Sector News – March 2016


Power to the powerless, The Economist

A new electricity system is emerging to bring light to the world’s poorest. The key is persuading customers to pay.

How to Achieve Global Goal 7: Sustainable Energy for All, ISN

The Sustainable Energy for All initiative has the potential to stimulate knowledge exchange and investment to promote a global energy transition. To build momentum, a wider range of stakeholders should back its core activities.

Solid indicators proposed for SDG7; Global Tracking Framework ready to support,

The UN Statistical Commission has held its annual meeting of national experts, with an extraordinary task at hand: to agree on a global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The global indicator framework is proposed by the 28 national experts of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group for SDG indicators (IAEG-SDGs).

Green Climate Fund clears way for $2.5 billion funding challenge, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Green Climate Fund made progress in closing administrative and policy gaps at a meeting in South Korea this week, and now faces the uphill task of allocating $2.5 billion this year for projects to tackle climate change, experts said.

Energy: A Superpower to Transform Lives, UN Foundation Blog

This year’s annual letter from Bill and Melinda Gates performed a great service: It elevated access to energy to a superpower – like being able to fly or run at supersonic speed. That’s exactly right: Energy empowers people. It enables them to do more with less work.

Linking Investors to Renewable Energy Opportunities in Emerging Markets Is Key to COP21 Success, EcoWatch

Some of the ingredients for catalyzing clean energy investments in Asia, Africa and other emerging markets have their own unique nomenclature—“blend 2.0,” “de-risking” and “national investment catalogues.” Yet there is a more straightforward recipe: A mix of national clean energy policies with the needs of institutional investors looking for opportunities that are safe and relatively profitable.

Measures to stimulate the micro-grid market,

Onsite power generation at remote locations presents an attractive business case for many renewable energy companies but at the same time requires considerable market introduction efforts, says Dr. Thomas Hillig.

Clean energy without currency risk, Climate & Development Knowledge Network

Harald Hirschhofer of TCX says that foreign exchange risks have caused a hurdle to rolling out renewable energy technologies in some countries. But now development finance institutions are helping firms manage the risk and expand their operations.


10 reasons to watch Africa in 2016, The World Bank

In 2016, the world faces uncertainty and volatility – as well as huge opportunities for significant progress. Africa stands not just to gain from these major shifts, but also to lead some of them.

Electrify Africa: Balancing Energy Access and Long-Term Sustainability, Triple Pundit

Access to reliable, affordable electricity is imperative for economic prosperity, public health and safety, and long-term growth and sustainability. Unfortunately, energy poverty remains a tremendous issue for many developing countries.

Africa needs more than a one-size-fits-all energy solution, The Hill

Imagine yourself as one of the 620 million people in Africa living day to day in the dark next to a toxic, dim kerosene lantern.  You realize a sense of urgency to improve your family’s situation with an openness towards reliable solutions.  Resolving energy poverty for families in Africa and across the globe where collectively over a Billion people live with no access to modern energy services means a better and more stable world for everyone. However, examining the solutions to energy poverty seems to be stuck in gridlock – which is to say, focus is stuck on the grid.

Sweden Invests 20 Million Euros for Clean Energy in Zambia, Bloomberg Business

Sweden’s development agency will finance a 20 million-euro ($22-million) fund to develop clean energy in Zambia through 2018. The Vienna-based Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership said it will also work with Power Africa and other partners to roll out the project. The program will probably focus on off-grid solar systems in the first year, according to John Tkacik, spokesman for REEEP. It plans to install small hydro power plants and mini-grids later on.

“Lighting Up and Powering Africa” – AfDB Puts Energy On the Front Burner of Africa’s Development Agenda, All Africa

Energy is the central theme of the African Development Bank’s 2016 Annual Meetings as well as its 2015 Annual Report. The theme, “Energy and Climate Change”, underscores the importance the Bank attaches to energy, which the AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina, describes as “the lifeblood of any society and the passport to economic transformation.”

