United Nations has called on
businesses, governments, and
civil society to achieve Sustainable
Energy for All by 2030
Top Stories – June 2016
The Clean Energy Ministerial has announced the winners of the 2015-16 Global LEAP Awards, an international competition that identifies and promotes the world’s best, most energy-efficient off-grid appliances. This round of the Global LEAP Awards features competitions for televisions and fans that are designed for use with off-grid solar energy systems.
This year, Practitioner Network member NIWA won Global LEAP Awards in the large television, small television, pedestal fan, medium table fan, and small table fan categories. Practitioner Network member d.light won the Award in the medium television category.
Detailed information about all Global LEAP Awards winners and finalists – including product performance data and sales contact information – is available in the 2016 Global LEAP Awards Buyer’s Guide. Global LEAP Awards winners and finalists are eligible to participate in Global LEAP’s innovative new procurement incentives program, which drives and demonstrates scale in the global off-grid appliance market. Expansion of this program into East Africa was also announced at the Ministerial, along with the third round of the Global LEAP Awards. The 2016-17 awards will be supported by Power Africa, through the U.S. Department of Energy and the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) U.S. Global Development Lab.
Please see this press release for more information about these announcements, which together will significantly amplify Global LEAP’s efforts to advance the off-grid clean energy market.
Ashden Awards Winners Announced
Established in 2001, the Ashden Awards are a globally recognized measure for excellence in the field of green energy. Winners are selected through detailed applications as well as through visits from Ashden to review applicants’ work and meet project representatives. The culmination of the process is the Ashden Awards Ceremony in London, where prizes are presented to winners from across the globe to help further their work.
This year’s winners include Practitioner Network members Frontier Markets, Greenlight Planet, and SunFunder. Frontier Markets offers a unique distribution model to provide high-quality solar lamps and other solar systems to hard-to-reach villages, using a network of trained women called Solar Sahelis to be the face of their marketing and after-sales service. Greenlight Planet develops and manufactures reliable and affordable solar products for the most remote regions, with sales to date of over five million solar products across 40 countries. SunFunder is unlocking capital for beyond-the-grid solar companies by providing investors the opportunity to lend to a carefully selected portfolio of solar businesses. It has so far provided over $8 million of finance to solar businesses in eight African countries and India, helping them to offer solar electricity to thousands of people. To learn more about their work as well as the other finalists, please see here.
Secretary-General Speaks at EU Development Days, Sustainable Energy for All
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the opening ceremony of the European Development Days in Brussels on June 15 – an annual two-day forum organized by the European Commission bringing together the development community to share ideas and experiences. The Secretary-General said the focus of this year’s meeting on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was timely and influential, given that the meetings have fostered partnership and innovation for a better future for the past 10 years.
“National borders do not defend against climate change, emerging diseases or economic shocks,” Ban said. “Our challenges are global, and it is only as a global family that we can overcome them.”
Acknowledging that developing countries need special attention, he nonetheless emphasized that all countries have inequality and youth unemployment, are vulnerable to economic instability, and need to promote gender equality.
“The goals set out a path for the future of our planet, and all who inhabit it. Everyone, including and especially those who live in the most developed nations, has a role to play in ensuring that our planet can support the people of coming generations,” the Secretary-General said. “The 2030 Agenda represents a paradigm shift. It challenges us to rethink how we do development.”
Ban stressed that “every effort” should be made to meet official development assistance (ODA) targets. Commending those countries that have met the target of 0.7 percent of GDP, he urged all European Union Member States to do so.
Later in the day, Ban spoke to the Advisory Board of Sustainable Energy for All, a group he co-chairs with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. “Sustainable development is simply not possible without sustainable energy,” said the Secretary-General, who launched the initiative five years ago. Its goals – universal access to modern energy services and greatly increased use of renewable energy and energy efficiency – have since been reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals (as SDG 7).
“We already see a lot happening around the world,” Ban added. “New technologies are bringing energy to areas formerly out of reach of traditional grids. Renewable energy prices are falling. Energy efficiency is providing triple-win solutions across the sustainable development agenda.”
The Advisory Board welcomed a new Strategic Framework for Results 2016-21, titled “Going Further, Faster” and praised the work of Rachel Kyte, Sustainable Energy for All’s Chief Executive Officer and Special Representative of the Secretary-General. She said: “We will empower leaders to go further, faster by brokering partnerships and unlocking finance. This will help us secure an energy transition that is clean, affordable and just – because no one must be left behind.”
The new strategy marks a turning point, building on Sustainable Energy for All’s strong advocacy role ahead of the SDGs and Paris Agreement to embark on a new phase where the emphasis is on helping partners to take rapid, tangible action on those agreements. The full strategy document will be unveiled at the Business and Climate Summit in London on June 28.
India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy presents solar awards and introduces mini grid policy
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), in cooperation with the GEF-UNDP program for concentrating solar thermal, organized the Concentrated Solar Technology Excellence Awards 2016 ceremony in New Delhi on April 29. Piyush Goyal, Indian Minister of State for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, awarded prizes to 102 institutions, companies and agencies for their achievements in high-temperature solar process heat and cooking. This was the first time in the history of India’s solar thermal industry that so many awards were presented at only one event.
In addition, MNRE has issued a draft national policy for mini and micro grids. The policy aims to create up to 500 MW capacity in the private sector in the next five years. It is still in draft stage and is meant as a guideline for states, who can adapt or modify the policy based on their local needs.
The government is in the process of electrifying 18,452 villages by May 2018. Out of this, 14,204 villages have been identified for extension of the grid, and 3,449 villages are to be electrified through off-grid power projects. As per the government data, grid extension work is progressing ahead of schedule. and 49% of the target has been achieved in the past one year. However, only 16% of the off-grid target has been achieved so far.
Several start-up enterprises have sprung up in the last few years, offering multiple business models and product solutions in this space. Companies such as Practitioner Network members Husk Power, Gram Power, Gram Oorja and OMC Power have enjoyed reasonable success, but a scalable, profitable model seems to be largely elusive. Main challenges cited include customer inability to pay (poor affordability), poor policy framework and multiple implementation challenges.
Bloomberg reported this month that solar power set another record-low price as renewable energy developers working in the United Arab Emirates bid as little as 2.99 cents a kilowatt-hour to develop 800 megawatts of solar-power projects for the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority – 15 percent lower than the previous record set in Mexico last month. The lowest-priced solar power has plunged almost 50 percent in the past year.
Plunging costs along with SunEdison’s bankruptcy have caused concern whether the cheapest projects will ever be profitable. The winners of recent auctions in Mexico, Peru and Chile were diversified power companies like Enel, which perhaps prioritized market share over profit maximization. The shift to tenders from feed-in tariffs for clean energy globally has helped governments rein in support for renewables while prodding companies to deliver lower costs, shifting pressure away from government budgets and toward developers, which must strike a balance between winning new contracts and maintaining profits.