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European Union assists BEL in funding $11 million Mini-grid Electricity project for five remote villages

Posted: Thursday, February 24, 2022. 8:28 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias:

The European Union (EU) signed an agreement today with Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) for a Rural Electrification Project which will electrify five remote villages in Belize.

The European Union is providing a grant of 4.5 million Euros and BEL is contributing 0.5 million Euros. The five million euros are equivalent to BZ$ 11 million to fund a Rural Electrification Project for five remote villages in Belize.

“Over the next three years, BEL, as the implementing partner, will construct the mini-grids in villages that are currently not served with electricity,” said a joint press release.

“The project will provide more than 550 households, businesses and public services with access to safe, reliable and sustainable energy services.”

EU Ambassador Marianne Van Steen and BEL CEO John Mencias signed the agreement on Thursday.

“Access to electricity is an opportunity for isolated communities to develop agricultural transformation activities and generate additional income sources,” said Ambassador Van Steen.

“For households, access to electricity will improve the quality of family life by providing lighting, alternative cooking, access to information and communication. Particularly to women, access to energy means a direct effect on their living conditions and an opportunity for their economic and political empowerment.”

The release said the initiative is an integral part of the national framework that seeks to provide electricity for villages in Belize that do not have electricity. The project is also in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 “Affordable and Clean Energy for All”.

According to the agreement, BEL will install, operate, and maintain the mini-grids which will supply electricity “that is generated and stored using hybrid solar, diesel and battery technologies. Customers will be served via standard BEL metered networks.”

The press release said that BEL, Government of Belize representatives and other stakeholders prepared for the project by visiting and consulting residents and leaders in remote and developing communities throughout Belize. The project will be based on the mini-grid technology pilot project in La Gracia village and the mini-grid projects that are being constructed in Indian Creek and Corazon Creek.

 

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