United Nations has called on
businesses, governments, and
civil society to achieve Sustainable
Energy for All by 2030
New Energy Access Reports – October 2016
This report provides a comprehensive overview of the status of renewable energy and energy efficiency markets, industry, policy and regulatory frameworks, and investment activities in the region. It draws on information from national and regional sources to present the most up-to-date data on renewable energy and energy efficiency. It contributes to understanding the region’s emerging renewable energy industry, market development and is critical to realizing the region’s potential and scaling up investment opportunities.
The report seeks to help raise awareness about the extraordinary potential of the African continent to become a leader in renewable energy development and deployment. It will also be useful for the newly established EAC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EACREEE), serving as a baseline for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the region.
Poor People’s Energy Outlook (PPEO) 2016, Practical Action
Most national energy planning and donor support for energy in developing countries suffers from a fundamental “know your customer” deficit. Poor people continue to be left behind by approaches to planning and financing that put incredible emphasis on technologies and methods that are not working, but nonetheless dominate donor, national government and development bank portfolios. Practical Action’s new flagship report however, shows that by flipping perspectives and putting poor people and poor communities at the centre of energy planning – we can deliver more reliable, faster and cheaper access to energy services than ever before.
The PPEO 2016 is the fifth in the PPEO series and first in a new suite of three, building on the Total Energy Access Framework that Practical Action developed in previous editions. The series shines a light on energy access from the perspectives of the poor, and this edition draws on fresh insights from energy-poor communities in Bangladesh, Kenya and Togo, challenging the status quo by exploring an alternative approach to energy access planning.
The key recommendations show how national energy access plans should be re-balanced to reflect the priorities of those currently beyond the grid, to set us on the path to achieve universal access by 2030, by:
- Embracing decentralized technologies, which are smaller, faster, and require different financing models to the traditional grid. The report’s findings showed these to be cost-competitive or cheaper than grid extension.
- Prioritizing cooking as on par with electricity access, understanding its essential role in achieving broader development aims. The report’s findings revealed enthusiasm for clean fuel solutions.
- Recognizing the differentiated energy access requirements of women and men, and mainstreaming women’s priorities in energy access plans at the national level; and
- Measuring energy access using a multi-tier framework and in terms of longer-term development goals, rather than simply by counting numbers of connections and megawatts generated. Practical Action’s research used the multi-tier framework to establish a far clearer picture of energy access and the remaining gaps.
IRENA’s latest release finds renewable mini-grids as a viable alternative to fossil fuel based mini-grids in the coming decades. Largely thanks to the innovation in technology, business models and finance, the report estimates a 60% decrease in the cost of producing electricity from renewable mini-grids. This will also support the electrification of rural and or off-grid areas. Improvements in generation technology, as PV modules and wind turbines, are impressive, but the report finds that high impact innovations for mini-grids will come from enabling technologies: communications, control, and energy storage technologies. Ground-breaking improvements are underway for renewable mini-grids. Find out more in the new report from IRENA.
Global Off-Grid Solar Semi-Annual Market Report January-June 2016, Lighting Global and GOGLA
This report includes performance data from 50 solar companies and covers the period from January to June 2016. This effort builds on a previous report and is the second in a series of six-month market updates that supplement the broader biennial 2016 Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report released earlier this year. Together these reports track the groundbreaking technological advances and innovative business models that have emerged to transform the lives of millions through affordable modern solar energy services.
This latest report looks beyond the numbers and into a range of market drivers to give a more complete picture of the findings. Together, this series provides industry members, investors and other stakeholders with a definitive snapshot of progress across the dynamic global solar off-grid market and a comprehensive overview of the sector. Click here to learn more about the latest key market insights and social impact results.
How can pay-as-you-go solar be financed?, Bloomberg New Energy Finance
Pay-as-you-go solar companies are the start-up community’s proposed answer to the challenge of 1.2 billion people living outside the reach of the electricity grid. To scale, they need debt capital. This white paper investigates some operators that are creating structured finance products to cut costs and address more potential investors. To download the full report in PDF, click here.
Access to electricity is vital for socio-economic development. But power cannot be extended to everyone solely through national electricity grids. Off-grid renewable energy solutions are crucial to achieve universal access to electricity. Most of these will involve mini-grids – isolated, community-level power grids, which can eventually be absorbed into the main grid or may continue to operate autonomously.
To attract private investment in renewable mini-grids, policymakers need to select the right policies and create an effective regulatory framework. This report examines the key factors influencing investors in mini-grid projects, including licensing, tariff regulation, access to finance and specific project risks related to the eventual arrival of the main grid. Different combinations of policies work with different power-generation technologies. The report also examines the specificities of mini-grids connected to solar, biomass, wind and small hydropower, or some combination of these with other energy sources. Appropriate policies will not only speed up electrification but also improve the quality of service and enhance the effectiveness of well-targeted public spending.
