News

Sector News – July 2017

Global

Decoding the elements of universal access to energy, Medium

The concept of “access to energy” does not offer a straight forward definition. However in accordance to the International Energy Agency, energy access is about providing modern energy services to everyone around the world. These services are defined as household access to electricity and clean cooking facilities.

Mind the (Energy) Gap: Energy Solutions in Humanitarian Settings, United Nations Foundation

On World Refugee Day, June 20, the world turned its focus on the growing plight of refugees and displaced persons. More than 65 million individuals around the world today have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict and violence, and while many individuals and organizations hope to provide aid and relief through food, shelter, and medicine, a crucial resource is often overlooked – safe and reliable energy, light, and fuel for cooking.

Facebook tests drone to beam internet to everyone in the world, RT

Solar-powered drones could one day provide 4 billion people in poorer parts of the world access to the internet, Facebook said after a “successful” test of its drone, Aquila. The internet company intends to share the blueprints for the technology.

The Future of Off-Grid?—?Where Will Current Trends Take Us in 10 Years?, Medium

With the adoption of Sustainable Development Goal 7, the world has rallied around the goal of universal access to electricity by 2030. The African Development Bank aims to provide universal access in Africa by 2025, and our readers know Power Africa’s target is 60 million new connections by 2030.

Multi-billion dollar Africa-India partnership aims to eradicate energy poverty, Thomson Reuters Foundation News

The area most ripe for immediate collaboration is solar irrigation, which is already scaling rapidly in India

Pieces are falling into place for an important collaboration between India and Africa to end energy poverty. The stakes are high, as sub-Saharan Africa and India account for over 80 percent of the world’s 1.1 billion unelectrified.

Training, mentoring and funding: three key steps for supporting micro entrepreneurs in the energy field in emerging economies, LinkedIn Pulse

Micro-enterprises represent the clear majority of the SMEs in developing countries (above 93%). A large part of these micro-enterprise can be found within the informal sector, outside of regulation. They often struggle in their development as they lack skills to operate safely and manage their venture, and have few resources to grow. In the energy field, actions have to be taken to support them through three key steps: training, mentoring and funding.

Solar energy powers clean water, business opportunities for refugees, CNBC Africa

Sadick Thenest remembers how his 8-year-old daughter had a narrow brush with death two years ago, when she contracted cholera after drinking contaminated water.

IRENA, FAO and IEA Bioenergy develop brief on Bioenergy for Sustainable Development, Renewable Energy Magazine

The brief finds that large amounts of bioenergy can be produced while the world meets its food needs and climate goals and that bioenergy can also promote development, create jobs, enrich the land and improve livelihoods. Bioenergy is key to sustainable development, since it enhances energy access and reduces reliance on fossil fuels, thereby helping to mitigate climate change. It currently makes up a large share of the cost-effective options for increasing renewable energy use.


Africa

The race to solar-power Africa, The New Yorker

The cacao-farming community of Daban, in Ghana, is seven degrees north of the equator, and it’s always hot. In May, I met with several elders there to talk about the electricity that had come to the town a few months earlier, when an American startup installed a solar microgrid nearby. Daban could now safely store the vaccine for yellow fever; residents could charge their cell phones at home rather than walking to a bigger town to do it. As we talked, one of the old men handed me a small plastic bag of water, the kind street venders sell across West Africa—you just bite off a corner and drink. The water was ice-cold and refreshing, but it took me an embarrassingly long moment to understand the pleasure with which he offered it: cold water was now available in this hot place. There was enough power to run a couple of refrigerators, and so coldness was, for the first time, a possibility.

6 African entrepreneurs get Microsoft grant funding, Disrupt Africa

Microsoft’s Affordable Access Initiative grant program has for the second year in a row made a number of grants to entrepreneurs working to increase access to and affordability of internet services, with six African startups among the beneficiaries.

Smart solar solutions: improving energy access and empowering refugee communities in Kenya, Medium

Every minute, 24 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone there are an estimated 4.4 million refugees and 11 million people who have been internally displaced. A couple of weeks ago, I experienced first-hand what life is like for refugees who make it to Kakuma refugee camp, 80km south of the Sudanese border.

