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Top Stories – July 2017 | Energy Access Practitioner Network

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Top Stories – July 2017

SEforALL hosts first working meeting of People-Centered Accelerator, promoting gender equality, social inclusion and women’s empowerment

Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) held its first design meeting for the People-Centered Accelerator in Krafla, Iceland. Experts from across the world travelled to Iceland’s Landsvirkjun power plant in Krafla to discuss how the Accelerator could support social inclusion, gender equality and women’s empowerment in the energy sector.

Participants included investors, NGOs, business and philanthropists from a variety of geographies and backgrounds to support the development of the Accelerator in setting out its core objectives for the next 18 months. The meeting focused on better understanding existing activities, identifying primary beneficiaries for the Accelerator and developing work streams with priority actions.

By working together, partners supporting the Accelerator aim to:

  • Enhance modern energy access for the very poorest people who will not be reached by business-as-usual approaches.
  • Increase women’s full participation in sustainable energy solutions.
  • Bring together and strengthen collaboration between local, regional, national and international stakeholders that are active in the energy, gender and social justice sectors.
  • Help unlock finance from private and public sources.

Following the meeting, SEforALL will work with stakeholders to formalize objectives and create an action-orientated work plan with appropriate working arrangements for the Accelerator. The aim is to formally launch the Accelerator at COP23 in Bonn, Germany later this year.


Sweden’s Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia Signs First Contracts for Modern Energy for One Million Zambians

Sweden’s Ambassador to Zambia Henrik Cederin has signed four contracts with companies offering a variety of rural energy solutions, marking the start of operations of the Power Africa: Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia (BGFZ). The US $25million Fund, which is financed by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and managed by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), aims to bring modern energy to one million Zambians, and build a solid foundation for continuing growth of the market such that it can serve all Zambians.

The four private companies joining the BGFZ under the first round of financing represent a range of product offerings and approaches, although all are dedicated to making clean, modern and reliable energy affordable to every Zambian.

The group includes Zambia’s VITALITE and Emerging Cooking Solutions, who have been offering high quality solar-powered home energy systems, lighting and innovative stoves, and now intend to scale operations significantly. It also includes Practitioner Network member Fenix Intl., which is teaming up with MTN Zambia to bring Uganda’s well-known ReadyPay Solar systems to the country. Another Practitioner Network member, Standard Microgrid Zambia, a developer and operator of standalone solar microgrid systems that has been piloted in Zambia’s Southern Province, has also received financing from the BGFZ to support its plans to build 150 microgrid systems across the country.

In joining the BGFZ, the companies are not only helping achieve the Fund’s and the broader Power Africa goals of expanding clean energy access across the continent, but they are doing so as part of an innovative new approach to results-based financing; one that values quality, service and performance, while allowing flexibility in achieving them.


Rwanda’s New Renewable Energy Fund

The Rwanda Renewable Energy Fund project (REFP), funded by the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) Trust Fund, is designed as a financial intermediary loan to increase electricity access in Rwanda through off-grid technologies.  The project aims to facilitate private-sector participation in renewable off-grid electrification, using existing country systems and promoting private sector investments to ensure sustainability of the approach.

The Government of Rwanda will act as the Borrower, taking the currency risk and on lend (for the line of credit and direct financing component) and transfer (for the technical assistance component) the project funds in local currency (Rwanda franc) to Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD), which will administer the REFP. As part of the Rural Electrification Strategy introduced last year, the REFP will provide 445,500 new off-grid connections, which will give about 1.8 million homes access to off-grid electricity by the end of 2018.


 IFC subscribes to L&T’s Green Bond to help finance Indian solar

The World Bank’s IFC has invested INR6.67 billion (US $103 million) in L&T Infrastructure Finance Company (LTFS) to help finance solar PV in India. The IFC is helping to finance Indian solar by subscribing to the green bonds issued by L&T Infrastructure Finance, a subsidiary of L&T Finance Holdings (LTFH) that is also promoted by Indian solar EPC firm Larsen & Toubro. L&T will use the funds to give loans to solar PV projects. Its US $3.51 billion portfolio already has 37% dedicated to renewables.

This past May, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) announced that bonds would qualify as green bonds if the proceeds were used for projects or assets of renewable energy, clean transport, sustainable water or land management, climate change adaptation, and energy efficiency. L&T’s green bond was the first to be certified by SEBI.


Moving Energy Initiative supports clean energy projects to boost health and enterprise in refugee camps

Thousands of refugees in Burkina Faso, Kenya and Jordan will benefit from greater access to affordable, clean energy for domestic use and for powering ‘microbusinesses’, thanks to the Moving Energy Initiative consortium (MEI). About 80 per cent of the approximately 65 million people displaced by conflict have minimal access to energy for cooking and heating, and about 90 per cent have no access to electricity at all.

MEI’s projects include a solar-powered pump that will provide clean water to more than 9,500 refugees who face severe shortages in Burkina Faso’s Goudoubo camp. Jordan’s Al Mafraq hospital, where hundreds of Syrian refugees and local residents receive care, will transition to more reliable solar energy, saving about 107 tons of?CO2 emissions per year. A solar ICT and learning hub in Kenya’s Kakuma camp will offer training on business and enterprise to camp residents and neighbouring communities, the majority of whom are aged between 18-24. The projects draw on the expertise of consortium members Practical Action and Energy4Impact who have a track record providing energy in difficult environments. All projects will train refugees and local staff to use and maintain these clean energy technologies.