A Positive Outlook for ARE: New Leadership & Strategy

Marcus Wiemann, Executive Director, ARE

GIZ - Strengthening Off-Grid Energy Markets

Dr. Mike Enskat, Head of Section for Energy, Water and Mobility, GIZ

Access to a reliable energy supply is critical for economic growth and sustainable development in rural communities. This is particularly relevant for Africa where over 60% of its 1.1 billion inhabitants have no access to electricity. Acknowledging this reality, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has been focussing its work in the energy sector on rural electrification for over a decade. Based on funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ has been working with our partners in developing and emerging markets to strengthen off-grid sectors in Africa and beyond.

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By implementing a wide-range of programmes and projects both on the global/regional level and in direct bilateral cooperation with our partner countries, we contributed significantly to the current dynamism that is visible in the market. Three initiatives are particularly representative for the wide-ranging nature of efforts GIZ makes on behalf of its commissioning partners:

The Energising Development programme (EnDev) is a multilateral partnership that has provided 18.2 million people with modern energy services in Africa, Asia and Latin America since 2005. Another example is the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP), supporting the development of renewable energy markets in Africa. Since 2016, RECP has directly supported 43 projects through its Finance Catalyst, representing an investment volume of over USD 600 million should even only half of the projects materialise.

At the national scale, for example, the Nigeria Energy Support Programme (NESP) is supporting our partner government in Nigeria in strengthening the Nigerian off-grid sector. In its first phase of implementation, the NESP team supported over a dozen Nigerian mini-grid developers in bringing their projects to fruition and subsequently supported them in acquiring funding through a crowd-investor platform.

While progress has been made over the past decade towards achieving Sustainable Energy for All, we still have a long way to go. A recent International Energy Agency’s report highlighted that every year an additional 14 million people get access to modern energy in Africa. However, this number would need to reach to 43 million people per year to provide universal energy access by 2030. Nevertheless, the energy access gap in Africa has started to decrease since 2013, which confirms that global efforts are heading in the right direction. New approaches, including increased use of digitalisation in business models and innovative financing, are showing first effects. Together with our partners, we will continue our efforts towards the Sustainable Development Goal 7: reliable access to sustainable energy for all. In this regard, we are looking forward to continue our collaboration with ARE in the future.


Scaling Up Mini-grid Investments

Faris Hasan, Director of Strategic Planning & Economic Services, OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID)

Most stakeholders agree that mini-grids are the optimum solution for rural areas where population is widely disbursed and grid extension is very costly. This was highlighted earlier in an OFID paper at the first SEforALL technical meeting in 2011. Since then, more focus was put on this sector, especially as it constitutes a solution for 450 million people around the globe to gain access to energy as well as presents an investment opportunity of USD 300 billion until 2030, or around USD 25 billion per annum.

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Despite the vast decrease in solar panel prices and the many innovative business models such as pay-as-you-go schemes, this level of investment is not materialising. There are three factors impeding this scale of investment. First, the prospects for grid connectivity. Second, demand management including tariff structures, as well as payment collection. Third, the small size of investment dedicated to customised mini-grids.

To increase the size of investment, we need to bundle projects to sizes exceeding USD 20 million to attract financing from DFIs or private banks. This in turn requires surveys of possible grid locating with anchor loads, structuring the bundles so as to minimise risk and finally concessions or agreements with the authorities on future grid expansion. Identification of bundles of mini-grids in each country would be more convincing for country authorities to expedite the required regulations to scale up. This will also focus investors on each country’s specific potentials.

In order to address the solutions for the above issues, in 2015 OFID started cooperating with ARE by placing a call for bids to co-finance four mini-grids in two regions where energy poverty exists most rampantly, namely Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. The aim of this cooperation in financing was to establish lessons learned for scaling up mini-grids business models in the respective regions. It is to our satisfaction that one of the four models, developed in India through the Mlinda Association, has already established itself for scaling up. OFID and Mlinda are currently looking at possibilities for financing this scale up. The efforts of OFID have also extended to partnering with organisations such as UNDP, Shell Foundation, IFAD, ECREEE and others in order to acquire more lessons learnt and widen the opportunity to scale up. 


