United Nations has called on
businesses, governments, and
civil society to achieve Sustainable
Energy for All by 2030
Sector News – September 2016
At the Paris climate talks last December, governments agreed to work towards limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. But the topic of financing developing countries to help them adapt to climate change and transition to clean energy became a sticking point during the negotiations. We recently brought together a panel of experts to debate how developing countries can reach 100% renewables. Here’s what we learned.
GivePower Foundation, a non-profit organization that uses clean energy technologies to deliver essential community services to the developing world, has launched a global program to support the development of minigrids—solar power and battery storage combinations capable of providing continuous power to a small village or cluster of buildings— for communities in need. The new solar-powered grids will be applied to projects that impact the following seven sectors: education, water, health, food security, economic development, telecommunications and conservation.
There has been remarkable advances in energy access for rural households. But building the wider economy requires energy services that power new jobs and enterprises.
Reducing Energy Poverty Not Only For Solar And Impact Investors, Clean Technica
One day, a friend of Bala Suleman, who lived near Kano, Nigeria, was raving to him about a new portable solar light he’d started using. Suleman, a chicken farmer, was skeptical but open to learning more about his friend’s new acquisition.
In the past decade, renewable energy growth has broken records year after year, and 2015 was a remarkable one for developing countries. For the first time in history, according to the United Nations Environment Program, total investment in renewables exceeded that in developed economies, driven in part by national policies and the improving cost-competitiveness of renewable technologies. Investors, multinational energy players and renewable developers actively are pursuing new business opportunities in these electricity-thirsty markets.
Big development banks are pouring billions into energy projects in developing countries. Between 2000 and 2014, the World Bank Group alone invested $63.5 billion in electricity access. But we still have more than 1.5 billion people without access to energy services. What is the disconnect?
How can we afford not to provide power when countries are fragile?, World Bank Blogs
Earlier this year I was on a panel organized during the Fragility Forum 2016, where the question posed to a panel of five was, “what can we do on energy in fragile states?
Since 2008, 60 per cent of investment in off-grid solar has been in PAYG energy companies. The majority of this amount was only invested in the last two years.
6 of the best solar-powered chargers for smartphones and tablets (and one nifty keyboard), South China Morning Post
If you’re heading off-grid or want to be a more eco-friendly traveler, these gadgets will keep you powered up enough to use your devices.
Scaling Off-Grid Energy is set to invest US$36 million to empower entrepreneurs and investors to connect 20 million households in Sub-Saharan Africa with off-grid energy by 2030. The move follows the Power Africa project which was initiated in 2013 by US President Barack Obama to increase access to electricity across Africa, and USAID’s U.S.
Local mini- and off-grid solar power continues to gain traction in Sub-Saharan Africa as innovative, socially-minded startups leverage the popularity of mobile phones and tap into financing and support from multilateral agencies and programs, such as U.S. President Barack Obama’s Power Africa.
Is the African Solar Revolution Really a Data Revolution?, Huffington Post
The biggest story in African solar markets may have nothing to do with solar at all. This week news broke in Bloomberg that the impact investment fund of the world’s largest utility ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies, co-led a new $20 million Series C investment with KawiSafi Ventures in leading beyond the grid solar company BBOXX. This isn’t the first time BBOXX has made news. They pioneered the world’s first off grid solar securitization and have backing from high-profile impact investors like Khosla. But this time is different.
Solar hybridization is gaining traction, as rural and remote power supply areas are ripe to transition away from pure diesel, to diesel hybrid micro-grid systems.
Tanzania signed with the World Bank a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a $209 million funding of its national rural electrification program.
Off-Grid Solar Lighting Up Ethiopia, the World Bank
For the millions of people living in remote rural areas of Ethiopia who lack access to the power grid or cannot afford electricity, solar energy represents an important first step on the energy access ladder. Instead of relying on kerosene, candles, dry cell batteries and other fossil fuel-based sources of power, they can now turn to off-grid solar to light up their homes, watch television and charge mobile phones, thanks to an initiative of the Government of Ethiopia supported by the World Bank.
Mukhobeh Moses Khaukha is the Executive Director of Hands of Action Uganda, a not-for-profit organization working to improve the lives of people living in Bududa district in Eastern Uganda. This region is regularly affected by tragic mud slides, which have plagued the economic development of his community. Through Hands of Action, Moses decided to first improve his community, by building a school, in which thousands of children are enrolled.
