The first Micro-Grid Academy (MGA) course started on 15th January 2018 in Nairobi has so far trained 40 local and international students. Beginning with a pilot trial, the MGA aims to fully launch a series of capacity building activities on decentralized renewable energy solutions to foster energy access in East-Africa, contributing to progress on UN SDG7. The MGA is coordinated by Kenyan Power (IESR) and RES4Africa in partnership with Enel Foundation, Strathmore University, AVSI and St. Kizito Vocational Training Institute.  The centre is endorsed for collaboration by the East African Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EACREEE). The MGA will provide theoretical and practical training on energy access and decentralized renewable energy solutions to young East-African and international technicians and engineers. A real 30 kW mini-grid will be installed on-site in the next months to enhance the training possibilities. The first MGA pilot course (January 15th -25th 2018) gathered 40 students from Europe and East-Africa.  The course included lectures from KPLC, Strathmore University, UN Habitat, St. Kizito VTI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University of New York, State University of New York, Sapienza University of Rome, Sigora and GIZ. The participants visited a sustainable rural solar electrification project at Kitonyoni, Kenya, Geothermal power plant – Kengen, and a solar installation at the UN Headquarters among others.
image9Access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy will positively impact all sectors of the economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, from health and education to female empowerment and business development, including job creation. Investing in distributed electricity generation can deliver efficient, clean, reliable and cheap energy to rural communities, given the region’s low electrification rate, its vast size and its abundance in renewable energy resources. Fostering rural electrification and energy access through decentralized renewable energy applications also requires extensive capacity building to support local ownership for sustainable projects in the long run.

Capacity building is one of the key enablers of economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa, and with this purpose the Micro-Grid Academy aims to foster knowledge transfer at the highest level, providing lectures and on-site training while bringing together local and international experts and students for a true knowledge exchange as it was noted by Andrea image13Micangeli, Renewable Energy Systems Professor at Sapienza University of Rome, during the MGA presentation at the RES4Africa RESEXPO conference in Nairobi on 23rd – 24th January 2018. An inaugural site visit and certification ceremony took place at MGA premises in Nairobi on 22nd January 2018 to formally introduce the project and its future course cycles. The aim is to organise a variety of theoretical and hands-on courses in the next 3 years gathering 300-500 African and international students and teachers in a holistic micro-grid training programme.
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