United Nations has called on
businesses, governments, and
civil society to achieve Sustainable
Energy for All by 2030
EAPN Newsletter — May 2015
ENERGY ACCESS PRACTITIONER NETWORK NEWSLETTER | MAY 2015
Richenda Van Leeuwen,
Executive Director, Energy Access
United Nations Foundation
This month saw our team in New York along with many members of the Practitioner Network for the second-annual Sustainable Energy for All Forum.
Forum sessions covered many aspects of energy access, highlighted the critical role of de-centralized energy solutions in reaching off-grid communities, and featured the work of members like India’s new CLEAN Network, Abze Solar, SELCO, WakaWaka Light, One Degree Solar, Mobisol, Azuri, Earthspark, We Care Solar and many more.
A personal highlight for me was standing on the podium of the UN General Assembly Hall on the last day of the forum, together with 12 members of the network drawn from all over the world, as they each announced their new commitments in support of achieving “Sustainable Energy for All.”
While many more could not join us in person, the member announcements highlighted the value of our combined work, and the millions of customers, communities, refugees, and people in need served through our member
organizations. As departing SE4ALL CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General Kandeh Yumkella puts it so well, announcements like these put “commitments into kilowatt hours” and show that energy has a human face.
One of the themes we heard over and over again during the Forum in New York was the essential role that energy access plays in medical and humanitarian crises, like those currently facing the people of Nepal. Efforts continue today to address the humanitarian crisis in Nepal following the two massive earthquakes last month. The economic damage caused by the earthquakes, alongside the tragic loss of life, is estimated to be as much as half of Nepal’s GDP.
We therefore dedicate this month’s newsletter to shining a light on the dedicated work of member organizations on the front lines delivering the energy solutions needed as part of the humanitarian response in Nepal.
Richenda Van Leeuwen
Executive Director, Energy Access, United Nations Foundation
The world is heading in the right direction to achieve universal access to sustainable energy by 2030 but must move faster, says the Global Tracking Framework 2015, which tracks the progress of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative.
The new report, “Progress Toward Sustainable Energy: Global Tracking Framework 2015,” finds that 1.1 billion people in the world still live without electricity and almost three billion still cook using solid fuels.
The report is the second in a series tracking the world’s progress toward SE4ALL’s three goals of universal energy access, doubled global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and a doubled share of renewable energy in the global energy mix – all by 2030. While the first edition, released in 2013, measured progress between 1990 and 2010, this edition examines progress achieved from 2010 to 2012.
In that two year period, the number of people without access to electricity declined from 1.2 billion to 1.1 billion, a rate of progress much faster than the 1990-2010 period. Gains were concentrated in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, mainly in urban areas. The global electrification rate increased from 83 percent in 2010 to 85 percent in 2012. Read the full report>>
Energy Efficient Appliances for Off-Grid settings: Results from Global LEAP’s survey
A recent survey was conducted by the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP) initiative to better understand the global demand for DC and AC appliances well-suited to a range of off-grid applications. Global LEAP is a Clean Energy Ministerial initiative led by the U.S. Department of Energy, where UN Foundation serves as the secretariat. The survey of 239 energy access enterprises, including many Practitioner Network members, identified significant demand among consumers for lighting, mobile phone charging, televisions, radios, refrigeration, fans, and solar water pumps.
For healthcare applications, refrigeration, sterilizers/autoclaves, patient monitors, and portable ultrasound machines were consistently ranked as the top four off-grid clinical appliances, both in terms of anticipated demand and potential impact.
IRENA: Half the world’s solar home systems are in Bangladesh
IRENA has released a new working paper, “Off-grid renewable energy systems: status and methodological issues,” which provides new insights into the status of renewable off-grid systems worldwide.
“Off-grid renewable energy systems are not only urgently needed to connect this vast number of people with a source of electricity, but are also most appropriate due to geographical constraints and costs for grid extension.”
Key findings of the report:
- Almost 26 million households — or an estimated 100 million people — are served through off-grid renewable energy systems.