Much work remains to be done to ensure reliable electricity access for Africa’s citizens. A number of complications are making it difficult to achieve this UN Sustainable Development Goal. Yet access rates are expanding in many nations, and technology and design improvements offer opportunities to make rapid leaps forward.
From an Africa-shaped mega solar plant powering Kigali, Rwanda, to a massive geothermal plant harvesting the power of Kenya’s hot springs, renewable energy plants are popping up around the continent.
Kenya to Install 23 Solar Mini-Grids to Power Remote North, Renewable Energy World
The Kenya government, with the support of a 33-million-euro credit from the French government, plans to install 23 solar mini-grid power stations with the capacity to produce 9.6 MW of power to connect
households in remote northern Kenya to electricity.
Lessons from Kenya about what’s holding back solar technology in Africa, the Conversation
The spread of solar and other modern energy technologies in African countries is considerably low. Despite the global viability and growth in the solar energy market, African countries continue to lag behind. They represent less than 1% of the market demand for solar energy.
Isabella and her husband are serious farmers in rural Makueni and among the better-off families in the area. They grow maize, vegetables, and bananas commercially and are doing well enough to send their older children to boarding school. When Isabella received her unusually-large merry-go-round payout of KSh 50,000, she decided to take on a few home improvement projects, including the purchase of a solar panel, battery, inverter, and wiring throughout her house. The project cost her KSh 37,000. She would have preferred a grid connection, but there is no transformer near her home, and there’s no telling when it will get close enough for her to connect. Isabella is very happy with her investment. She loves that her solar unit lights the whole house, that the children now can read at night with “clean light,” and that she can watch the evening news. She hasn’t bought paraffin since the solar was installed, a savings she estimates at about KSh 600 per month. Sure, it will be five years before she’s technically saving money, but, she believes the value from the solar was worth the expense.
Rural demand for electricity connections is significantly lower than the Kenyan government predicted, even when connection costs are highly subsidized, according to economists at the University of California, Berkeley.
SEFA grants $1 million to promote green mini-grids in Niger, Invest Advocate
In July 2016, the Republic of Niger was awarded a US $994,270 grant from the African Development Bank-hosted Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) to promote green mini-grids (GMGs) and pave the way for private investments in this sub-sector. The project aims to support Government efforts to provide at least 15% rural access to energy through off-grid and mini-grid solutions by 2020, resulting in increased effective day length and income, and a reduction in recurring energy expenditures; and 15 MW installed GMG capacity by 2020, resulting in mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The convergence of low-cost solar technology, nearly ubiquitous mobile phones, and increasingly robust systems for mobile payments has unleashed a wave of entrepreneurship and investment across Africa and Asia. Off-grid solar electric systems are leapfrogging decrepit utility grids in much the same way as mobile phones leapfrogged landlines.
Conditions are right for off-grid electrification of Africa, Horizon Magazine
Mini-grids, mobile payments and smart meters are all helping to create an off-grid model of electricity provision in Africa, helped by bottom-up funding and low-cost solar power, according to Michael Gera, managing partner and co-founder of specialist venture capitalist firm Energy Access Ventures (EAV).
Nuru Energy began seven years ago with a simple notion: to build a sustainable, scalable solution to displace the dirty kerosene that, it is said, 1.6 billion people worldwide burn to generate light.
Not-for-profit GivePower Foundation, created by US firm SolarCity, has installed the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) first mini-grid using solar and battery storage at Virunga National Park.
Rwanda: Renewable energy project to connect 77,000 rural homes, New Times
Government efforts aimed at increasing supply of clean energy to power its green growth ambitions have gotten a boost, thanks to a new off-grid renewable energy support program.
Imagine owning a smartphone with no place to charge it. Rwanda native Henri Nyakarundi brought a micro-franchising model based on solar-powered phone-charging carts to his country. The carts encourage entrepreneurship and help people get their phones charged, as reported on CNN.
Maasai women are travelling to the country’s remotest villages to bring renewable, affordable energy and improve people’s living conditions.
If you’ve ever handled kerosene or set it alight, you’ll know it is disgusting. If you use it the way most of Kenya’s low income families use it–in a tiny tin with a small wick—for lighting your home, you’ll inhale a lot of smoke, the entire place will reek of gas and smoke, your children will strain to read under its dismal light, and if light is needed in another room, you’ll need to precariously tote around the tiny lamp, hoping not to spill kerosene all over the floor.