Are You Still Seeking Funding for Your Next Project?

atmosfair gGmbH is a German based non-profit climate protection organisation, which actively protects the climate by offsetting greenhouse gases through the use of renewable energies. Currently, atmosfair is interested in rural electrification and solar energy projects and has a funding budget available to be shared between qualified project applications.

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To be funded, atmosfair is looking for potential projects focusing either on rural electrification using mainly solar energy in developing countries, as well as on innovative renewable energy technologies, preferably based in tourist destinations. If you come up with a project that also contributes to social and economic benefits for the local community, you are welcome to share your project descriptions with us. For further information, please check our funding announcements.

Interested project developers are requested to submit their project description by 11 May 2018 via email to Nele Erdmann. Project developers are welcome to submit more than one project.


Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (SARES): A Government Investment into the Future

The largest state in Malaysia and located on the equatorial island of Borneo, Sarawak has long and winding rivers that first form as swiftly flowing headwaters that pass mountainous jungles in the interior before slowing down at coastal plains and mangrove swamps before reaching the sea.

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The villages of Sarawak are distributed sparsely along the banks of these rivers, some on rugged mountain terrain, making the task of bringing electricity to rural Sarawak particularly challenging for the government, especially for the people living in more than 6,000 villages in the interior.

Despite this, rural electrification initiatives in Sarawak has already connected more than 4,000 of these villages to 24-hour electricity, either to the State Grid or through renewable off-grid solar hybrid and micro/mini hydro stations. The remaining 2,000 are located further into the interior and cannot be connected to the Grid by virtue of their remoteness.

In an effort to further speed up electrification in Sarawak, the State Government initiated SARES as a fast-track solution to electrify about 300 of the most remote communities.

The RM 500 million (USD 125 million) project commenced in 2016 and once completed before 2025, is expected to benefit over 40,000 rural occupants in 8,700 households.

Co-financed by the Federal Government of Malaysia and the State Government of Sarawak, SARES provides free electricity to its beneficiaries via stand-alone solar or micro hydro systems. Under the direction of the Ministry of Utilities, state power utility and energy development group Sarawak Energy has been entrusted with the task, including final training of the local community to undertake basic maintenance to ensure the long-term sustainability of the programme.

As of 2017, 79 solar systems have been installed, bringing electricity to 1,843 households. SARES has significantly improved the living standards of these remotely located beneficiary communities.

Of significant impact is the availability of refrigerators, a crucial electrical appliance for any household but even more so for communities who hunt for meat or fish. SARES villagers are now finding that they do not need to hunt as often with the convenience of being able to freeze extra catch such as fish which they can also sell for extra income. The added free time also means they can look into operating other businesses and gaining technology literacy.

Noisy diesel generators are kept only as standby equipment. With fuel purchases for these gen-sets virtually a thing of the past, more money is available as SARES communities enjoy free green electricity, significantly improving lives and livelihoods.

This government investment for future generations is bringing renewable and reliable energy to remote communities and bridging the rural-urban gap to make sure no child in Sarawak is left in the dark.


How to Make Rural Electrification Programmes Last Generations

NRECA International has supported grid and off-grid expansion and electrification planning using a variety of planning tools including geographic information systems (GIS) for 20 years. Recently emphasis has shifted to define grid and off-grid electrification opportunities to accelerate access to electricity services, and to ensure that off-grid investments are not threatened by grid intrusion.

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The geospatial modelling framework developed by our team is designed to identify project priorities and options, as well as to evaluate grid-strengthening and optimal balancing between grid and off-grid investments.  

Going off the grid in Uganda

With funding from USAID, NRECA International is completing electrification master plans for all 13 electric service territories in Uganda. These master plans include off-grid options such as mini-grids for villages and housing clusters where grid service is not the most viable option, and stand-alone renewable energy systems where population density is low. NRECA International is currently helping the Uganda Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to develop an off-grid electrification strategy for the country. The off-grid strategy includes significant engagement with private sector service providers and developers to coordinate renewable energy mini-grids and stand-alone energy solutions as part of a larger national electrification planning paradigm.

Added value: In-depth data

In developing the master electrification plans for all of Uganda’s service territories, NRECA International has integrated multiple detailed data sets in the geospatial platform that can be used by REA and other agencies in Uganda to better understand the affected population, their energy needs, their current energy resources, and their ability and willingness to pay for power. This is critical to know how best to connect these communities, making it possible for REA and its partners to take necessary steps to connect people who cannot afford to pay for power.

