Napocor’s SPUG cited in World Bank report
National Power Corp., through its Small Power Utilities Group (Napocor-SPUG), is the top entity globally in terms of developing and operating minigrids that help bring electricity to hard-to-serve areas, according to the World Bank.
The multilateral lender said in its report titled “Mini Grids for Half a Billion People: Market Outlook and Handbook for Decision Makers” Napocor-SPUG led with 950 minigrids—both installed and being developed—trailed by Russia’s RAO with 500 minigrids.
Also, Napocor-SPUG’s portfolio is almost 10 times that of the leading private-sector developer of minigrids—PowerGen, which has 100 such facilities across seven countries across Africa.
In terms of the number of people benefiting from an organization’s minigrids, Napocor-SPUG ranks second worldwide with 7 million people, or about 7 percent of the population. The global leader is Afghanistan with 8 million people, or 21 percent of the population benefiting from minigrids.
The World Bank said minigrids, which were previously viewed as a niche solution to closing the energy gap, could provide power to as many as 500 million people by 2030.
The bank said minigrids were now an option that complemented extensions to the main grid as well as disparate solar home systems thanks to falling costs, a dramatic increase in quality of service, and government policies that promote minigrids.
It added that while private sector–led minigrid initiatives in well-established markets have a better chance of reaching exponential growth, national utilities also see an expanding role for minigrids based on their organizational cost-benefit analysis.
“National utility companies in Kenya, Madagascar, the Philippines, Russia and many other countries are already important developers of minigrids,” the 64-page report said.
To bring electricity to some 490 million people worldwide by 2030—the United Nations’ target year for achieving “electricity for all”—the World Bank estimates that public utilities and private companies need to develop and operate more than 210,000 minigrids.
According to the World Bank, private sector players have an opportunity and potential to rack up a total of $3.3 billion in profits annually for minigrids deployed between 2019 and 2030.
In 2030 alone, there is a $4.7-billion net profit potential across all minigrid component and service suppliers.
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