Solar Powered Mosquito Trap A Success, Sun-Connect News
A 3-year trial of a solar powered mosquito trap on an island in Kenya has resulted in a 70% reduction in a malaria-carrying mosquito population. The trial also saw a 30% decrease in incidence of the crippling and sometimes fatal disease in households using the device.
Nearly 95% of Ugandans still use solid biomass fuels for cooking, such as charcoal and wood. These fuels have become increasingly expensive due to the escalating pressure on forest resources and a rapidly expanding population. Currently, Uganda has the second highest birth rate in the world and the fifth highest rate of deforestation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Solid biomass fuels also pose a significant threat to the health of household family members through exposure to indoor air pollution, which currently affects over 35 million people and causes over 13,000 premature deaths every year in Uganda.
In this electricity-starved rural part of Uganda, men ride bicycles several kilometers to the nearest market town simply to charge their phones. That should change with the construction nearby of one of the largest solar plants in sub-Saharan Africa, where two-thirds of the population is without electricity and countries increasingly explore alternative sources of power.
Solar-powered oxygen delivery system saves lives in Uganda, Medical Xpress
A new twist on the use of renewable energy is saving children’s lives in Africa. The innovation—a-solar powered oxygen delivery system—is providing concentrated oxygen in hospital for children suffering from severe pneumonia.
The federal government has set a target to expand reliance on renewable energy to 50 per cent of its power output by 2020, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Alternative Power Source @ Towers to Save Operators 30% of OPEX, Nigeria Communications Week
The installation of solar power system at telecommunications towers as alternative power source to national grid is expected to save operators some 30 percent in their operational expenditure (OPEX).
Energy 4 Impact has rolled out a new off-grid renewable energy support programme in Rwanda. The programme, Scaling up Off Grid Energy in Rwanda (SOGER), aims to grow sustainable off-grid renewable energy markets by supporting private sector companies to deliver energy access to an estimated 77,000 people in poor rural areas, and create 7,000 jobs.
The Japanese Government, through its agency, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has donated solar power worth $9.7 million to the Federal Government to boost electricity in the country. The Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, Mr Sadanobu Kusaoke, disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday during the inauguration of the project.
Schools are a primary target of the integrated community based interventions for malaria services (ICIMS) project which is promoting malaria awareness and improved health seeking behavior through the introduction of anti-malaria school clubs. Selected schools without electricity, like Meja Primary School, have been provided with solar panels and battery inverter systems to power mini-media kits. These kits, consisting of a cassette stereo, an amplifier, loudspeaker and microphone are used to share key malaria prevention messages throughout the school day and improve health seeking behavior.
Angola: Validation of national SE4All Action Agenda and Investment Prospectus, Sustainable Energy for All Africa Hub
Angola’s Secretary of State of Energy, Mr. Joaquin Ventura, opened the validation workshop for Angola’s SE4All Action Agenda and Investment Prospectus on 26 August 2016 in Luanda on behalf of the Minister Engº João Baptista Borges. The workshop, organized by the Ministry of Energy and Water (MINEA) concluded one year of work to define Angola’s long term objectives on energy access, energy efficiency and renewable energy, as well as the priority actions required to achieve them. It was attended by the Secretary of State for Petroleum, Mr. Aníbal Teixeira da Silva, the Resident Representative of the African Development Bank, Mr. Septime Martins, and more than 100 stakeholders from Government, private sector, development partners, civil society and academia.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced to fund and promote research in partnership with the General Electrics to improve standards in the Indian solar industry.
For more than 300 million people in India, sunset brings all economic and social activity to a near standstill. Likewise, more than 600 million people across sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity. However, amid this lack of electricity there is a significant market opportunity: The energy market is estimated to be worth $2.2 billion in India and paraffin lamp market is valued at $1 billion in Africa.
ABB to light up 190 schools in West Bengal with solar power, ETEnergyworld.com
ABB India will play a key role in West Bengal government’s initiative for state-wide solar electrification of schools as it is providing string inverters for rooftop solars.
The Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA) is set to install a total of 10,000 submersible and surface solar photo voltaic (SPV) irrigation pumps in farm lands across Chhattisgarh (CG). The SPV pumps will be provided with lightening and over voltage protection with the aim to reduce the over voltage to a tolerable value before it reaches the photo voltaic or other sub-system components.
Haryana government to install 3,050 solar water pumps, EQ International
In order to encourage farmers to use renewable energy, Haryana government announced that 3,050 solar water pumps will be installed in current financial year in the state with 90 per cent subsidy.