Long-term sustainability

With rapidly expanding access to geospatial resources, integrated grid and off-grid planning can be used to identify the most attractive investments over larger-scale markets and evaluate ways to minimise operating costs. Cost minimisation can be accomplished by sharing resources across multiple mini-grids. The comprehensive data allows us to help cooperating partners to intelligently plan investments, and design electrification programs and systems that are properly sized to meet the unique needs of rural communities. And most importantly, to make these rural electrification programs last generations.

About NRECA International

Our mission is to facilitate economic development for rural communities in developing economies by providing access to reliable and affordable electricity. For more than 50 years, 126 million people in 43 countries have benefitted from our work, and 250 rural utilities have been established in the process.


Energy for All: Rolling Out Mini-grids in Africa

Ossi Yeto is nowadays in a contract negotiating stage to implement a project named "Energy for All". The project purpose is to develop and install systems which allow the availability of clean energy in rural areas, in developing countries in Africa.

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Many villages in the countries where Ossi Yeto is operating are located extremely far from an existing electrical grid, some of them with a distance of 100 km (or even more). These villages will not have any grid connection in the near future unless alternative solutions are developed, such as mini-grids.

Ossi Yeto has already concluded a feasibility study for 20 villages and finalised the design of the systems to be installed in these locations. The green energy source can be changed and adapted for each village in accordance with the natural resources available: solar, hydro or wind. These systems will include a combination of two of them, or one with a backup generator to avoid long downtimes.

The systems will be modular and will have the ability to grow along with the energy needs of the villages. A part of the complete solution will be the connection to the final consumers, which will include, as well, street lights, monitoring systems and smart-meters.

While the technologies are known and the solutions comprise the integration of well-known systems, the major challenge of this project is the logistics. Some of the villages are located in remote and isolated areas in the far-off provinces, with extremely difficult accesses and only during three months of the year, due to the heavy rains and floods.

Ossi Yeto and its well experienced team in Africa has the ability to manage this kind of projects. The water company of the group has already finished the first phase of similar water project named "Water for All", allowing the supply of potable water to more than 200 villages. Currently the company is already working on the second phase of the project, to enable the installation of potable water sources in additional 160 villages.

Ossi Yeto is working to promote this project and looking forward to sign the "Energy for All" contract with the aim to provide energy to rural populations, who really need it in order to improve their quality of life.

The major obstacle to sign the contract is to reach the financing sources for it. It is a big challenge to bring the finance to this kind of project when the reaction of the people for it is unknown, and their ability to pay for the consumed energy is in a doubt.

Ossi Yeto would like to invite financial institutes which can support this life changing "Energy for All" project to team up with our company.

Also we would like to implement the first pilot project in order to promote the "Energy for All" this year, therefore all the relevant technology providers that would like promote their products are welcome to contact us.


Plug the Sun Connects Rural Communities in Argentina

30,000 people in the rural areas are going to be newly electrify thanks to a governmental project and Plug the Sun solar solutions. The Argentinian programme “Project for Renewable Energy in Rural Markets” (PERMER) is an ambitious program to provide energy access to the community in the remote rural areas of the South American country, launched in the late 1990s, when still 2.5 million people were without electricity access.

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In this context Plug the Sun has been awarded with an important off-grid tender issued by the Ministerio de Energía y Minería. Plug the Sun won based on being the most competitive both technical and financial point of view.

This tender is backed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a World Bank institution, granting a solid loan to guarantee the overall project.

As a result, the project involving Plug The Sun is going to bring renewable off-grid energy to 30,000 people living in rural areas of eight provinces (Salta, Tucuman, Corrientes, Rio Negro, San Juan Y Santa Cruz, Neuquén, Chaco) thanks to 8,500 off grid solar kits with a peak power ranging between 200 to 300 Wp solar panel and 420 to 750 Wh high performance battery capable to deliver power into DC (direct current) or AC (alternating current).

An easy and cost-effective solution bringing energy without important infrastructures and investments and, at the same time, respecting the local environment and giving new opportunities to small business activities too.

Portable Off-Grid GFM Solutions

The SUNINBOX project (portable solution for distributed generation in a box) consists of a portable energy solution capable of providing electricity in any remote area of the world.

