The ACCIONA Microenergia foundation has participated in two electrification projects, led by Manos Unidas, in the Benin villages of Kokabo and Kosia. These are an initiative of the Spanish Catholic Mission of Fô-Bouré, an institution that works in the area since 1986 and that, in the last years, has prioritized projects for access to electricity, which is basic to develop other infrastructures in those isolated rural communities, such as health, education and communication facilities.
Thus, two photovoltaic generation plants with backup diesel generator and battery storage were put into operation, as well as Management Committees, which are formed by users, were created to be responsible of their maintenance. The aim is to supply electricity for the school, health centre, maternity ward, drinking water collection & distribution system and 120 households of each village. The generated electricity feeds both villages’ local grid, 24h per day in an affordable way.
In the opening of the facilities, authorities and different organizations and community representatives were present: President of Benin, Honorary Consul of Spain in Benin, Manos Unidas, Mensajeros de la Paz and the European Union representatives, local authorities and wise and prominent villagers, as well as the local population. This type of off-grid rural electrification projects, with renewable, is a new experience in Benin, so they generated much interest.
The projects have been developed with the participation of several institutions such as Manos Unidas, managing and funding together with some Spanish regional and local governments: Principality of Asturias and the Councils of Soria, Lerida and Betxi (Castellon). To develop the technology, the company Research and Development of New Options (so called IDNA) was contracted to design, manufacture and technical assist the mounting of the diesel-photovoltaic hybrid system. The NGO Mensajeros de la Paz was in charge of the equipment transportation and building workforce in Benin.
The ACCIONA Microenergia Foundation’s contribution was to donate photovoltaic panels for those facilities, 135 units of power 150-190 Wp that, in turn, had been donated by ACCIONA Energia to the foundation.
This collaboration is a great example of what can be achieved by joining forces of organizations from different sectors. They add the technical, managerial, economic and institutional resources that are necessary to develop initiatives that have the aim of favouring the development of very backward communities, by means of their access to basic services. This is considered in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030, specifically in the SDG17, Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.
The ACCIONA Microenergia foundation’s activity contributes to the achievement of those goals, SDG17 among others but, especially, the SDG7, Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, by developing its rural electrification programmes in Peru and Mexico.