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A US Aid Organization calls for expression of interest to build 3 solar mini-grids in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, July 31, 2020 (FBC) – A US based aid organization, Mercy Corps, has put out a call for expression of interest to design, build and operate solar mini-grids at three refugee camps in the Somali region of Ethiopia.

The solar mini-grids would be located at three refugee camps around Jijiga city in eastern Ethiopia.
As of February this year, the UN High Commissioner of Refugees estimates the registered population of the three camps to include 14,961 refugees in Kebribeya 12,120 refugees in Aw Barre; and 11,994 refugees in Sheder.

Mercy Corps Ethiopia, in partnerships with Shell under Shell’s Enter Energy Project, is exploring the feasibility of deploying clean and commercially sustainable energy services in displacement settings to contribute to UNHCR’s Clean Energy Challenge.

The strategic objective is to develop a replicable, market-based model to provide clean, sustainable, reliable and affordable energy services for refugee camps.

Mercy Corps, therefore, seeks to partner with an experienced private sector off-grid energy service company under a Design, Build and Operate model.

The implementation phase of the project in the Jijiga area of the Somali region of Ethiopia is contingent on the results of the binding proposal stage with the selected partner and funding availability.

The off-grid mini-grid developer will have to estimate the required energy demand and investigate land options, though Mercy Corp has also commissioned a technical study on electrical loads and cooking patterns in the refugee camps to provide a detailed understanding of energy demand patterns.

A study on the legal, regulatory and operational frameworks for the operation of off-grid energy services is also currently underway.

The proposed mini-grid installations is said to be designed for not only expansion but eventual inclusion in the Ethiopian national grid.

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