- More than six million solar home systems are in operation worldwide, with three million in Bangladesh alone.
- 400 gigawatts (GW) of diesel capacity (>0.5 megawatts (MW)) are in operation, either in the form of industrial facilities and mines operating remotely, as back-up units where electricity supply is unreliable or as community mini-grids. 50 to 250 GW of the total installed diesel capacity could be hybridized with renewables, of which around 12 GW are located on islands.
Nepal Earthquake: Practitioner Network members’ Contributions to the Humanitarian Relief Operations
On April 25, Nepal was struck by its strongest earthquake in 80 years. The magnitude 7.8 earthquake was followed by several aftershocks and a second earthquake on April 12. A number of Practitioner Network members have been addressing the many serious energy issues faced around the country.
Access to energy is a crucial need in humanitarian crises like the Nepal earthquake. Lighting can improve safety and living conditions, and reliable electricity ensures that surgeons can perform emergency surgery after dark, health centers are able to store vaccines and blood, and children retain the ability to study in the evening. Fuel-efficient cookstoves and cleaner fuels can improve respiratory health, help protect women from the dangers faced when collecting firewood from unsafe locations, and enhance nutrition by ensuring families don’t have to exchange half their food ration for cooking fuel.
Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) is a multi-stakeholder initiative formed by UNHCR, working to address the energy needs of displaced and crisis-affected populations worldwide. The Energy Access Practitioner Network is a Steering Committee member of SAFE. The SAFE Global Interagency Working Group promotes safe and sustainable energy-related activities, interventions, and services for the world’s most vulnerable people in some of the world’s most fragile environments. SAFE is collating the efforts of its members and partners – including Practitioner Network members featured in this newsletter – around the Nepal earthquake relief efforts on a special webpage.
For further information on the work of individual Practitioner Network members, please see our Member Updates below.
Practitioner Network Members Respond to Nepal Earthquake
Gham Power is helping the relief efforts in Nepal by providing solar lights and charging kits for temporary shelters and tents. They have put together a live map showing all incoming requests for relief specific to power and electricity and illustrating where work is being done to coordinate solar companies and relief agencies and ensure that efforts are not duplicated, but rather focused on the areas that need it most.Gham Power, like others, is trying to buy and deploy all the product locally available for immediate use, as it is difficult to bring in small-scale energy products externally at this point in Nepal. Contact Sandeep Giri, Gham Power, email@example.com
Empower Generation is a social business that has been empowering women to distribute clean, affordable power and light in Nepal since 2011. Since the first earthquake, Empower Generation and partners have distributed over 9,000 solar lights with chargers. They are raising additional funds to distribute clean energy products and supplies, with support from funders and partners, including Kopernik, Mercy Corps, D.Light Design, and BBOXX. Access their campaign here. Empower Generation is focused on distributing quality products, and is leveraging its existing distribution network and close connections with local communities to provide safe, reliable light and mobile charging for immediate relief. here. Contact: Anya Cherneff, Empower Generation, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kopernik is working with Empower Generation on the emergency response for the Nepal earthquake, providing Tulip Table Top water filtration systems to affected populations. Kopernik’s mission is to improve poor people’s lives, reduce poverty, and empower women towards achieving energy access. Kopernik’s campaign, as well as further details on their solar light and water pump contributions to the relief efforts, can be accessed here. Contact Sally Bolton, Kopernik, email@example.com for more information.
SunFarmer offers affordable and risk-free solar energy systems for health, education, and water projects in Nepal, focusing on institutional and commercial sectors, with long-term monitoring and financing. SunFarmer supports earthquake relief efforts in Nepal through their Nepal Relief and Reconstruction Fund, which can be found here. All donations to the fund go directly towards installing electricity generation systems to provide power and lighting to health clinics, hospitals, and other critical infrastructure supporting relief and recovery efforts. SunFarmer is also buying products locally for the first response, and looking to bring in larger systems for the longer term. They are also focusing on water purification as clean water has emerged as a significant need, especially for medical relief efforts.