In Nigeria, Small-Scale Solar Plants Are Letting The Sunshine In, All Africa

Innovative technology links three solar power projects that GE is undertaking in Nigeria for the Tolaram Group. Until recently, small-scale rooftop solar projects have been under-utilized in the country, with diesel generators a far more common source of primary energy supply to these locations. Now, advances in solar technology are making this clean energy more affordable.

The Investment Case for Mini-Grids and Off-Grids in Africa, Microgrid Media

Since the mid-1990s, external finance to Africa’s power sector has averaged only around US$600m per year of public assistance, plus a similar volume of private finance, according to the World Bank. Africa’s critical need for development requires rapid and effective solutions. With the proven economic setbacks of poor access to power, the crisis should be approached by exploring “All Options”.

Ex-Opower Exec Launches Energicity to Bring Solar Energy to Ghana, DCInno

Nicole Poindexter, 46, a Yale grad and alumni of Harvard’s business school, was one of Opower’s early employees. She joined the Virginia-based energy utility management giant in early 2010, fours year prior to its initial public offering. Rising quickly through the ranks of Opower’s sales division to the position of senior director of global business development, she took an extended leave after the company went public to reevaluate life.

Buying Smarter to Build Better Energy Infrastructure in Ethiopia, USAID

Maximizing the value of publicly funded energy projects is not just good public management practice, it’s a critical piece of the infrastructure planning process for developing economies. At the Ethiopian Electric Power Company (EEPCo), Ethiopia’s national power generation and transmission company, a recent USTDA grant is helping to improve procurement procedures and ensure “smart buying” for energy infrastructure, including procurements that support Power Africa projects. The grant builds on USTDA’s efforts to help the Government of Ethiopia establish best-value procurement practices, such as the use of life-cycle cost analysis, in its tender processes.


Why inefficiency is needed in energy financing for Africa, Big News Network

One of the most important findings noted at the Africa launch of the World Bank’s (GTF) report for the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, is that despite recent trends to increase investment in the energy sector, we still need to double the number of new connections to modern energy services per year to reach universal access to energy by 2030.

South Africa to Establish Renewable Energy Development Zones, Alternative Energy Africa

South Africa is set to see the establishment of eight renewable energy development zones (REDZ) and five power corridors. These REDZs and power corridors are geographical areas where wind and solar PV technologies can be incentivized and where ‘deep’ grid expansion can be directed and where regulatory processes will be streamlined.

Tanzania: Muhongo echoes commitment to SE4ALL goals, ESI Africa

Tanzanian minister of energy and minerals Sospeter Muhongo has reaffirmed the country’s commitment on achieving the goals of the United Nations’ program, Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) by 2030.

Uganda election: renewable energy projects must not rob locals of their land, The Guardian

As Uganda’s general election looms this week, candidates have been courting the electorate with their plans to increase international investment and boost the country’s economic outlook. The country has fast become the destination of choice for land-hungry oil and agriculture industries, but in the latest election a new contender has emerged for Uganda’s sought after acreage: renewable energies.

Ugandan bank offers solar energy loans, ESI Africa

Finance Trust Bank (FTB) has ventured into the energy sector by collaborating with Uganda Energy Credit Capitalization Company (UECCC) to provide solar energy loans.

Power in Beauty: Turning Waterfalls into Watts in Rural Kenya, Power Africa

At the edge of Mt. Kenya National Forest, secluded by dense wilderness, is the rural Kenyan market center of Mutunguru. Those who live in the small villages surrounding Mutunguru enjoy stunning views of green valleys, lush forests, and idyllic waterfalls. But these features have also isolated residents from main roads, and limited access to electricity.

Solektra Solar Academy completes first training session in Bamako, PV Magazine

The first training provided by the Solektra Solar Academy was held end of January 2016 in partnership with the Economic Community of West African States’ Renewable Energy Association (APER-CEDEAO). 19 young people from 8 African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Republic of Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo) have received both theoretical and practical training about solar technologies. This first session is the result of a strong partnership between Solektra International and the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) led by Mr. Mahamah Kappiah.