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It has between 15 kVA and 60 kVA of inverter power, 12 kWp of installed photovoltaic modules on a solar tracker to an axis, between 20 kWh and 60 kWh of accumulation in lithium ferro-phosphate (LiFePO4), all installed in a 20-feet maritime container with the SGS quality certificate.

All the equipment is completely automated, being a portable "Plug and Play" system. Thanks to the adoption of an innovative design for a solar tracker to one or two axis, which unfolds / retracts telescopically in a semi-autonomous manner, it is possible to transport all the subsystems within the same 20-feet maritime container without having to install or assemble any of the components for its use.

The mixed configuration AC coupling / DC coupling provides optimal management of the solar resource, both for direct consumption and for storage.

It is also an alternative for the generation of electricity in isolated systems with the purpose of reducing the use of fossil fuels, while guaranteeing a continuous supply of electricity, low operating and maintenance costs and a way to introduce a price reduction in isolated systems that have the undeniable advantage of being portable, simple to install and easy to use and transport. Its geolocation system allows the tracker to position and deploy the entire photovoltaic field automatically according to the location of the system. SUNINBOX (15 kVA model) is available from approximately 50,000 EUR.

Another GFM compact portable solution is the Mini-grid trailer approved for road traffic, easy grounding and simple deployment of the photovoltaic field.

The range of power goes from 15 kWh to 40 kWh and includes an automatic start wires of AC generator set, automatic ventilation and heat extraction system, display, monitoring and control of a web portal, to simple observation of the behaviour of the system and the flow of charges in real time. It is available from approximately 15,000 EUR, ready to run everywhere, anytime. It is a real Plug and Play 16 A and 32 A, with external AC inputs, single phase and three phase consumptions outputs.

Islands in the Lead: Powering Communities with Storage at the Centre

Last November in Bonn, Germany a Fijian canoe sat on display at the UN Climate Change Conference. It was a reminder of the resilience of island nations and a call to action for global leaders on the climate crisis.  

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With fragmented land masses that inhibit connections to national or regional grids, islanders must often go the route of noisy and polluting diesel generators. Importing diesel, heavy fuel oil, or natural gas can be very costly, exacerbating issues of energy security.

But developments in renewable energy technologies, particularly energy storage systems (ESS), are making it much easier to transition towards greener solutions.

Energy management systems are at the heart of Autarsys technologies. Even without a renewable generation asset like a PV plant, experience and modelling show that ESS greatly improve the efficiency of diesel generators and thus, fuel consumption and overall costs.

With prolonged periods of cloud cover, a purely renewable energy setup would require an oversized PV and storage system, a move that’s both cumbersome and expensive.

Hybrid solutions - of solar, storage, and diesel - are the best fit for most rural island off-takers. Battery storage provides enough power to bridge energy gaps, so that diesel gensets are turned on as a last resort. In these hybrid setups, Autarsys solutions can provide up to 100% of renewable energy that is consumed. However, we optimse systems to ensure the lowest levelised cost. 

In the Philippines, we have commissioned two projects on the island-province of Palawan. In the village of New Ibajay and at the eco-resort of Qi, we integrated our ESS with local PV plants to provide uninterrupted and reliable power, despite occasional overcast. Meanwhile in Cyprus, we implemented a substation in Nicosia that connects solar-powered homes in the neighbourhood to a local grid, enabling owners to participate in the energy market.

Energy storage is an exciting field because the frontiers of R&D see rapid advancements in technologies. We intentionally select Lithium-ion batteries because of their greater consistency and efficiency of charge, and longer lifespans. Meanwhile, decreasing costs of renewable solutions, particularly the expected decline in battery prices in the coming years, are making it easier for island communities to transition.

Islands arguably have the greatest stake in an energy independent future and have set an example by having been the first to ratify the Paris Agreement. We believe in the leadership and innovative potential of island nations – whose values and commitment to address the global climate crisis – inspire the development of renewable and storage technologies.

An Open Source Software Tool for Wind Electric Systems

The OpenAFPM modeling tools can be used for designing Axial Flux Permanent Magnet (AFPM) generators for wind electric systems with the use of the open source finite element analysis software ‘Finite Element Method Magnetics’ (FEMM).

