Advancing the clean energy agenda: how energy storage & hydrogen are leading the way

David Lecoque, CEO, ARE

Pooling development cooperation and private sector potentials for renewable energy in Africa

Mareike Luedtke, Project Manager, GIZ

Access to affordable, reliable, and clean energy is one of the cornerstones for sustainable socio-economic development and growth in Africa. Despite progress in the industry, energy access especially in remote areas remains far from universal.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has recognised the potential of private sector driven solutions for energy access in its partner countries. As its implementing agency, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH bundles public and private resources and competencies to jointly execute innovative projects with a strong development impact in Africa.

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As part of this private sector programme, we are pleased to support ARE in its mission to connect and empower rural electrification technology providers around the world, offering membership to 20 promising companies in Europe and Africa.

In Botswana and Namibia, we have established a Learning Energy Efficiency Network (LEEN) for the tourism sector. This network encompasses 12 companies for which a comprehensive analysis of the companies' energy consumption is conducted, followed by recommendations aimed at achieving energy savings and fostering the utilisation of clean energy sources and storage systems.

On a bigger scale, green hydrogen has the potential to play a crucial role in development cooperation as it can serve as a means to decarbonise industries as well as a boost for local economies and therefore a driver of development. Our Green Hydrogen Business Alliance (H2A) includes companies in development cooperation and aims at contributing to a socio-ecological transformation by supporting the market ramp-up of green hydrogen and its derivatives (PtX).

With its wide range of studies and information events, the business network provides insights into current business opportunities and challenges in partner countries to create a transparent market environment and to eventually attract private investments into the partner countries. Since 2019, the H2A for example supports the development of a PtX reference plant in Morocco, providing a platform for a close dialogue between the project partners, the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy and the KfW development bank, and the private sector. Additionally, the Business Alliance launched two studies that analysed possible green hydrogen business cases in Morocco and a possible pipeline transport from North Africa to the European market.

In our ongoing quest for innovative green technologies, we are delighted to connect with ARE Members and companies to explore sustainable solutions for rural Africa's development.



The role of storage solutions in DRE projects: An outlook to different case studies

In the global energy transition challenge, storage technology will be essential to ensure maximum renewable energy penetration.

The energy sector has put a lot of focus on implementing storage solutions at the utility-scale level so far, but equally important will be providing flexibility and storage capabilities to distribution networks and microgrids in rural and industrial settings.

With more than a decade of experience in the design and development of islanded systems with different renewable generation technologies, at Norvento Enerxía we offer our customers the possibility of incorporating storage to their DRE projects.

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Norvento features the nGM converter, with power outputs ranging from 50 kVA to 200 kVA, as well as our nBESS li-ion-based battery system with storage capacity ranging from 100 to 2,000 kWh (with power outputs from 50 to 1,000 KVA). Both technologies combined enable the hybridisation of different renewable generation assets with storage and even non-renewable assets, such as CHP modules used for back-up purposes. Our nBESS containers typically come in preconfigured 20’ and 40’ versions for easy deployment in industrial and rural environments.

Experience has shown us that tailoring equipment performance to the needs of our customers and the specific conditions of their projects is vital. Therefore, our expert automation and control team always takes care of the integration process, especially in those cases where, for example, synchronisation with the grid for backup applications is required, thus ensuring a robust and reliable electricity supply for the customer.

Recently, we have developed a few projects that illustrate the variety of applications of storage in DRE projects.

  1. Energy self-consumption project with storage in a dairy farm GRANJA GAVIEIRO (Spain)

This dairy farm opted for a rooftop PV system with battery storage in an annex room, providing extra power during milking periods at a farm located in Palas de Rei (Lugo), using the energy stored with the photovoltaic surplus and the night load.

  1. ENZEN Caribbean Energy Storage Projects (Caribbean Region)

Installation of three containerised storage systems with 40' nBESS batteries in three Caribbean sites, isolated and, so far, dependent on fossil fuels:

  • Guaquenám Island (Guyana) (1332 kWh | 400 kVA)
  • Carriacou Island (Grenada) (932 kWh | 400 kVA)
  • Paramaribo (Suriname) (666 kWh | 400 kVA)

Our hybrid solution with pre-existing gensets and photovoltaic generation, will enable these three locations to achieve greater autonomy and the decarbonisation of their electricity supply to a large extent.

  1. Grid reinforcement projects with storage in rural areas for a distribution network operator in Europe

Our project for this utility provides ten sites located mainly in rural areas in northern Spain with a solution consisting of our nBESS (832 kWh, 400 kVA), which will provide extra resilience to the distribution network in towns located at the end of line.

Green hydrogen for off-grid access

As of 2019, 759 million people or nearly 10% of global population still do not have access to reliable energy.