Nigeria: Lagos School Goes Off Grid With Solar Power, All Africa

A power station, installed by Greenicles Solar, has enabled Iju Senior Grammar School, Lagos, become independent of the national grid. The 13kW system was installed a year ago and has generated more than 24,300kW of electricity since its testing and commissioning in April 2015, about 10 per cent more than predicted.

Mozambique and the UK Sign Memorandum to expand energy access, ALER

The Mozambican Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Pedro Couto, and the British Minister of International Development, Nicholas Hurd signed a memorandum of understanding this month, in Maputo, in the area of solar power and other renewable energies.

Ethiopia Agreement Will Help Transform Africa’s Solar Market, T&D World Magazine

International Development Minister Nick Hurd met with leaders last month from across Africa to discuss the UK’s Energy Africa campaign. Ethiopia is the latest country to back the campaign, which aims to accelerate universal energy access in sub-Saharan Africa. They pledged to boost solar energy access in a deal signed with Britain at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.


The developing world faces a silent killer. Could a $1 solar light help?  The Guardian

A Filipino social enterprise is bringing cheap solar lighting to more than 20 countries helping improve safety, reduce air pollution and cut energy costs.

USAID Awards $767,000 Grant to Miller Center For Social Entrepreneurship And New Ventures India, Santa Clara University

In an effort to lift one million of the 289 million people in India without electricity out of darkness, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University and New Ventures India (NVI) have been awarded a $767,000 grant for an Energy Access Investment Readiness Program. This public-private partnership, made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID, has the goal to enable delivery of clean, innovative, off-grid power to people in India who currently lack energy access.

Gates bats for innovation to prevent coal-fired power in India, Business Standard

Microsoft founder Bill Gates today called for large-scale innovation so that India opts against the choice of coal-fired power plants to provide electricity to millions of its people.

States to revamp solar targets in line with the country’s 100 GW target, Bridge to India

The MNRE has asked all states to revise their solar policy targets (refer) to make them consistent with the revised Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) target of 8% by 2022, as notified under the revised Tariff Policy published in the Gazette of India on 28th January 2016. States have been asked to submit a ‘State Action Plan 2022’ by second week of March. This plan is expected to include year-wise RPO trajectory and targets for different technologies in each state.

Country’s second solar slum inaugurated in Kolkata’s Topsia, The Times of India

Kolkata: The state’s first and country’s second solar slum was inaugurated on Tuesday by state power minister Manish Gupta at Topsia’s Majdoor Para area falling under ward number 66 of the Kolkata municipal corporation.

CleanTech Startups in India- Who Is Doing What?, Tech Story

In our previous article, we covered startups which are doing or implementing innovations in the cleantech industry to unprecedented level of technological adoption ever. In accordance with our mission to bring latest technology and innovation from India and across the world, we present you another list of startups which are transforming the cleantech scenario in the country.

Programme to train future solar energy technicians, The Hindu

In order to create more professionals in the field of solar energy, the Delhi government is conducting a three-month course to train those interested for free.

India Matters: Solar Revolution In Uttar Pradesh, NDTV

In Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh, private diesel generators power the rural economy. Noisy, polluting and expensive. The state electricity grid has reached some areas, but there is a chronic shortage of power. Those with connections get only a few hours of supply in a day and almost never during peak hours. Businessman Pradeep Kumar Shukla had to produce his own electricity when he set up a petrol pump near Pipargaon village. The village is 110 km from Lucknow. “When we started the petrol pump, there were so many power cuts that we had to totally depend on generator sets. These filling machines are computerized and cannot be operated manually. It cost Rs. 1.25 lakh to install the generator and we spent an additional Rs. 18,000 a month to run it,” Mr. Shukla Said.