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This series of design tools have been developed by the Rural Electrification Research Group (RurERG), which is part of the Smart RUE (Smart grids Research Unit of the Electrical and Computer Engineering School) of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), in order to assist designers and practitioners involved with small scale wind electric systems.

The OpenAFPM tools series consists of three design tools named MagnAFPM, UserAFPM and OptiAFPM. The tool MagnAFPM can be used for designing a generator for a specific set of rotor blades and a specific set of permanent magnet dimensions. The tool UserAFPM can be used to validate the performance of a specific generator geometry by performing a finite element analysis using FEMM. The tool OptiAFPM uses the particle swarm optimisation (PSO) to optimize the dimensions of the permanent magnets used in the generator design for a specific set of rotor blades, while minimising the generator’s efficiency, cost and/or mass.

The creation of the online user interface of the OpenAFPM modeling tools has been supported by WISIONS as part of the project ‘Online Design Tools for Locally Manufactured Small Wind Turbines’.

  • 1st Renewable Mini-Grid Industry Association Established in Africa to Help Drive Economic Development

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    AMDA is the first trade association in Africa dedicated exclusively to the mini-grid industry and is composed of developers operating AC mini-grids that ensure power reliability of at least 20 hours per day. The association also works closely with a variety of solution providers, including EPCs, hardware and software vendors and integrators.

    AMDA currently has chapters in Kenya and Tanzania, where member companies have built 430 kilometers of transmission lines, and renewable generation to serve over 11,000 connections, including households, schools, health clinics, micro-enterprise and agriculture.  AMDA, which plans to grow into a pan-African platform for private utilities, is in the process of setting up its next chapter in Nigeria, which will include 7 additional local developers, and has so far received interest from 3 other countries.

    By providing a unified voice for the industry, AMDA aims to partner with governments and utilities to build next generation grids based on the needs of both industry and communities. AMDA will share knowledge and feedback with policy-makers, regulators and investors, while also representing the voice of the customer, which is currently under-represented on the issue of energy access.

    Near-term objectives of AMDA include:

    • Mobilise finance for mini-grids: working with donors, national governments and other stakeholders to develop a smart Results Based Financing (RBF) fund to support scale-up of mini-grids, as well as finding ways to unlock lower-cost debt capital;
    • Equalise public-private incentives: achieving a level playing field, both regulatory and financial, for mini-grids that is on par with other grid-based solutions;
    • Make Integrated planning the norm: establish national grid integration frameworks that are inclusive of mini-grids;
    • Better inform market support activities: highlighting useful areas for public interventions and providing market information to organizations funding R&D and innovation;
    • Unify and expand voice of the sector across Africa: grow the number of members to at least 25 developers across 7 countries by the end of 2018, with a longer-term goal of representing all private sector developers across the continent. The next chapter is expected in Nigeria, with the goal of adding Ethiopia and Uganda by the end of 2018.
    • A full list of AMDA’s principles is on its website →

    AMDA is supported by the Shell Foundation, the World Bank and the UK Department for International Development (DfID). [Press release]

  • UNEP and RES4Africa Train African Women Energy Entrepreneurs

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    The Micro-Grid Academy (MGA) is a regional capacity building platform based in Nairobi, Kenya, that provides theoretical and practical training on energy access and decentralised renewable energy solutions to young East-African and international technicians, entrepreneurs and engineers. The project is a joint initiative between RES4Africa, Kenya Power Lighting Company (KPLC), AVSI Foundation, Strathmore University and St. Kizito VTI.

    As stated by Saverio Frullani, RES4Africa Project Coordinator, the MGA aims to enhance access to energy in rural communities fostering local enterprise and job creation, while positively impacting health and education services, female empowerment, climate change mitigation, reliable water and food production and energy security, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The training activities will be supported by a real 30 kW hybrid mini-grid to be installed on-site thanks to the contribution of RES4Africa members.