Empower women to tackle energy poverty in India, Discourse Media
In their role as energy providers across the developing world, women bear the brunt of energy poverty, from gathering firewood to cooking meals on stoves fueled by animal dung.
Creating Solar Villages in Bangladesh, Dhaka Tribune
For nearly fifty million people in rural Bangladesh, access to modern electricity and lighting remains a distant dream. That’s about a third of the country’s entire population, not including yet another large part of the population still suffering from frequent load shedding and power outages. Unfortunately, the dream of many of finally getting connected to the electric grid has little to do with receiving a good service.
FEATURE-Pay-as-you-go irrigation aims to cut water use in Bangladesh, Thomson Reuters Foundation News
Elias Ali has been picking weeds and waste for hours from his paddy field in southeastern Bangladesh, preparing it for irrigation. Every week, he walks half a kilometer to collect the water he needs from private pumps.
In 2014, UNHCR Nepal embarked on a collaborative process along with the Innovation and Energy units to design a new energy strategy for the Beldangi and Sanischare refugee camps. With the refugee population rapidly decreasing due to the ongoing resettlement process, it had become crucial to come up with a new strategy that would address the energy needs of the remaining refugees as well as the surrounding host community. Engineers Without Borders USA came on board as project partner. The Ikea Foundation later committed to bring financial backing to the initiative.
For many people around the world, a reliable supply of electricity remains very hard to come by. In Nepal, already struggling to recover from a devastating earthquake last year, power cuts are a harsh reality of life.
The solar market of Southeast Asia’s largest energy consumer has been relatively underdeveloped until now. A new decree from the energy ministry is set to change the situation and open the heavily government controlled solar market.
One Woman’s Solar Leadership (& Challenges) In Thailand, Clean Technica
In 2009, Wandee Khunchornyakong, an enterprising woman in Thailand, wanted to find out how to add renewable solar power to her local electrical grid. She went to a government office to find out more information. There, she found permits for solar installations just begging for people to take advantage of them. She picked one up but a government clerk told her, “Please, take more. No one wants them.” So she did. When she left the office, she took almost three dozen solar permits with her.
Myanmar is moving to exploit solar and wind energy, but experts said such attempts must be stepped up to smoothen the country’s development. Soe Soe Ohn, director of the national electrification project at the Rural Development Department, said solar energy offered high potential particularly in rural electrification.
Philippines: LGUGC, WB ink pact to provide solar-power access to 40,000 families in off-grid areas, Business Mirror
The LGU Guarantee Corp. (LGUGC) and the World Bank signed a $15.8 million worth grant agreement to provide solar-energy access to 40,000 poor families nationwide.
Changing lives with solar microgrids, REnew Economy
Haiti is the poorest the country in the western hemisphere. Only 25 per cent of the 10.3 million people in the country have access to electricity. One nonprofit organization is testing a solution that could not only change the lives of the unelectrified in Haiti, but could be a model of how to bring electricity to the 1.2 billion people in the world still living in the dark.
Creating a sustainable future is the responsibility of all countries, and that includes allocating a greater share of the world’s energy mix to renewables. A new IRENA report, Renewable Energy Prospects: Dominican Republic, finds the Dominican Republic could by 2030 increase its share of modern renewable energy from 9 to 27%, and its share of renewable electricity generation from 12 to 44%, by adopting a series of recommendations.
How two indigenous solar engineers changed their village in Chile, Collective Evolution
Liliana and Luisa Terán are two indigenous women from northern Chile who traveled to India for training in installing solar panels. Together, they have not only changed their future, but that of their remote village, Caspana, as well.
Giant leaps for solar and storage in low income communities, One Step Off The Grid
President Obama announced measures on July 19 to increase access to solar energy and energy efficiency by low- and moderate-income customers. Elements of the plan, called the Clean Energy Savings For All Initiative, will bring 1,000 megawatts of solar energy by 2020 to a group that has thus far struggled to enjoy the benefits of the clean energy revolution. This is a booster shot in the arm that could stimulate and support activity in the private and NGO sectors that serve low-income customers. Coincidentally, RMI released a report the next day detailing emerging business models that are helping to ensure clean energy is available to all (not just those with access to capital and credit) as these programs phase out.
Using stand-alone solar to secure large-scale solar sites, Solar Power World
Stretching over an expansive range, large-scale solar generation sites can be challenging and expensive to secure if not done properly. Security at solar farms not only involves the ability to safeguard critical infrastructure from outside threats, but they also help deter copper theft, protect personnel and limit disruption of power for huge numbers of consumers. Security being a major concern, it is essential in the planning stage of solar site development to enlist the services of an experienced security systems integrator to handle the security side of the project. A five-year veteran of securing solar generations sites, American Integrated Security Group has worked with a large range of clients.