SOVENTIX, Gentec to partner for development of PV hybrid systems in Nigeria, PV Tech

EPC firm SOVENTIX and Nigerian renewable energy company Gentec announced that they have formed a joint venture to expand solar energy in Nigeria.

Nigeria: Federal Government plans renewable energy for rural communities, The Nation

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said Federal Government would provide renewable source of power to at least one million households in rural communities not connected to the national grid.

Rural Electrification Agency Partners 8 Nigerian Universities, Leadership

The recent announcement of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the  Nigeria Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and eight Federal Universities and a Teaching Hospital may have come as a welcome development; this is even as many Nigerians continue to express disappointment over the performance of the various electricity distribution companies (DisCos).

South Africa’s grid-for-all dream fades as decentralized energy lights up, Renewables Now

The “grid-for-all” mantra in South Africa has been hurting energy entrepreneurs but there is an increasing realization that the current approach, extending the grid, is no longer feasible and decentralized solutions are required, Felix Philipp tells Renewables Now.

AfDB to help finance 32MW PV project in Chad, PV Tech

The African Development Bank (AfDB) announced that it will fund the construction of Chad’s first large-scale solar project. The installation, which will have an installed generation capacity of 32MW, is set to be developed in Chad’s capital city of N’Djamena. Once completed, the project is expected to generate close to 64GWh of electricty per year.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: MONUSCO installs solar streets lighting in the districts of Nzuma and Ngite, territory of Béni, Relief Web

After Erengeti, Mavivi and Mayangose districts in the city of Béni, two more districts in Béni are now lit with solar energy as part of the MONUSCO-funded project for the reduction of community violence which will contribute to civilians’ protection and facilitate the ex-combatants’ reintegration.

Cameroon to install more off-grid and grid-connected solar capacity, PV Magazine

Bank of China has agreed to lend $123 million for the country’s solar rural electrification program, while its power utility is planning to build three PV plants with a combined capacity of 35 MW.

Mozambique’s First Utility Scale Solar Power Plant, ALER

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, will provide a financial package of US$55 million to build Mozambique’s first utility-scale PV project. The financing includes US$19 million from IFC’s own account, US$19 million from Climate Investment Funds and a syndicated loan of up to US$17 million.


Asia

Indian enterprises are banking on solar loans for sustainable energy access to tribal hamlets, Medium

Access to credit is an important pre-requisite for facilitating access to energy. Owing to marginal and unpredictable incomes, rural and tribal families cannot afford to pay up-front the cost of basic systems. Over the years, solar products, heavily subsidized by multiple donors, have been installed in villages without adequate servicing and maintenance. The consequences have been disastrous as many of the villages have turned into junkyards of dysfunctional systems.

Decentralized renewable energy: complementing the grid to reach millions without access in India, the Climate Group

As the Government of India continues to focus on strengthening its national grid, Shilpi Samantray, Project Officer, The Climate Group, India, highlights how the organization is working with partners to promote the value of decentralized renewable energy (DRE) systems, aligning it with India’s national priorities on energy access.

DC solar products are lighting up rural India: What’s driving the increased demand?, First Post

India is at a growth curve, largely fueled by the expansion of domestic manufacturing. The country’s ‘Make in India’ initiative encourages a need for new infrastructure, which requires more industrial energy.

India’s agency for rural electrification raises $450m with first green bond, Business Green

London Stock Exchange welcomed state-owned firm’s first green bond last week, which was 3.9 times oversubscribed.

Uttar Pradesh targets 10.7GW solar with 4.3GW on rooftops under draft solar policy, PV Tech

The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is targeting 10.7GW of solar power by 2022, with 4.3GW from rooftop, under its draft ‘Solar Power Policy 2017’.

Being off the grid does not mean being powerless, UNDP in Nepal

Taking a look at the strides made by UNDP in extending energy access to rural poor people and in formulating appropriate policies for energy promotion.

Village women transform into clean energy entrepreneurs in Nepal initiative, Reuters

Hundreds of rural women in Nepal are turning from housewives to entrepreneurs to bring clean, energy smart products such as solar panels, lanterns and batteries to power-starved villages in an initiative aiming to help women out of poverty.

