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Top Stories – July 2016 | Energy Access Practitioner Network

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Top Stories – July 2016

USAID commits over $38 million to global entrepreneurship, including new Grand Challenge for Energy Access

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced four new investments totaling more than $38 million that will help mobilize the power of global entrepreneurs and innovators in the fight to end extreme poverty.  These investments will connect innovators around the world with investors and capital to increase access to energy and expand food security in developing countries.

As part of USAID’s ongoing support of global entrepreneurs, Scaling Off-Grid Energy: A Grand Challenge for Development was announced by Power Africa and USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab – an investment of $36 million to empower entrepreneurs and investors to grow a market to connect 20 million households in sub-Saharan Africa that live beyond the reach of the electricity grid with modern, clean, affordable electricity.

In partnership with the U.K. Department for International Development and the Shell Foundation, the Grand Challenge for Development will help build a vibrant market across sub-Saharan Africa by supporting the growth of innovative entrepreneurs that are making off-grid solutions affordable for rural families through profitable business ventures, and by catalyzing private investment to help these enterprises reach new markets. The Grand Challenge will also drive new technological innovation, and address constraints to market growth in specific countries.

In addition, through a competitive call for innovations, USAID will provide up to $2.5 million in funding and mentoring to entrepreneurs to help them adapt, pilot and scale proven cool storage solutions to prevent food loss and waste in countries where the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative is focused.

Finally, the Global LEAP Awards 2016-17 Off-Grid Refrigeration Competition is conducting an open Request for Information process to get feedback from stakeholders on how to design and structure the Competition.


 

India Energy Access Summit 2016 to take place next month

Building on the success of the 1st India Off-Grid Energy Summit (IEAS) held last year, the 2nd edition of the summit will further catalyze ideas and innovations to strengthen the decentralized renewable energy sector in India.

The Climate Group, in partnership with Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Clean Energy Access Network (CLEAN) – the India country affiliate of the Energy Access Practitioner Network – and South Asia Network for Clean Energy (StANCE), organized the first-ever India Off-Grid Energy Summit in New Delhi, India, on 19 August 2015. The summit provided a much-needed platform for a diverse set of participants including practitioners, investors, donors and funders, who assembled to discuss about the energy access framework of the Government of India, address pertinent issues and arrive at a collective roadmap to create an enabling environment for the decentralized renewable energy sector in India to rapidly progress and contribute to national priorities on equitable social and economic development. The summit focused on examining ways to work with government and showing how the sector can harness the potential of clean energy market scale-up and bring energy access to all through last-mile connectivity.

IEAS 2016 will serve as a platform to showcase both the achievements and best practices of decentralized clean energy entrepreneurs as well as the challenges and issues that need to be overcome to enable DRE to play a truly complementary role to centralized energy providers and move the conversation beyond electrification to include various other productive uses of energy (including thermal, cooling and other processing applications) in order to realize India’s sustainable developmental goals. The summit will catalyze symbiotic partnerships among practitioners, investors, policymakers, technology developers and training providers working towards achieving universal energy access.

The main event of the 2016 summit will be held at Hotel Le Meridien in New Delhi on 11 August 2016. Side events, some of which are open to all for participation, include a Practitioner Workshop that CLEAN is convening on 10 August as well as an industry networking event with super-efficient appliance manufacturers that CLEAN is convening with Global LEAP on 12 August.

There will be two overarching themes for the summit:

  1. Grid Complementary Role of DRE – Looking at decentralized renewable energy as an integral part of national energy access plans, wherein energy access initiatives complement national grid extension, and the business models take cognizance of this along with end-user satisfaction.
  2. Aspirational Uses of Energy – Looking at the larger picture to enhance productivity at various levels through renewable energy, thereby contributing to the national aspirations of social and economic growth. The productive use of energy will cut across livelihood systems (both farm sector and non-farm sector), employment generation, social infrastructure (health centers, educational institutions, panchayats) and so on.


Within those overarching themes, the summit will focus on:

  1. Financing energy access scale-up – Identifying underlying challenges around affordable financing and developing pragmatic solutions to facilitate scale-up through debt, which still remains the critical unmet need of the sector, as well as equity and soft financing.
  2. Policy and regulatory framework for an enabling environment – Analyzing recent policy frameworks from the point of view of the sector and discussing the best ways to support it at the national, regional and local levels.

To register for the main event and the open side events, please click here. All Practitioner Network members interested or operating in India are encouraged to participate. Please note that the organizers are offering a limited number of travel allowances for eligible practitioners.


Moving Energy Initiative enters second phase

The Moving Energy Initiative (MEI) is a ground-breaking international partnership between GVEP International, Chatham House, Practical Action Consulting, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to change the way energy is delivered for refugees. The partnership recently kicked off Phase 2 of the initiative, which will include design and implementation of new approaches to providing energy access, with innovations relating to technologies, institutional arrangements and modes of private sector engagement.

Over the course of last year, the consortium gathered evidence through desk and field research, engaging with humanitarian actors and reviewing pilot projects in camps focusing on the issue of sustainable energy access and management. The findings were published in a global level report Heat, Light and Power for Refugees: Saving Lives, Reducing Costs as well as a series of toolkits and surveys.

Building on this research, Phase 2 will implement a series of initiatives aimed at addressing identified bottlenecks and demonstrating new approaches on the ground. These initiatives combine a mix of global and local interventions, including optimizing the management of energy consumption and related data, addressing funding challenges, supporting the development of integrated energy plans, improving the management of energy infrastructure, promoting low-carbon interventions, and supporting local market development, amongst others.

Over the next 18 months the MEI will design and test innovative solutions to address the institutional barriers to expanding energy access and improving energy management. The program will work in consultation with a wide variety of stakeholders to improve the way solutions are delivered and to support the widespread and sustained adoption of new practices. The project aims to build the evidence base and the case for change for humanitarian systems to improve the provision and management of energy services to displaced people.


The Level Market: World’s first ‘Amazon for Aid’ opens for business

With lives at stake following disasters and crisis situations, the critical process of aid purchasing receives a boost with the opening of the first online marketplace for humanitarian products.  The once-difficult challenge of finding, pricing, locating and purchasing life-saving products such as tents, solar lights and chargers, food, water filters and more, is now made easy on The Level Market (TLM), touted as the first e-commerce site for aid and development products, which can be accessed via www.thelevelmarket.com. TLM’s goal is to connect buyers and suppliers for fast, cost-effective, efficient transactions to speed aid goods to where they are needed most.

Through the website, potential buyers can execute side-by-side comparisons of single vs. bulk purchasing options, product rating, price, availability, technical specifications, certifications and warranty. Buyers can also request quotes from multiple suppliers before making a purchasing decision. The site features more than 150 products from 50 suppliers, including popular systems from Practitioner Network members Fenix, NRS, d.light, WakaWaka, Freeplay, Orb Energy, Greenlight Planet, Nokero, Envirofit, Unite to Light and more.