WakaWaka has launched a campaign website for the Nepal earthquake relief. After WakaWaka allocated 2,000 solar lights to emergency relief efforts in Nepal, their agents of light community across the globe rallied to bring that number to a total of 5,600 solar lights and chargers. WakaWaka solar-powered devices help emergency response workers continue their life-saving work when the sun goes down, and enable survivors to see to charge their phones and stay connected with family members.
TERI is helping with the emergency response with the Nepal earthquake relief, shipping solar lights and lanterns to Nepal. You can see their campaign here. All colleagues from TERI have donated a portion of their salary to help the efforts of Nepal Relief. For more information, contact Martand Shardul, TERI, Martand.Shardul@teri.res.in
OTHER MEMBER NEWS
Solar Sister, a network of women entrepreneurs bringing clean energy to rural Africa, was named an “exemplary approach to addressing critical challenges” at the first-ever Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), Middle East and Africa meeting. Their commitment, Sustainable Energy Solutions Powered by Women’s Enterprise, was introduced by Chelsea Clinton. In 2012, Solar Sister committed to build a network of women energy entrepreneurs who would bring the benefits of solar lighting, mobile phone charging and clean cook stove technologies to under-served and hard-to-reach rural communities. Today, Solar Sister is working to expand the existing network by recruiting, training, and supporting 3,000 women across Tanzania, Nigeria, and Kenya. Solar Sister’s featured Commitment at CGI follows a site visit to Karatu, Tanzania by former President Bill Clinton on April 30.
Zolair Energy’s “energy cabinet”
Zolair Energy’s upcoming product, PILA-Max, is a solar system “energy cabinet” backed up with a zinc battery that can run large appliances. Zolair Energy is initially targeting 5,000 homes. Zolair Energy’s proprietary system allows them to partner with any microfinance institution or bank in any given country.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which caused $19 billion in losses for the city of New York and left more than 2.2 million people without electricity, the RISE: NYC competition was created to deploy cutting-edge technology solutions to strengthen the city’s climate resilience. Urban Green Economy (UGE) is among 11 companies selected for this $30 million initiative funded by the US government, which will see UGE install micro-grid renewable energy systems in communities affected by Sandy. More information can be found here.
Kamworks partners with Cambodia’s leading mobile operator
Kamworks Cambodia has partnered with Cellcard,Cambodia’s leading mobile operator, to provide mobile-enabled solar energy to off-grid rural Cambodian communities. Following collaboration with the GSMA Mobile For Development initiative,the project aims to enhance the quality of life for people who lack access to affordable and reliable energy sources via innovative technology. It started last year in Kratie, and has expanded in the provinces of Kratie, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhnang, and Kandal. The aim is to serve over 10,000 rural households over the next 30 months. The partnership with Cellcard will help move the project’s reach further; allow remote monitoring, management and servicing of the solar systems; as well as provide data access through Cellcard’s extensive and reliable mobile network.
Azuri Technologies, in partnership with energy company Oasis African Resources, is bringing affordable, pay-as-you-go solar power to more off-grid homes in Ghana over the next two years. They will focus on cocoa farming regions, in association with agricultural cooperatives and women-based organizations. The large-scale roll-out builds on its pilot deployments in Ghana, which saw success over the last 18 months. The project is supported by the Ministry of Power, and aligns with the government’s current efforts to bring reliable, renewable power to Ghana at scale.
IRENA Project Navigator Launched
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has recently launched an online platform, Project Navigator, dedicated to project development in the area of renewable energy technologies. This platform will provide users with information, guidelines and tools for all stages from concept development to implementation of a project. Apart from project management tools, the website also offers a database on project funding opportunities, termed the Financial Navigator.
Clean Energy Solutions Center’s extensive webinar archives
Special Focus: Nepal Earthquake
FEATURED MEMBER – Empower Generation
“We are focusing on what we do best”
Interview with Anya Cherneff, Executive Director, Empower Generation, on relief efforts in Nepal.
