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AFRELEC: Statkraft provides $2.7bn to curb energy poverty in Africa

Norway’s Statkraft is to donate $2.7mn in cash and equipment to international development charity SolarAid over the next three years in a bid to tackle energy poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

The cash will be used to help ensure universal access to power across Africa to 2030, which is one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs). The money will be focused on providing solar lighting in homes and schools.

Around 548mn people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to power, and this could rise to 630mn people because of the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Statkraft said.

The donation made to SolarAid follows Statkraft acquiring Solarcentury, a renewable energy company and founder of SolarAid.

Investing in solar power will mean that households will no longer have to rely on expensive, dangerous and toxic lighting sources such as candles and kerosene.

Healthcare facilities will be able to benefit from the donation, with healthcare workers being able to conduct life-threatening procedures under light and store vaccines such as those for COVID-19 in solar-powered fridges for safe administering.

Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, CEO of Statkraft, said: “Solar power is a simple and cost-effective solution for those who have no choice but to rely on expensive and toxic kerosene or dangerous candles. We are delighted to be working with a charity with such a critical mission. This partnership was sparked with the acquisition of Solarcentury in 2020, and we are happy to work with SolarAid to help ensure access to modern energy for all.”

John Keane, CEO of SolarAid, adds: “We’re delighted that our long and successful partnership will continue now that Solarcentury has merged into Statkraft. While grid electrification is not going to reach most of rural sub-Saharan Africa in our lifetimes, the solar light revolution is taking place right now, helping light up millions of homes which would otherwise be kept in the dark. Together we can end the darkness.”