ADB partnering Cambodia utility for 100MW solar park program, PV Tech

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is collaborating with Cambodian state-run energy utility Electricite Du Cambodge (EDC) to set up a 100MW national solar park program.

Solar power for poor rural households in ASEAN: Lessons from Cambodia, Myanmar Times

In an innovative initiative to increase access to electrical power, the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has adopted a rural electrification master plan that promotes the use of Solar Home Systems (SHS) to increase access to electricity in Cambodia’s rural areas.


Middle East

Masdar formalizes cooperation in Indonesia as talk of floating solar grows, PV Tech

The UAE’s Masdar group has formalized its cooperation with Indonesia with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indonesian state power firm PT PJB. The Southeast Asian country is targeting a renewable energy contribution of 23% by 2025 and 31% by 2050.


Latin America / the Caribbean

Millions of Homes in Mexico Suffer from “Energy Poverty”, Inter Press Service News Agency

Energy poverty afflicts millions of homes in Mexico, with many social, economic and environmental impacts for the country.

 


North America

What the U.S. can learn from India on climate change and energy access, Thomson Reuters Foundation News

When India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets with President Donald Trump in Washington, it will be a telling encounter – not only for the U.S.-India relationship, but for the future of global action on climate change and renewable energy.

US DOE announces US$46.2 million for 48 PV projects under SunShot Initiative, PV tech

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will provide US$46.2 million in funding for 48 PV projects as part of the department’s SunShot Initiative. These renewable-energy projects are expected to develop innovative, early-stage solar power technologies that are designed to lower costs and improve reliability and efficiency.

Startup Merges Renewable Energy And Blockchain To Disrupt The Energy Sector, EconoTimes

Renewable energy is on the rise and so is Blockchain, which has a wide variety of uses in practically every field. While these two industries are disruptors all on their own, one startup dares to ask the question, what would happen if they are merged? That’s exactly what LO3 Energy is doing and it is already on its way to making a big splash.

Sunrun expands operations into Florida, PV Tech

Residential solar, storage and energy services company Sunrun has expanded its operations into Florida.

As part of this new expansion, homeowners can either outright own a system through Sunrun BrightBuy or finance their system purchase with Sunrun BrightAdvantage, using a loan arranged by Sunrun.


Europe

Germany to provide more solar power for Ghana’s energy’s sector, News Ghana

The German Ambassador, Mr Christoph Retzlaff says Germany is looking forward to partnering with Ghana to bring more solar power systems under a renewable energy program.

Google to power Dutch data center with solar power, PV Tech

Google will purchase all of the solar power from the 30MW Sunport Delfzijl plant in the Netherlands. The electricity from the site, the largest PV project in the country to date, will power one of the company’s data centres via a 10 year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the utility firm Eneco.

Europe’s solar manufacturing vacuum needs urgent action, says R&D and trade groups, PV Tech

The recent bankruptcy of Europe’s largest integrated manufacturer, SolarWorld AG and the failure of anti-dumping duties on Chinese producers to maintain a minimum import price (MIP), due to circumvention by establishing production outside China and even in Europe, was a major concern to energy independence in the region, according to industry groups. Image: SolarWorld

The significant decline in the solar PV manufacturing supply chain in Europe in recent years has reached a critical condition, according to a string of R&D and trade groups in the region.

Russia’s Rushydro expands use of solar in remote areas of its service territory, PV Magazine

The Russian hydroelectric power producer will install more stand-alone PV plants in Yacutia’s remote areas with no access to the electricity network.


Oceania

Europe and Australia: Full power access without the grid, SunConnect News

Stand-alone solutions still have the image of being only a “first aid” not only for off-grid customers: also governments, investors, power companies, banks see the stand-alone technique more as a temporary solution. The large capital flows go to network-based technologies. At most, the micro-grid is still accepted as “little brother”.

Togo to increase rural electrification from 7% to 40% by 2022 through solar, PV Magazine

The government of the small African country has launched a program to bring solar power to two million people without access to electricity.