Empower Generation has worked in Nepal since 2011. Over the past three years, they report having delivered clean, safe energy to more than 59,000 people. They have helped 10 women-led start-ups, developed a network of 100 solar sales agents, and sold over 12,000 solar powered lights and phone chargers in underserved communities across Nepal.
In the immediate aftermath of the April 25 earthquake, its team went into action along with the Nepalese army units and other early first responders, delivering urgent relief to affected districts. They have so far delivered 9,000 solar lanterns with chargers.
In an e-mail interview, Executive Director Anya Cherneff explained what Empower Generation has done in the aftermath of the earthquake on April 25:
What are you hearing from your team in Nepal on the extent of the damage from the earthquake and from your perspective what is specifically needed in terms of relief?
Feedback from our team indicates that the damage is extensive in Kathmandu but especially in the districts surrounding Kathmandu where very little aid reached in the first week after the quake. Immediate needs include food, water, shelter, sanitation, rubble removal and energy sources for light and mobile charging. People are walking 6 hours to get a mobile charged and others are in complete darkness with no access to kerosene or candles. As the rainy season approaches in a few weeks, shelter is a great need and concern.
Mobile communications are also essential for local relief effort coordination and for family members to check in with loved ones across the country. Mobile phone charging and lighting are also critical for coordinating aid and relief efforts.
People in the affected areas are desperate for help – for lights, tarps, food and water. It has been very difficult to distribute the relief supplies due to the high demand. Empower Generation sprang into immediate action in partnership with our local community in Chitwan district, where we have been working since 2011. We spent two days collecting a large amount of donated supplies and headed to three different affected districts – Gorkha, Nuwakot and Dhading, with members of the Chitwan community joining us to help with the distribution. When the group finally arrived in Dhading, which suffered severe damage, the local community decided that they didn’t need our help as much as the socially and economically marginalized people of a village four hours away.
What is Empower Generation doing to contribute to the relief efforts?
We are focusing on what we do best – providing high quality, clean and critical energy services. Energy access will be even more essential in order to rebuild after this tragedy, once the rescue and relief phase is over.
While food, water and shelter are critical to relief efforts, how important is access to energy for lighting (and cooking) in humanitarian relief efforts in Nepal, particularly given the inclement weather and the mountainous terrain?
We have seen first-hand that the most critical energy needs are portable, durable lighting solutions followed by mobile phone charging. Portable lighting has been critical in rapid assessment efforts undertaken by partners like Mercy Corps. Portable lights are also critical in distributing aid. For survivors who cannot return to their damaged houses, portable lighting helps check on livestock, household goods and any family essentials that have been left behind. Mobile charging is just as critical in a country where people rely almost entirely on cellphones for making calls. With the rainy season around the corner, temperatures have been dropping in the northern districts and heating is also an important need.
Larger scale solar installations are also needed for example to get power back on at water mills that are widely used in rural Nepal for agro-processing. Empower Generation donated 25 lights to a local, traditional water mill in Dhading so it can process grain through the night, as the electric mill is no longer working.
It is important to make sure that the solar products brought in meet the Lighting Global Quality Standards, so that they are able to withstand the approaching monsoon season, and to avoid flooding the country with poor quality solutions that will not be continued after the emergency phase. In many off-grid communities in Nepal solar lighting does not have a great reputation because of the general lack of follow up service, and a subsidy scheme that incentivizes poor quality lighting systems.
What is your appeal to relief agencies and the international community?
We are looking to partner with major international relief agencies to import and distribute critical energy services to the people of Nepal. To do this, we need funding for our team on the ground working tirelessly to deliver high-quality solar solutions.
It is important to coordinate with local agencies that have been working in the communities and reaching out to the surrounding communities, which have very good local organizing networks through libraries and savings and credit cooperative network.