Off-grid Lighting and Phone Charging Study: A Snapshot of Household Technologies, Habits and Expenditure in Malawi, Business Innovation Facility
The Business Innovation Facility conducted a survey of 500 off-grid households in Malawi to look into their habits and household expenditures. According to the survey results, households in Malawi spent USD 50 million each year on bad quality as well as harmful lighting, and only 13% of the surveyed households owned solar products. However, the households with solar products recorded a high level of satisfaction with the technology, as compared to all alternatives. Similarly, a high proportion of people were aware of using solar lighting (92%) and were also interested in purchasing solar products (78%).
Powering Education, Centre for Economic Performance
This report focuses on the important link between access to light and education. To analyze this linkage, solar lamps were randomly distributed to 7th grade pupils in rural Kenya, and their educational outcomes were monitored throughout the year at quarterly frequency.
The study found that access to light through solar lamps is a relevant and effective input to education. Distributing the solar lamps led to a positive and significant effect, as well as a positive and significant spillover effect on control students. Research found that increasing the share of students with lighting in a class by 10% increases grades of control students by 0.22 standard deviations. This spillover effect is most likely due to within-school interaction, such as co-studying at school, especially after sunset.
This project arose from the desire of UNESCO to promote education through solar electrification of off-grid schools. EnviroEarth was responsible for the overall project management, including:
- Design of solar farms in accordance with IEC standards (International Electronic Commission),
- Implementation of a solar electrification strategy, choice of the schools based on GSM coverage,
- Classrooms lighting and installation of electrical outlets,
- Design of technical drawings, procurement and logistics, supplier management, technical support and installation of photovoltaic panels on each site,
- Establishment of partnerships with local companies,
- Supply, installation and commissioning of computer equipment connected to the Internet,
- End-users training (teachers and students) on the use and maintenance of supplied equipment (solar panels and computers),
- Remote support for equipment maintenance.
In total, 15 schools were electrified, 7.2 kWp of power were installed, and over 2,500 pupils and adults are benefiting from these installations, 400 of whom were trained. Download the case studies here.
Switching On Finance for Off-Grid Energy, The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship & the Worldwide Fund for Nature South Africa
This study explores the issues and opportunities related to the financing of off-grid energy provision in Africa, primarily focusing on the provision of small home systems for individual households or through village micro-grids. The draft report was shared with more than 100 industry experts in Nairobi, Kampala, Pretoria and Cape Town at roundtable discussions during February and March 2016. A second draft report was reviewed by these industry experts and culminated in this final report.
This report outlines how tumbling solar costs are making PV one of the cheapest means for powering many parts of Africa. The report finds that solar home systems now meet the annual electricity needs for off-grid households in Africa for just $56 per year – which is already below the cost of traditional off-grid power sources such as diesel and kerosene, and prices are continuing to fall.
Off-grid solar applications, in the form of solar home kits and mini-grids, have thus far been the most accessible, affordable and scalable route to adoption. IRENA calculates that standalone solar PV mini-grids have installed costs as low as $1.90 per watt for systems larger than 200 kW, and as costs continue to come down – driven by greater investment in off-grid programs and the global fall in module and component costs – Africa could be a 70 GW market by 2030.
Electricity generation from wind and solar is constrained by the varying availability of wind and sunshine, making it difficult to establish a necessary balance between electricity supply and consumption at all times. To address the variable nature of the renewables, this report suggests technologies such as renewable energy forecasting, enhanced scheduling of conventional power plants, electricity storage, and more flexible generation and grid infrastructure. The report also includes case studies from China, Denmark and South Africa.
This new annual IEA report shows the electricity sector leading a broad reorientation of energy investment but warns more is needed to meet climate targets and address energy security concerns. The report provides a comprehensive and detailed picture of the current investment landscape across fuels, technologies and countries, showing that the energy system is undergoing a broad reorientation toward low-carbon energy and efficiency, but investment in key clean energy technologies needs to be further ramped up to put the world economy on track for climate stabilization.
This paper analyzes the uses and existing barriers in energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa. Utilizing household expenditure surveys taken since 2008 in 22 countries, it shows that only one-third of all people in sub-Saharan Africa use electricity. As expected, users are disproportionately urban and affluent. In communities with access to electricity, lack of affordability is the greatest barrier to household connection.
The paper shows that affordability challenges are aggravated by sharing of meters by several households – denying them access to lifeline rates – and high connection costs in many countries, made worse by demands from utility staff for bribes in some countries. Affordability varies across countries, with grid electricity even at the subsistence level being out of reach for the poor in half the countries and even more so once connection charges are considered.
This report draws on many years of experience within the World Bank Group and among other development partners in carrying out renewable energy resource assessments and mapping at the country level, in particular from 12 projects funded by the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) under a major global initiative launched in 2012. The report’s purpose is to explain, for a wide range of audiences, the importance of resource assessment and mapping, key steps and good practices, and methodological issues. It also identifies potential sources for further advice and support.
This paper aims to identify various drivers behind the push for the renewable energy transition and to document some of the sustainable development benefits experienced around the world; review some of the recent attempts to measure, quantify or project past and future benefits of increased renewable energy deployment, and the methodologies applied; and to identify some of the remaining questions relating to the implications of aiming for 100% renewable energy, with the aim to provide a basis for subsequent development of a conceptual framework for future work on this topic.