UK government-backed investor in Africa’s electricity networks,Gridworks, announced that it will invest up to $50 million in Virunga Power. Virunga Power develops, invests, and operates hydro-backed distributed renewable power generation projects and grid distribution networks in East and Southern Africa, including Burundi, Malawi, Zambia, and Kenya.
Virunga Power’s CEO, Brian Kelly, said that the company was thrilled to announce the investment from Gridworks. He further said that an investment of that magnitude validates the approach Virunga takes to bring clean and affordable power at scale to rural areas.
Virunga Power works with local developers and rural communities to drive sustainable economic growth and electrification for those not effectively served by national utilities. The company uses run-of-river hydropower technology and focuses on projects of up to 20 MW as well as associated transmission and distribution networks to provide affordable access to energy in rural areas, and to reinforce national grid stability.
Rural electrification is a key part of Gridworks’ mandate and an area that is gaining greater attention from governments, funders, and policy makers as the push to achieve connection targets under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals intensifies
The impact of this investment will be measured in a number of ways, including new GW hours generated, new connections made, and CO2 emissions avoided.
Virunga Power works with its newly connected communities to generate new income by using electricity to stimulate industrial and commercial activity. The company works with local financing and community development partners to help foster ecosystems that can drive productive uses of energy at the household, village, and industrial levels.
Welcoming the announcement of the investment, Gridworks’ CEO, Simon Hodson, said that access to reliable, clean, affordable energy is a catalyst to a better life for those living in rural areas.
“We’re committed to making Virunga Power our platform to build hydro-powered rural utilities in at least four countries in Southern and Eastern Africa. Our capital will help them to close the energy access gap and unlock opportunities for people across the region,” Hodson said.