operations and system infrastructure to the REA.