Renewable energy mini-grids: an alternative approach to energy access in southern Africa

This briefing note examines the potential for mini-grids to complement grid-based electrification in southern Africa, and the conditions needed to support their successful development. Southern Africa faces a number of severe energy pressures. Power production falls far short of demand, grid development has been slow, and the electricity sector depends heavily on fossil fuels and hydropower, which makes it vulnerable to oil price volatility and the effects of climate change. There is an urgent need to diversify the generation mix by tapping into the region’s vast renewable energy potential.