H2E System is an award-winning green hydrogen energy solution designed for these under-electrified population. Modular, compact, and lightweight, H2E System is highly transportable and scalable/customisable to accommodate different load profiles – consisting of solar PV panels to generate electricity, an electrolyser to produce hydrogen cells, captured and stored in pressurised hydrogen storage tanks and depleted during solar inactivity. Site and safety considerations are incorporated in the system support infrastructure – for example, above ground level powerhouse to mitigate flood damage and passive and active ventilation mechanisms to safely disperse hydrogen leakages.

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In August 2022, a H2E System pilot – the first of its kind in Malaysia - was successfully carried out at rural government clinic serving a total population of 2,172 people in Long Loyang, a remote village located approximately 183 km south of Miri town in Sarawak to supply sustainable and reliable zero emission electricity for essential lighting and refrigeration (vaccines, medicines, etc.), defibrillators and other basic medical equipment.

Current situation

Conventional off-grid facilities typically rely on diesel generators for energy. Diesel supply is often irregular and can cost many times more than in urban areas due to location, terrain, and weather.

Irregular energy supply constrains clinics’ ability to dispense modern health service – stocking sufficient vaccines and medicines as well as operating modern electrical medical apparatus. Attracting graduate doctors and nurses is also challenging under such situations. Villages constrained by limited and reduced power output, noise and air pollution and fuel price instability. Off-grid telco towers using lead acid batteries as energy storage are faced with battery misuse – overcharging causes irreparable damage and shortens battery lifespan, requiring replacements every 3-5 years. Battery replacement incur significant operational expenses and high environmental impact from waste disposal.

Green hydrogen as solution

H2E System compares favourably over other conventional off-grid electrification technologies with its longer lifespan and minimal running costs. Unlike batteries that need periodic replacement and fuel-dependent generators, H2E System is 100% renewable and circular and applied widely to rural schools, villages, clinics, border patrol, work sites and telco towers.

Lasting Impact

Green hydrogen solutions have deep and profound impact on many aspects of life, directly benefitting rural/off-grid communities by elevating living standards, jobs creation and stimulating economic activity while contributing towards national environmental targets and economic growth.


  • GET.invest: Supporting Kenya making the switch to electric mobility

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    In Nairobi, people seeking public transport often jump on a matatu – a low-cost minibus run by a small operator. But Africa’s one million buses consume over one billion litres of diesel each year, creating one of the largest sources of CO2 emissions on the continent.

    At the same time, more than 90% of Kenya’s electricity comes from renewable sources such as hydro, geothermal and wind energy, so shifting to electric buses could be a big climate win. With that in mind, two energy entrepreneurs left the world of off-grid solar to found BasiGo in 2021, aiming to make a big impact with a small carbon footprint in electric transport by using an innovative business model.

    BasiGo’s Pay-As-You-Drive model takes on the financial load: operators buy the bus but lease the battery from BasiGo, paying about $0.45 for each kilometre they drive and for the electricity to recharge the battery overnight at a BasiGo depot. Not having to buy the battery makes an e-bus more affordable at around $900 per month.

    Supported by the GET.invest Finance Catalyst, advisory to BasiGo involved revisions on its financial model, fundraising material and pitch. With these elements in place, the advisor has introduced the company to multiple potential financiers who focus on e-mobility ventures at a relatively early stage, resulting in €3.5 million in seed funding.

    This investment led to BasiGo buses having carried, up to date, 797,230 passengers in a total of 573,408 kilometres. GET.invest continues to support BasiGo towards larger financial closes and, consequently, more passengers and less emissions. 

    The GET.invest Finance Catalyst is free of charge and available throughout the year. Applications can be made online and are evaluated in recurring cycles of three to four weeks.

    GET.invest is a European programme supported by the European Union, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Austria. Since 2022, GET.invest has been mandated to serve as the Team Europe One Stop Shop, the access point for information about and facilitated access to support and financing instruments for green energy in Africa.

    For more information, visit GET.invest website or contact us at

  • Join us at the 17th Microgrid Global Innovation Forum (London, 26-27 Sep)

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    Hybrid renewable energy microgrids are increasingly seen as a key strategy for decarbonising the energy mix, meeting the growing demand for electricity, and advancing rural electrification in developing regions. To help the industry achieve this vision, the 17th edition of the Microgrid Global Innovation Forum – EMEA on 26-27 September 2023 in London, focuses on the latest microgrid advances, case studies and deployments in both off-grid and grid-tied scenarios.

    Hosted by the Smart Grid Observer, the event brings together developers, project owners, non-governmental organisations, finance professionals and technology innovators interested in maximising the effective use of "islandable" renewable energy microgrids. The emphasis is on networking and sharing the most recent technology developments and case studies for advancing these systems in critical-need applications.

    ARE will be moderating a session on 'Innovative tools for the long-term sustainability of microgrid projects', featuring ARE Members.

