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Top Stories – May 2016 | Energy Access Practitioner Network

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Top Stories – May 2016

Clean Energy Ministerial to feature parallel event on energy access

EnergyAccessX, an event at this year’s Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7), will focus on the critical role of clean technologies and distributed renewables in advancing universal energy access. Co-located with CEM7 in San Francisco on June 1, EnergyAccessX will gather a unique mix of entrepreneurs, thought leaders, technologists, designers, and policy experts from around the world to challenge conventional wisdom and put forth a compelling new vision for achieving the global goal of universal access to modern energy services by 2030.

Discussions and panels will include:

  • Beyond the Grid: Emerging Markets and Utilities of the Future
  • Disruptive Development: How Energy Changes Everything
  • The Revolution Will Be Decentralized: The Energy Policies that Accelerate Access
  • The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: The Horse to Bet On in The Valley of Unicorns
  • Democratizing Energy Access: How Collective Action Builds Markets and Changes the World


EnergyAccessX is supported by the CEM’s Global LEAP initiative, UK Department for International Development (DFID), and Power for All. The Host Committee includes EnergyAccessSF, United Nations Foundation, Sustainable Energy for All, the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) and Power Africa. EnergyAccessX is by invitation only. Please send invitation requests and questions to info@powerforall.org.


Power Africa: Beyond the Grid launches new fund for Zambia

In the first week of March, the Government of Sweden, Power Africa and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) announced the launch of the Power Africa: Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia, an ambitious new market-based undertaking to bring clean energy access to one million Zambians and accelerate private sector growth in energy generation and distribution in the country. REEEP will manage the Fund, which will be capitalized with up to EUR 20 million between 2016 to 2018 and begin financial operations in mid to late 2016. The Fund is expected to help grow the economy by supporting private enterprises, and intends to employ impact-oriented blended financing to directly support companies entering the country’s energy markets. More information is available on the REEEP website.


#EnergyMatters: Communicating about energy access during World Humanitarian Summit

The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) is taking place on May 23-24 in Istanbul, and the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) Humanitarian Working Group is using the occasion to raise awareness about energy access through its communications campaign #EnergyMatters. The goal is to help spread the word that energy access matters for the nearly 60 million displaced women, men, boys and girls living in humanitarian settings around the world, and to increase the inclusion of energy access as a key topic of discussion before and during the WHS. The Energy Access Practitioner Network is on the Steering Committee of SAFE and participated in the #EnergyMatters campaign through our Twitter and Facebook accounts.


India implements two new solar programs

During the months of April and May, India implemented two new solar programs:

  • The “Off-Grid and Decentralized Solar Applications” scheme will promote the use of solar home lights, solar street lights, power plants, solar pumps and mini- and micro-grids in rural areas of the country, where a significant fraction of the population remains without access to electricity. India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is providing a Central Financial Assistance (CFA) subsidy of 30% of the system cost to promote the use of solar in these remote locations.
  • In partnership with France, India also launched a solar finance program that will lower the cost of finance and facilitate the flow of as much as $1 trillion in investment to members of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). The countries also announced an additional program that aims to make solar technology available for farmers, in order to ensure the flow of affordable finance for solar projects and serve the interests of the farming communities in ISA member countries.

Addressing Ethiopia’s Off-Grid Targets

Power Africa is working with the Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) on its short-term off-grid targets for installation of rooftop solar systems on up to 70,000 government apartment buildings that will provide supplemental power to the grid. Although the cumulative energy provided could exceed 1,400 MW, each system estimated at 2 KW is classified as an off-grid system under Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid initiative.


World Bank Plans to Add 30 GW of Renewable Energy in Developing Countries

As part of its Climate Change Action Plan, the World Bank has announced plans to add 30 gigawatts of renewable energy in developing countries by 2020. The Climate Change Action Plan lays out concrete actions for helping countries to deliver on their pledges and set ambitious targets for 2020 in high-impact areas, including clean energy, green transport, climate-smart agriculture, and urban resilience, as well as for mobilizing the private sector to expand climate investments in developing countries.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group and the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries, aims to increase its climate investments from the current $2.2 billion a year to a goal of $3.5 billion a year, and will lead on leveraging an additional $13 billion a year in private sector financing by 2020. expand its climate investments in sectors including grid-connected renewable energy, green buildings, industrial/commercial energy efficiency, and climate-smart urban infrastructure.  IFC will also continue to use innovative financial instruments and advice to grow its business in distributed renewable energy, off-grid energy access, and climate-smart agriculture.

As part of this commitment, the World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar, a multi-donor facility managed by IFC with the financing support of Power Africa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, and the Infrastructure Development Collaboration Partnership Fund (DevCo), is a “one-stop shop” for governments that want to attract private investors to build large-scale solar plants but lack the purchasing power of bigger emerging markets where strong competition has driven down solar prices to virtual parity with oil, gas, and coal-fired electricity.

Scaling Solar includes a package of technical assistance, templates for documents, pre-approved financing, insurance products, and guarantees that take the guesswork out of whether a solar project is viable and bankable for both governments and investors. Under the program, a country can assess a project, manage a competitive tender, build a plant, and start generating cheap, sustainable solar power within two years—a fraction of the time it would take to do so independently, and faster than other generation sources such as hydro and thermal. Following a successful launch in Zambia, Scaling Solar has expanded elsewhere in Africa, with competitive tenders coming soon in Senegal and Madagascar. As the program grows, it is providing more opportunities for clean energy investment and creating a new market standard for developing large-scale solar power. For further details, visit here.