    From 4 to 14 April 2018, the MGA held its second training course, hosting 40 students from East-Africa and Europe, including 20 women selected by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) within the Africa Women Energy Entrepreneurs Framework (AWEEF), a platform that empowers women entrepreneurs as main stakeholders across the energy value chain. The course gathered enthusiastic participants working in the energy sector providing a series of lectures with experts in the field coming from the local utility Kenya Power Lighting Company (KPLC), AVSI Foundation, St. Kizito VTI, Strathmore University, Enel Foundation, SIGORA and Sapienza University of Rome. The topics discussed had a particular focus on entrepreneurship and clean energy access, both of central importance to the sustainable development of rural communities, as highlighted by the UN SDGs. Complementing the lectures, the agenda included a visit to the UN Headquarters exploring the role of renewable energy within UNEP, UNIDO and UN Habitat programs, as well a field trip to the Talek Town mini-grid implemented by GIZ. To enhance learning possibilities, the MGA took the students to the laboratories of St. Kizito VTI and Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC) for hands-on training and testing. Students had the chance to directly experience many aspects surrounding mini-grid implementation, from planning and development to operation and maintenance of the plants. The course was sponsored by Enel Foundation and Tecnologie Solidali Onlus.

    As a managerial and technical course coupled with practical training, the MGA aims to fully launch a series of capacity building activities by 2019, training at least 300 students per year, looking to form future professionals in the sector and positively impact all areas involved in the sustainable development of local rural communities. RES4Africa is currently seeking funding opportunities from external institutions and private actors.

  • ORIGINATE: Supporting the Development of Decentralised Renewable Energy Solutions Across Africa by Aggregating Project and Industry Operators’ Data

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    Originate is an initiative conceived by RES4Africa and RINA to improve the project origination process for decentralised renewable energy solutions by aggregating opportunities across Africa, streamlining development, and applying standards in line with technical, commercial, environmental and social requirements of development funding institutions.

    In the form of a matchmaking platform, Originate aims to create a practical tool to screen renewable energy projects across Africa, an effective initiative to foster local sustainable development.

    Africa is a very fragmented continent, and project development can be extremely complex due to the lack of information about local context and policies. Originate intends to fill this gap by collecting such information from developers and stakeholders and share it with a network of industry operators who can provide valuable support in feasibility assessment and definition of the business model to foster projects delivery. Originate was born from the need of RES4Africa members to identify sustainable investment opportunities. Identification of creditworthy off-takers and secure revenue streams is fundamental for the solidity of any project, therefore accurate collection of information about the local context is essential for the definition of the business model.

    Originate intends to create a reliable data and market information base to give access to project opportunities, enable informed decisions on policies, site assessments, investment opportunities and design of delivery mechanisms. Data and information will be made available and accessible to market actors through the platform.

    Originate was first presented on 14 March 2018 at the 4th ARE Energy Access Investment Forum in Sicily. By the end of April, the platform will be live with a launching page section to collect the data of organisations active in this field, ranging from private sector to NGOs and international institutions, making them publicly visible. The platform will officially go live during this year’s RES4MED & Africa Annual Conference on 22 June 2018 in Rome.

    The project’s long-term ambition is to become an effective tool that supports international funding institutions in the identification and screening of quality projects, applying standards in line with technical, environmental and social requirements of the lenders, thus streamlining the project development process.

  • International Cooperation & Development Forum in the Kyrgyz Republic 2018 (Bishkek, 17 April 2018)

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    International financial institutions and representatives of worldwide development agencies met at the Forum to discuss upcoming business opportunities in the Kyrgyz Republic. The goal of the forum was to assist interested companies to identify the most efficient approaches towards cooperation with international financial institutions while showcasing relevant funding opportunities for the Central Asia Region.

    According to the OECD Creditor Reporting System database for the period 2010-2016, the disbursed development assistance to the Kyrgyz Republic reached USD 3.4 billion of which 78.8% came in the form of grants, while preferential loans represented 21.2% of the total value. Russia, the United States and Germany are the Kyrgyz Republic’s largest bilateral donors while the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and European Union institutions are the largest multilateral donors.

    International donor assistance focuses on various areas of the economy and society of the Kyrgyz Republic. The majority of support is provided to assist with initiatives aimed at good governance and democracy. An important part of the donor assistance is also directed towards improving the transport infrastructure. [Press release]

  • India Energy Access Summit (New Delhi, 12-13 February 2018)

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    As part of the Summit, which gathered around 300 participants, ARE Board Member Katarina Hasbani (The August Company) moderated a session on “big data and analytics for energy access.” ARE Members CES-India and Energo Labs were also part of the panel discussion.