    ARE is an official Association Partner for this Forum.

    ARE Members get 20% discount on tickets.

  • Join us at SAM for a workshop on Microfinance for Productive Use of Energy in DRE Systems (Lomé, 19 Oct)

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    This workshop is organised by ARE and ADA Microfinance, with the support of ADEME and in the framework of SAM in Lomé on 19 October 2023, aims to take a comprehensive look at DRE and productive use of renewable energy (PURE) solutions and existing financing solutions for DRE consumers and PURE clients.

    It will discuss what is needed to boost the adoption of DRE and PURE, showcase examples of partnerships between MFIs and DRE service providers, address the need for tailored financial instruments for women clients and entrepreneurs, and deliberate on what MFIs need to provide more and adapted financing to the DRE and PURE sector.

    ARE Members get a 10% discount on SAM tickets.

  • ARE to participate in 10th Asia Clean Energy Summit (Singapore, 24-26 Oct)

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    ACES 2023 in its 10th staging, will take place from 24-26 October at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, and part of the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW).

    Themed “Clean Energy for a Clean World”, ACES supports the region’s net zero ambitions and the need to accelerate just clean energy transition with appropriate technologies, policies and financing. The conference programme includes renewable energy strategies focussing on Solar and Storage, Energy Efficiency, Green Hydrogen, Decarbonising Carbon Markets, Trading and Carbon Capture, Utilisation & Storage (CCUS).

    ARE will join the discussions with a view to address access to affordable, clean and reliable electricity, decarbonisation of economies and creation of green jobs through renewable electricity deployment in South-East Asia.

    ARE Members get a 10% discount on ACES tickets.

  • ARE to participate at the International Vienna Energy and Climate Forum (Vienna, 2-3 Nov)

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    The International Vienna Energy and Climate Forum, held in Vienna on 2-3 November 2023, builds on the legacy of the Vienna Energy Forum, established in 2008, a bi-annual event exploring the role of energy in development. The VEF was the first and only event exploring this nexus that contributed its recommendations into UN processes. VEF was, in fact, the birthplace recommending the sub-goals of SDG7 towards the United Nations General Assembly. In 2023, VEF was rebranded to highlight the nexus to energy, development and climate.

    ARE will be speaking at the plenary on Solutions for Powering Sustainable Agriculture and in the Ministerial-CEO Roundtable on Food Systems.

  • Ticket shop open: OFF-GRID Expo + Conference (Augsburg, 7-8 Dec)

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    There’s only less than 3 months left until the start of OFF-GRID Expo + Conference 2023 in Augsburg, Germany. From 7-8 December 2023, the only neutral congress fair in Europe, with a special focus on off-grid solar, wind and hydropower systems and self-sufficient power supply, opens its doors for the experts of the branch. Besides exhibitors from all over the world (review 2022: 62 exhibitors from 12 countries) and the opportunity for intensive networking and an interactive supporting programme, the event offers a top-class conference, which we support as an industry partner.

    With topics like "Utilisation of green hydrogen for off-grid energy access" or the concretisation of "Energy storage solutions", the conference offers the perfect platform for knowledge exchange and know-how transfer. For detailed information about the conference programme, click here.

    Have we aroused your interest? Then take your chance and book your ticket now! Click here to go to the ticket shop. ARE Members are eligible for a discount.

    You would rather be an exhibitor? Then submit your non-binding request here.

    We are looking forward to meet you in Augsburg!

  • Shortlisted: ARE selected as finalist of the Association Excellence Awards

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    ARE is thrilled to be been shortlisted for the International Association of the Year Award at the Association Excellence Awards 2023!

    This recognition would not have been possible without the ARE Secretariat, Board and Members - so a big thank you!

  • Tune in to the I4E webinar on Energy Storage & Green Hydrogen (7 Sep)

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    Join us for an enlightening and informative webinar under the ARE Innovation for Electrification Series on the topic of Energy Storage and Green Hydrogen on 7 September 2023 at 14:00 CEST!

    Delve into the forefront of sustainable energy solutions as we explore the pivotal role of energy storage technologies and the promising potential of green hydrogen. Discover how these cutting-edge innovations are revolutionising the renewable energy landscape, offering scalable solutions to store and distribute clean energy. 

    Our expert speakers will showcase their solutions and dive deep into the intricate mechanisms, environmental benefits, and real-world applications of energy storage and green hydrogen technologies. The showcase will be followed by an audience interaction.

    Register now

  • Registrations open: Burundi Renewable Energy Access Days (Bujumbura, 3-5 Oct)

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    As part of their efforts to stimulate the achievement of SDG 7 in Burundi, supported by GET.invest Burundi, the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA), the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) and the Burundi Renewable Energy Association (BUREA), the European Union and the World Bank will jointly organise the 2nd edition of the Burundi Renewable Energy Access Days (BREAD), from 3 to 5 October 2023 in Bujumbura, Burundi.

