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US Receives $40M from Lesotho to Produce Electricity

A subdivision of the World Bank’s renewable energy and energy access projects, i.e., the International Development Association (IDA), has funded Lesotho’s government with the US $40m. IDA has aimed to facilitate the households of rural and peri-urban areas, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and grid-connected and off-grid economic centers with an adequate supply of electricity.

Renewable energy and energy access projects suggested establishing a grid extension in peri-urban areas. In contrast, the off-grid system will be installed in rural areas to achieve electrification in all targeted areas within a considered piece of land.

Highlights of The Renewable Energy And Energy Access Project

  • Medium and low-voltage lines within 11kV and 33kV will be installed to execute grid extension.
  • New substations will be constructed, and few existing ones will be renovated as well.
  • The newly generated electricity will facilitate farming areas, e.g., Butha-Buthe, industrial area, e.g., Mokhotlong and Berea, and highland area, e.g., Qacha’s Neck.

The government has decided to revitalize the Semonkong mini-grid, which is 113km from the capital Maseru. The Semonkong mini-grid is equipped with a small hydropower plant with a capacity of 180kW. The mini-grid is not sufficient to meet the population’s expected demand, as its turbine is non-functioning.

It is planned to establish a 1.5MWp solar photovoltaic off-grid to support the Semonkong hydroelectric powerpoint’s functioning capacity. A 500kWh storage system will support the solar power plant.

The rural areas of Lesotho will be equipped with 39 new solar-powered mini-grids. Lesotho’s lands are known for the abundance of their unspoiled and unexploited water resource; Lesotho captures about 50% of Southern Africa’s total catchment run-off. Instead of making use of hydropower contribution, Lesotho is still bound to import energy from neighboring countries.

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