The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), managed by the African Development Bank, has approved a $760,000 grant to Empower New Energy AS (EmNEW) – a renewable impact investment company.

It is meant to develop at least eight small renewable energy projects with capacity ranging from 1-10 Megawatts (MW), towards bankability and construction.

The grant will support a broad range of project preparation and development activities, including technical feasibility studies, legal due diligence, environmental and social impact assessment, quality assurance and risk management.

Through its Empower Invest fund, EmNEW invests in small and medium-scale renewable energy projects in Africa, with a focus on solar power, hybrid and hydro technologies.

Welcoming the approval, Terje Osmundsen, EmNEW’s CEO, said, “we are very excited to be entering into a partnership with the African Development Bank and SEFA. There is a large number of strong small or medium scale projects across Africa that remain unrealised because they can’t access competitive financing. Our approach allows us to bridge this gap and working with SEFA, will help us to accelerate this process and support more high-quality projects. Together, we can bring impactful investment to Africa, while helping the continent to meet its electrification, carbon-reduction, and sustainable development targets.”

The Bank’s Acting Director for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Daniel Schroth, noted that the Bank’s support to EmNEW through SEFA is fully aligned with SEFA’s strategy to tackle challenges faced by smaller renewable energy projects in many African countries in accessing financing to cover their initial development costs.

Drawing on high-quality local partnerships in Africa, EmNEW invests in renewable energy projects through competitive equity to small and medium scale projects which helps to reduce the time and resources required to finance projects while delivering environmental and social impact.

“Accelerated deployment of distributed solar power and small hydropower is one of the fastest and most cost-efficient ways to bridge the energy access gap, fight climate change and promote sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Wale Shonibare, the Bank’s Acting Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.

EmNEW has regional offices in Kenya and Ghana, with projects expected to unlock up to $500 million in renewable energy investment, reduce CO2 emissions by 320,000 tons, create 20,000 new jobs, and eventually produce 585 GWh of clean electricity.

About SEFA

The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) is a multi-donor trust fund administered by the African Development Bank – anchored in a commitment of USD 95 million by the Governments of Denmark, the United States and Norway – to support small- and medium-scale Renewable Energy (RE) and Energy Efficiency (EE) projects in Africa.

In many African countries, smaller clean/renewable energy projects are potentially viable from a commercial perspective, but the initial development costs often prevent these projects from accessing necessary financing.

SEFA is founded on the premise that reliable, clean and affordable energy can contribute to strong African economies and can have a positive impact in creating employment opportunities across the continent.