C3E Award Nominations Open
The U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Awards honor mid-career leadership and achievement—and boost recipients’ careers. Awards are given in eight categories: Advocacy, Business, Education, Entrepreneurship, Government, International, Law & Finance, and Research. Each winner will receive $8,000 and national recognition. Submit nominations by June 1, 2015 at www.C3Eawards.org.
Lending opportunities via Agora Partnerships
Agora Partnerships has announced an exciting new lending venture with Kiva to provide entrepreneurs solving social and environmental challenges with access to the financing they need to grow their businesses. Their very first lending opportunity on the Kiva platform is Aflore, a 2014 Agora Accelerator Alumni. Through Kiva, Agora Partnerships will be able to directly provide loans to companies it supports through the accelerator program. Agora entrepreneurs raising money on the KIVA platform will only receive the loan when the full amount has been funded. Agora Partnerships provide entrepreneurs who are intentionally building businesses that solve social and environmental challenges in Latin America with the resources they need to grow.
The EU has unveiled plans to partner up with a Paris-based private equity firm to invest in energy companies across Sub-Saharan Africa. The EU-backed Electricity Access Fund, which will be directed by Astor Capital Partners, a Paris-based private equity firm, plans to invest up to €55m in around 20 businesses over five years, with investments ranging between €500,000 to €3 million.
The Electricity Access Ventures Fund, directed by a private equity firm, will invest in 20 small- and medium-sized companies that provide energy-related products and services.
The Zayed Future Energy Prize represents the vision of the Late Founding Father and President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, who championed environmental stewardship. This annual award celebrates achievements that reflect impact, innovation, long-term vision and leadership in renewable energy and sustainability. The prize was increased in 2012 totaling US$4 million, making it the world’s largest annual prize purse in renewable energy and sustainability. Applications are due by June 22, 2015.
ENERGY ACCESS EVENTS
Sixth Clean Energy Ministerial
May 27-28, Yucatan, Mexico
The sixth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM6) will be hosted by the government of Mexico from May 27-28, 2015, convening energy ministers and other high-level delegates from 23 participating Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) governments.
Ashden International Conference 2015
The Business of Energy: Enterprising solutions to the energy access challenge
Tuesday June 9, 10am – 4.30pm, Kings Place, London
Across the developing world, enterprising businesses and social enterprises are bringing clean energy to millions. But are there limits to their ability to meet the poor’s energy needs? Hear about the work of some of Ashden’s most exciting international finalists and join the debate. Find out more and book here.
Vienna Energy Forum
June 18-20, Vienna, Austria
Third International Conference on Financing for Development
July 13-16, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
HydroTech Africa hosted by: Green World Conferences
August 4-5, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
United Nations Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda
September 25-27, New York, United States
The South Africa International Energy Conference (SAIREC)
October 4-7, Cape Town, South Africa.
5th Nigeria Alternative Energy Expo
October 14 – 16, Abuja, Nigeria
4th International Off-Grid Lighting Conference and Exhibition
October 26-29, Dubai
The 4th International Off-Grid Lighting Conference and Exhibition is the premier event for the rapidly growing off-grid solar lighting and services industry. This year it will be co-organized by the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) and the World Bank Group, in Dubai, UAE.
UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) 21
30 November – 11 December 2015, Le Bourget, Paris, France.
MONTHLY NEWS CLIPS
How Solar Is Playing a Role in Nepal’s Disaster Relief
As nonprofits rush to help in the wake of Nepal’s earthquake, experts discuss the work needed to make clean energy a bigger part of disaster response and preparedness.
Musk Says Tesla Energy Will Help World’s Poor Leapfrog the Grid
Elon Musk said the new suite of batteries being offered by Tesla Motors Inc. can revolutionize electricity for the world’s poorest citizens the way mobile technology disrupted the telecommunications industry.
Why Emerging Markets Are Energy Innovation Labs of the Future, Jigar Shah
In places around the world where the grid hasn’t been extended, they’re still figuring out ways to power phones, lights, and other gadgets requiring an electric charge. We can learn a thing or two.
