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News Clips — June 2015 | Energy Access Practitioner Network

News

News Clips — June 2015

Life without light in rural India: why solar lanterns can’t compete with the grid, The Guardian

Chanda sometimes wakes long before dawn to sweep her house and beat the husk off her rice. Now in her 70s, Chanda has long since lost her sight. The sound of her morning activities reverberates down the narrow, unpaved street of the Adivasi colony, through the mud brick walls of the homes stacked either side, waking her neighbours. Next door, Leena complains but is sympathetic. “Living without electricity is like being blind,” she says. “You move around your home and cook without being able to see. Even in the day it is the middle of the night.”


What does Tesla mean for energy in Africa?, The Guardian

With only 30% of people in Africa having access to electricity, it’s little wonder Tesla’s Powerwall home-storage batteries are being touted as the next big revolution for African energy. In countries like Nigeria diesel-powered generators are the default back-up for chronic, daily national power cuts. Tesla’s Powerwall battery works as a back-up that is not reliant on fossil fuels. It stores renewable energy like solar and wind and can last more than 24 hours. All this at no cost other than the upfront cost of the Powerwall itself.


Africa: Singer, Akon, Launches “Solar Academy” in Africa, Premium Times

Senegalese-American musician, Akon, on Tuesday launched a Solar Academy, aimed at giving African engineers and entrepreneurs the skills needed to develop solar power. The star previously launched the Akon Lighting Africa initiative aimed at bringing electricity to some 600 million Africans.


Applied Solar Technologies raises $40 million

Mumbai: Delhi-based solar power company Applied Solar Technologies (India) Pvt. Ltd (AST) has raised $40 million in a fresh round of funding led by Future Fund, the Australian government’s sovereign wealth fund.


How to Light the Off-Grid World in a Decade, Huffington Post

More people live without electricity today than when Edison powered his first light bulb – about 1.3 billion. They primarily burn kerosene for light, at a cost of over $25 billion annually. They walk miles to charge their mobile phones. They live disconnected from the modern information age without the ability to power a laptop or a TV.


Financial Innovation and Solar Power: Conquering Energy Poverty, CGAP

Over one billion people globally live without access to electricity and another billion have unreliable connections. Can more people get electricity with the help of financial innovation? Early evidence suggests yes.


Could new scheme conserve water, boost incomes and combat climate change?, IWMI

A smallholder farmer in India’s arid Gujarat state has started harvesting what could become the country’s most climate-smart cash crop yet – sunshine.


Four Ways Energy Access Can Propel Financial Inclusion, CGAP

East Africa is known as a hotbed of innovation in financial services. Now that mobile money platforms have become widespread, the private sector is using these services to power the delivery of additional services, such as pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar energy. Interestingly, we are now seeing this relationship work in reverse: usage of PAYG energy services is also propelling financial inclusion.


From Fringe to Mainstream: the role of mobile in energy access, GSMA

Last week over 2000 people from across the globe convened in New York for the Sustainable Energy for All Forum (SE4All Forum). The forum, in its 2nd year, brought together governments, multilateral and bilateral organisations, NGOs, entrepreneurs and academics to discuss our collective progress towards reaching the goals set forth by SE4ALL.


Power generation alone won’t deliver energy to Africa’s poor, Sun-Connect News

At the United Nations last week, the Secretary-General convened governments and civil society organisations to identify how to achieve Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) by 2030. SE4ALL head Kandeh Yumkella rallied participants around the slogan ‘turning commitments into kilowatt hours for real people.’ The slogan was as stirring as the need is great. Energy poverty – lack of household access to a base level of electricity and quality of cooking – remains remarkably widespread. In sub-Saharan Africa alone 620 million people, or over two-thirds of the population, lack access to electricity; 730 million people, or 80% of the population, lack access to modern cooking services. Yumkella’s rallying cry galvanized participants, but speakers and online commentators transformed it in a revealing way. In a matter of hours, they had shortened it to: ‘Let’s turn commitments into kilowatt hours.’


Micro lending to boost off grid solar solutions, Business Recorder

Late last month, BR Research sat down with Liam Grealish, Program Manager, Lighting Pakistan at International Finance Corporation (IFC). The programme is designed to catalyze the market for quality off-grid solar devices in Pakistan, where Liam assists quality solar manufacturers to find distributors for solar devices in the domestic market; develop market intelligence on Pakistan’s solar market; and manage a large-scale consumer awareness campaign on quality assured solar devices.


World’s first recycled battery launched, TCE Today

Battery giant Energizer has launched the world’s first battery to contain post-consumer recycled battery waste.


Will Silicon Valley Take on Clean Energy Access?, Huffington Post

With interest from Elon Musk to a16z’s Steven Sinofsky, momentum in Silicon Valley may be heading in an unlikely direction – towards addressing energy poverty.


Zanzibar’s ‘Solar Mamas’ flip the switch on rural homes, gender roles, PRI

Take a step back from Zanzibar’s white sand beaches and big hotels and you’re in a very different world. One where the island’s dusty, inland villages largely go dark once the sun sets. This is when the differences between people who have electricity and those who don’t are most pronounced.


Nigerian Energy Company Set to win Access Infra Africa $5m Prize, PM News Nigeria

On June 11th, during the 2015 Africa Energy Forum in Dubai, Access Infra Africa will announce the winner of its “Access Co-Development Fund”, which includes a $5 million USD prize towards their proposed renewable energy project.  The competition received 55 project submissions across 18 African countries and has released the four finalists: Quaint Global Energy Solutions, with a submission for a 50 MW solar project in Nigeria; Flatbush Solar, for a 20 MW solar project in Cameroon; ADA Solar Energy, for a 20 MW solar project in Ghana; and Wagonanze Investments, for a 10 MW solar project in Tanzania.


EU nations agree on updated International Energy Charter, Fierce Energy

Late last month, the EU released a newly signed International Energy Charter, which covers issues such as the development of international trade in energy, efficient energy markets, energy investments, availability and development of energy sources, environmental protection, and energy infrastructure.  The report highlighted ongoing global energy infrastructure needs, saying that  $48 trillion in investment is needed by 2035.  In a statement on the charter, Minister Henk Kamp called it an “important tool to help secure the required energy investments.”