EAIF 2023: Engie bets on carbon credits for electricity access

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Financing access to electricity through carbon credits

On the sidelines of the Energy Access Investment Forum (EAIF) in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Engie Energy Access, Engie Global Energy Management & Sales (GEMS) and CarbonClear are partnering to finance access to renewable energy in Africa through the voluntary carbon market.

Carbon credits could support the electrification of Africa. This is the aim of the partnership signed on Tuesday 21 March 2023 between Engie Energy Access, the subsidiary of the Engie group that provides decentralized electricity access solutions in Africa, Engie Global Energy Management & Sales (GEMS), its energy management and sales division, and CarbonClear, a sustainable development consultancy and subsidiary of the EcoAct group.

The aim of the agreement is to tap into the potential of the voluntary carbon market (VCM), estimated at $2 billion worldwide, to finance electrification in Africa. As part of the partnership, CarbonClear will use its “innovative and fully digital” model to certify the carbon offsets generated by the solar kits distributed by Engie Energy Access to rural and off-grid communities in sub-Saharan Africa.

The potential of the voluntary carbon market

GEMS will then sell these credits to organizations wishing to offset their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while helping to finance projects with high social and environmental impact. This alternative is already being used to finance access to clean cooking, which is considered the “poor relation” of energy access financing in Africa. The voluntary carbon market is used by actors such as the French carbon credit trader for Africa, Aera, and Ecosphere+, a provider of nature-based offset solutions.

Read also- NIGERIA: CBEA finances $60 million for the deployment of Engie’s solar mini-grids

“The achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), namely universal access to energy by 2030, is largely lagging behind. Through this agreement, we aim to contribute, as an industry leader, to catching up by fully exploiting the potential of the voluntary carbon market,” says Gillian-Alexandre Huart, CEO of Engie Energy Access.

According to Huart, the partnership will allow for the certification of approximately 500,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent in carbon credits. With conventional financing, Engie wants to electrify 25 million people in sub-Saharan Africa by 2025. The company is active in rural areas mainly in Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Benin and very recently in Nigeria. Through its subsidiaries Fenix International, Mobisol and Engie PowerCorner, Engie distributes solar kits, installs solar photovoltaic mini grids and containerized solar systems that facilitate the electrification of remote and hard-to-reach areas.

Jean Marie Takouleu

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