Solar stills can make tainted water or seawater fit to drink. But to produce more than a trickle, devices typically require expensive lenses or other equipment. Not anymore. Today, researchers report that they’ve created a cheap solar still from bubble wrap and other simple materials.
IKEA to Install Washington’s Largest Rooftop Solar Array, Solar Industry
Home furnishings retailer IKEA has announced plans to install solar panels atop its relocated Seattle-area store under construction in Renton, Wash. According to the company, the project will be the largest rooftop solar installation in Washington.
The world’s next energy revolution is probably no more than five or ten years away. Cutting-edge research into cheap and clean forms of electricity storage is moving so fast that we may never again need to build 20th Century power plants in this country, let alone a nuclear white elephant such as Hinkley Point. The US Energy Department is funding 75 projects developing electricity storage, mobilizing teams of scientists at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and the elite Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge labs in a bid for what it calls the ‘Holy Grail’ of energy policy.
Last week, UK International Development Minister, Nick Hurd, visited a solar venture in Chiswick, UK, to see first-hand how the energy start-up facilitates energy access in Africa. This visit forms part of the Department for International Development’s (DFID) Energy Africa campaign, which aims to light up Africa by helping to power businesses and homes to make sure the poorest people in the world have access to reliable and affordable energy, Get West London reported.
In the small village of Cikote, Milka and Stevo Balac have been living without electricity for more than 10 years. Dusty light-bulbs are still in their fixtures, but they are just a memory of what it was like to have a light, refrigerator and a radio. By the time I first met them, both Milka and Stevo had lost any hope for ever getting back access to electricity.
Solar phone charging stations help refugees stay in touch with family, the Huffington Post
For refugees and migrants stuck in Greece, a smartphone is a lifeline — as long as its battery lasts. But access to electricity can be hard to find in overcrowded camps, nor is it always free in cafes where young and old crowd together over a socket, waiting anxiously to phone home.
As scores of refugees seek safety in the Netherlands, the government is scrambling to provide affordable and humane temporary housing. To that end, the central agency responsible for receiving asylum seekers and the State Architect launched Home Away From Home, an open design competition that invited innovative proposals. One of six winners designed by Bureau Zondag and dNArchitectuur, Solar Cabin combines prefabricated, modular design and renewable energy to provide temporary to permanent sanctuary while contributing to Netherlands’ 2020 clean energy goals.
Renewables can supply nearly 100% of Samoa’s Electricity Needs, IRENA Newsroom
Like many island nations, Samoa possesses enough renewable energy potential to meet nearly 100% of its electricity demand in a sustainable, affordable way. According to a new study conducted by IRENA, a combination of hydro, solar and wind power can supply up to 93% of the island’s electricity demand if a few measures are incorporated into the existing power system and if water supply remains steady.
Australia’s first off-the-grid solar-powered high-rise planned in Melbourne, Architecture & Design
Australia will soon get its first ‘substantially off-the-grid building’ with a new solar-powered high-rise apartment tower being designed in Southbank, Melbourne. The building site at 42-48 Moray Street directly abuts the King Street off-ramp of the West Gate Freeway.
Small Island Developing States in the Pacific have traditionally relied on import of fossil fuels. The fuel price itself, combined with its volatility, the lack of economies of scale, the islands’ geographic remoteness and the scattered communities separated by hundreds of miles of ocean, are all significant strains on these small economies. In addition, the use of fossil fuels adds to global climate change effects which pose an existential threat to many Pacific communities.
Some utilities may think that it will be up to a decade before there is a mass market uptake of battery storage, and the chair of the Australian Energy Market Operator may even try to convince themselves that the technology won’t be commercial for another two decades, but they might be kidding themselves: New research suggests that the cross-over point between the value of solar and storage and grid prices for Australian households may occur within one year.
It’s hard to locate on a map, but a new plan to disconnect from Australia’s power grid is bringing a surge of attention to the village of Tyalgum, writes Royce Kurmelovs.
Global investment bank Citi is predicting that the combination of near zero-variable cost energy sources such as solar and wind, along with smart analytics and “big data”, may deliver what the nuclear industry promised nearly half a century ago – free energy.
A project under MEIDECC’s Department of Energy has set a work program that by 2020 water pumps in Tonga will be solar powered and that few diesel based engines will be on standby.