Why Energy Philanthropy Is High-Impact Philanthropy
Energy is central to many causes that funders care about, but it is one of the most underappreciated issues in 21st-century philanthropy.
Africa’s Mobile-Sun Revolution
The transformative potential for mobile communications is upon us in every aspect of life. In the developing world where infrastructure of all types is at a premium, few question the potential for mobile, but many wonder whether it should be a priority.
In Bangladesh the solar home system market has grown at an astounding 60% compound
Access to finance is the largest near term barrier to ending energy poverty for hundreds of millions around the world – and foundation capital may be critical to overcoming it.
NEW TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Global Renewable Energy Knowledge Hub Resource
IRENA released a new database that gives users easy access to country-specific data, customizable charts and graphs, along with the ability to compare clean energy use and deployment across countries.
The Energy Toolkit, WorldWatch Institute
The Energy Toolkit is a collection of leading instruments and methodologies for low-emission, climate-resilient development planning in the energy sector. It offers energy practitioners, policymakers, and experts a quick reference guide for well-established low-emissions development strategies planning tools that are available at no or low cost.
First Survey on Electrical Counterfeiting in Africa, Schneider Electric
The purpose of this survey was to identify the most counterfeited electrical products and brands in Africa, as well as, their main roads of entry and distribution. The consequences for people’s safety and health, the African economies, were also investigated.
NEW ENERGY ACCESS REPORTS
The India Off-grid Electricity Market: Policy framework, players and business opportunities, ARE
The report gives readers a brief overview of the potential of decentralized renewable energy generation in India with a view to stimulate private sector involvement in this sector.
PV Systems for Rural Health Facilities in Developing Areas, International Energy Agency
This report outlines a technical overview of deployment of PV systems for rural health facilities in developing areas. The report discusses the experiences of international development organizations, lessons learned from fields and outline main conducive factors of PV supply to enhance PV system sustainability for rural health facilities.
Bringing Variable Renewable Energy Up to Scale, ESMAP
This report looks at the nature of Variable Renewable Energy (VRE) and the resulting challenges associated with the integration of VRE technologies into a power system. It provides an overview of the measures available to limit and manage these challenges.
Solutions Center Releases Report on Next Generation of Renewable Electricity Policy
A report just published by the Clean Energy Solutions Center evaluates the transformations and impacts of a new generation of renewable electricity policies.
A First Step up the Energy Ladder? Low Cost Solar Kits and Household’s Welfare in Rural Rwanda
This publication examines the uptake and impacts of a simple Pico-Photovoltaic kit on the Rwandan households.
Impacts of Solar Lanterns in Geographically Challenged Locations: Experimental Evidence from Bangladesh
Published by the Institute of Developing Economies, the paper argues that portable and affordable solar lanterns might be a useful tool to combat energy poverty in the geographically challenged areas, but in order to bring substantial benefits, better technological enhancement for longer and brighter lights is needed.
Tunisia: De-risking Renewable Energy Investment
UNDP (United Nations Development Programmes) in partnership with Tunisia’s National Agency for Energy Conservation (ANME) has published a new report called, Tunisia: De-risking Renewable Energy Investment. This report presents the results of an innovative modelling analysis on the cost effectiveness of public interventions to promote private sector investment in renewable energy.
Energy Efficiency Project Resource Center, ESMAP
ESMAP in cooperation with the knowledge sharing platform Energypedia has launched an Energy Efficiency Project Resource Center (EEPRC), which offers a repository of documents and templates related to energy efficiency project development (such as sample terms of reference, surveys and questionnaires, examples of economic and financial analysis, and case studies).
NEW PRACTITIONER NETWORK MEMBERS
Welcome to the following organizations that have joined the Practitioner Network in the past month:
Business Connect / United States
CEED / India
Centre for Environmental Governance / Ghana
Clean Tech Solutions / India
Danish Energy Management A/S / Denmark
Energy4everyone Foundation / Canada
Evonet Energy / United Kingdom
Motivo Engineering / United States
Naturetech Infra / India