UNIDO and partners publish a new Mini-Grid Policy Development Guide

UNIDO and partners publish a new Mini-Grid Policy Development Guide

VIENNA, 17 March 2021 – A mini-grid is a set of small-scale electricity generators interconnected to a distribution network that supplies electricity to a small, localized group of customers and operates independently from the national transmission grid. Mini-grids are a critical tool for achieving universal electricity access.

The new Clean Energy Mini-Grid Policy Development Guide aims to help policymakers navigate the renewable mini-grid market, providing them with tools and recommendations on how to approach policies and regulations in this space. The guide outlines the various forms and models that public-private cooperation could take and reflects on the outcomes of policy decisions on mini-grid deployment.

Based on key lessons learnt from existing mini-grid policies and regulations, the publication also presents a decision tree designed for policymakers to guide them through the decision-making process.

The Clean Energy Mini-Grid Policy Development Guide is published by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), along with partners, the Alliance for Rural Electrification; the African Development Bank; the Green MiniGrid Help Desk; the Africa Minigrid Developers Association and INENSUS. It has been launched at the 6th ARE Energy Access Investment Forum taking place from 17-19 March, 2021.

The guide draws five main conclusions:

  1. Sustainable mini-grid business models require scale.
  2. The way in which mini-grids are deployed, including the degree of private sector involvement, depends on decisions taken by governments.
  3. Close government control over mini-grid deployment, minimum financial subsidies and low end consumer tariffs cannot all be achieved at the same time.
  4. The development of electricity demand in rural areas is difficult to predict, making it important to introduce demand risk mitigation instruments in the policy framework.
  5. The risk of a sudden end to the project, i.e. the termination risk, should be considered by policymakers and regulators.

To access the guide, please go to:

English version

French version

Please go to the Green Mini-Grid Help Desk for policy and contract templates.

For more information, contact:

Rana Ghoneim, Chief, Energy Systems and Infrastructure Division, UNIDO.