    The event will take place under the patronage of the Government of Burundi, the Ministry of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines (MHEM) and the Directorate-General for Energy. 

    The Burundi Renewable Energy Access Days is the main energy sector meeting in the country

    1. assessing emerging considerations for Burundi's strategy on universal access to electricity coupled with the climate agenda and 
    2. providing a platform for knowledge exchange, networking and showcasing of renewable energy products and services.

    Register now

  • Registrations open: EU Green Power Transformation Forum 2023 (Ezulwini, 20-21 Nov)

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    ARE supported by GET.invest, GET.transform and the European Union Delegation to the Kingdom of Eswatini (EUD) are pleased to welcome you to the EU Green Power Transformation Forum on 20-21 November 2023 in Eswatini.

    The Forum will discuss renewable energy technologies and solutions in Eswatini and enable business partnerships and knowledge sharing to mobilise investments in renewable energy in Eswatini.

    Following up on last year’s successful edition of the Green Power Transformation Forum, this two-day event will address the role of public and private sector actors in advancing the energy transition in Eswatini and key issues and opportunities, such as project investment and skills development. In addition, the event will allow for pitching sessions for public and private financiers and innovative solution providers.

    The event will equally showcase the progress made thus far with the support of the European Union to the Renewable Energy sector in Eswatini.

    Register now

  • ARE Delegation to COP28 (Dubai, 30 Nov – 12 Dec)

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    This year's UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) will take place in Dubai, UAE from 30 November to 12 December 2023.

    ARE will be present along with a delegation of its Members to actively participate in events, discussions and meetings in the Blue Zone.

    We look forward to meeting the DRE sector in person!

  • IRENA: Innovation Landscape for Smart Electrification

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    In order to achieve the collective goal to secure a carbon-neutral future, the global energy transition focuses not only on how energy is produced but also, importantly, on how it is consumed; both supply and demand must be simultaneously transformed to deliver the efficient and effective decarbonisation of the entire system. Innovation in end-use sectors is therefore integral to the transition.

    This report presents key innovations that can form the basis of smart electrification strategies. These strategies offer cost-effective decarbonisation pathways to electrify end-use sectors, increase system flexibility and incorporate large shares of renewable energy in power systems. The report offers pathways to end-use electrification in the areas of power to mobility; power to heat and cooling; and power to hydrogen. These are based on 100 key innovations, categorised within four dimensions: (i) technology and infrastructure; (ii) market design and regulation; (iii) system planning and operation; and (iv) business models.

  • IEA: The State of Clean Technology Manufacturing

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    Technology manufacturing plays a pivotal role in the energy transition required to meet climate, energy security and economic development goals. Deploying clean energy technologies at the pace required to put the world on a trajectory consistent with net zero emissions by mid-century will demand rapid expansion in manufacturing capacity, underpinned by secure, resilient and sustainable supply chains for their components and materials.

    This Energy Technology Perspectives Special Briefing, The State of Clean Technology Manufacturing, provides an update on recent progress in clean energy technology manufacturing in key regions. It focuses on five technologies – solar PV, wind, batteries, electrolysers and heat pumps – that will be critical to the energy transition. Manufacturing capacity for these technologies is expanding rapidly, driven by supportive policies, ambitious corporate strategies and consumer demand. The aim is to keep decision makers informed of investment trends and the impact that recent industrial strategies are having in these highly dynamic sectors.

  • Energy 4 Impact: Charge Up! Battery-as-a-service: A pioneering business model for driving the e-mobility transition in Africa

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    The potential for electric motorcycles in Kenya is considerable, however, their comparatively elevated cost presents a challenge to widespread adoption, highlighting the need for innovative solutions such as the Battery-as-a-Service (Baas) model to address this barrier.

    Exploring the viability of the BaaS business model is part of the remit of the Charge Up! e-mobility project. Funded by P4G, Charge Up! is a collaboration between Energy 4 Impact, Arc Ride, Fika Mobility, Imperial College London and Strathmore University. Between February 2022 and April 2023, Charge Up! established a network of charging stations in Nairobi, Kenya, to test the commercial viability of a BaaS model. This report investigates distinct models that may be employed in the deployment of e-bike fleets and charging/swapping infrastructures in sub-Saharan Africa. It seeks to elucidate the potential advantages of battery swapping for riders, such as ready access to charged-up batteries, reductions in time-consuming charging processes and fuel cost savings. Furthermore, it highlights emerging best practice for BaaS and provides recommendations on policy, regulation and financing to support uptake of e-motorcycles and the growth of BaaS in Kenya.

Please note that views expressed in the Co-Editorial, the In Focus section and the Special Feature of the newsletter, are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect ARE’s opinion.

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