The innovators: portable solar panels that can be unrolled like a carpet, the Guardian

Talk is not cheap in the mountains of Nepal. Getting a mobile phone charged can cost $5 in areas where there is no electricity and backpackers have to rely on diesel generators used by locals to power up.

In Nepal, rooftop solar panels are being used in households to provide power for daily electrical appliances and activities; at schools to power computers, laptops and cellphones; and at hospitals and health posts to power patient needs in the rural mountainous communities. Solar integration for agricultural purposes has been implemented throughout various parts of rural Nepal to aid in the irrigation and harvest of crops year round.

Light for Life: Rebuilding with Solar Energy in Nepal, Huffington Post

In Nepal, rooftop solar panels are being used in households to provide power for daily electrical appliances and activities; at schools to power computers, laptops and cellphones; and at hospitals and health posts to power patient needs in the rural mountainous communities. Solar integration for agricultural purposes has been implemented throughout various parts of rural Nepal to aid in the irrigation and harvest of crops year round.

Nepal: Solar Micro-Grids Offer New Services, Opportunities for 3 Remote Communities, Asian Development Bank

Three remote villages in Nepal’s Okhaldhunga and Khotang districts have just been switched on to round-the-clock power from nearby solar micro-grids that will save money, avoid carbon emissions, and provide the communities with fresh economic opportunities.

KYOCERA Donates Solar Power Generating Systems to Nepal to Support Earthquake Reconstruction, Business Wire

Kyocera Corporation (NYSE:KYO)(TOKYO:6971) announced today that it has donated five portable solar power generating systems through the United Nations Development Programme (herein “UNDP”) to support reconstruction efforts in regions of Nepal devastated by the earthquake in April 2015. Kyocera delivered three systems to Gorkha District and two systems to Sindhupalchowk District last week, areas which were severely affected by the earthquake and aftershocks.

Solar-powered water purifier promises safe and clean water, The Borneo Post

A solar-powered water purification system, manufactured locally in Serian, promises to help change the lives of rural and remote communities by providing safe and clean water using renewable and sustainable energy. According to Soara Industries founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Ganesh Muren, the system could provide solutions for a number of specific problems faced in rural and remote areas of Sarawak.

Solar cells help purify water in remote areas, Lund University

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have developed a water purification plant that provides clean water far beyond the reach of the electrical grid – thanks to solar cells. With the help of Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus, these small and portable solar cell stations have now been placed across rural Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Solar: Illuminating a Path to Clean Energy Equity, The Green Cornucopian Project

Access to reliable, efficient and modern sources of energy is a key enabler of basic economic and societal development, by unlocking significant improvements in education, health and medical services, and increasing economic opportunity and supporting gender equality. Energy is a central issue in development, and considered one of the main challenges globally in meeting the United Nations’ set of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Latin America & Caribbean

Designed to Save Energy for Jamaican Fishermen, a Lamp Saves the Day in Dominica, infoDev

A solar-powered lamp and charging device developed for a remote Jamaican fishing community lights the way for disaster relief in Dominica.

North America

Alaska’s rural energy microgrids offer a prototype for powering the world, Alaska Dispatch News

Alaska’s most remote villages may have a thing or two to teach the rest of the United States about keeping the lights on. State agencies, private companies and the federal government are increasingly looking to the remote electrical “microgrids” that power rural Alaska in places where roads and long-distance electric transmission lines don’t go.


Trading solar-generated power between households to change the way consumers buy electricity, ABC News

The concept of bypassing major energy retailers to trade rooftop solar-generated electricity between households, small businesses and community groups is inching closer to reality.

Middle East

EBRD funds Jordan trash-to-power project that may help refugees, Gulf News Economy

Jordan will get aid to build a waste-to-energy power plant that will help municipal authorities in the capital city of Amman cope with rising volumes of trash and employ some of the 1.4 million Syrians who’ve sought refuge in the country.