    The purpose of the session co-led by ARE, Sambodhi Research and Climate Group was to deliberate the potential of big data, innovative ways of sourcing data, and analysis for influencing policy and propelling energy access in India.

  • EU – India Clean Energy Investment Platform (New Delhi, 8 March 2018)

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    In its efforts to develop an EU – India cooperation on affordable finance for clean energy investments, DG ENER of the European Commission organised a workshop on a tentative EU-India Clean Energy Investment Platform.

    ARE Policy & Business Development Manager David Lecoque spoke at the event on what the prospective Platform should focus on to boost the mini grid and off-grid sector in India and what the industry needs are.

  • ARE Annual General Meeting: Election of New ARE Board of Directors & President (Catania, 12 March 2018)

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    ARE is pleased to announce that Vivian Vendeirinho (RVE.SOL) was elected as new ARE President until 2019 at its recent Annual General Meeting. We would like to thank leaving President Ernesto Macias (Solarwatt) and Board Members Caroline Nijland (FRES), Anthony Ighodaro (KXN Nigeria), Karl Kolmsee (Smart Hydro Power) and Michael Wollny (Wollny Consulting) for their commitment and dedication to set up ARE 12 years ago and bringing it to where it is today.

    We welcome new incoming Board Members:

    • Emily McAteer, CEO & co-Founder, Odyssey Energy Solutions, United States of America
    • Prosper Magali, Director of Projects & Business, Ensol Tanzania
    • Rebecca Symington, Executive Director, Mlinda Charitable Trust, India
    • Sukla Chandra, Global Product Leader – Hybrid Distributed Power, GE India Industrial, India

    Vivian Vendeirinho, new ARE President“ARE works in the framework built by the SDG 7 in order to support sustainable development for rural communities. ARE’s Membership has developed incredibly in the last 10 years, reaching over 150 Members by end of last year – a clear statement that the market has reached a tipping point. Now, we want to focus on initiating more Member partnerships to validate the sector and demonstrate its scalability. This will help provide real added value for our Members: creating direct business opportunities in the energy access space.”

    The new ARE Strategy (2018-2022) was adopted by the Members at the AGM, whereby four workstreams have been identified:

    1. Global Voice – “speaking as one cohesive team” (Chair / ARE Board Member: Aaron Leopold; support: Ling Ng)
    2. Global association acting locally – “global partnerships working locally” (Chair / ARE Board Member: Vivian Vendeirinho; support: David Lecoque)
    3. Powerful partnerships – “strength in numbers and common learning” (Chair / ARE Board Member: Katarina Uherova Hasbani; support: Jens Jaeger)
    4. Fundraising – ”leveraging our member base to unlocking capital” (Chair / ARE Board Member: Pablo Astorga; support: Marcus Wiemann)
  • 4th ARE Energy Access Investment Forum & ARE Awards 2018 (Catania, 13-15 March 2018)

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    ARE gathered over 250 registrants for the 4th edition of the ARE Energy Access Investment Forum organised in partnership with Renewable Energy Solutions for the Mediterranean and Africa (RES4MED&Africa) and the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP).

    The ARE Energy Access Investment Conference Day on 13 March 2018 provided participants with a comprehensive view of the clean-energy sector policy framework and key industry trends to foster the integration of remote communities into emerging economies around the world. The event, including the Workshop of the European Commission on the Energy Digital Nexus, was an opportunity for investors, project developers and other stakeholders to learn more about upcoming support schemes, innovative products and new business models to accelerate rural electrification and advance the market for decentralised renewable energies. [Outcome Report]

    The Forum also gave recognition to companies and organisations, which have made special contributions to advance the rural electrification sector. In its third year running, the 2018 ARE Awards were discerned to:

    • EUEI PDF (Multilateral / International Organisations)
    • Shamwana Hospital (NGOs and Foundations)
    • Autarsys (Private Sector in Developed Countries)
    • Rift Valley Energy (Private Sector in Developing Countries)
    • Sarawak Energy (Government in Developing Country)
    • Ensol and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (Best Off-grid Project)
    • ColdHubs (Best Start-Up; new category)

    The Business Matchmaking Day on 14 March 2018 (supported by RECP) featured a series of panel discussions with selected DFIs and private sector representatives on off-grid data collection and investment, project financing tools and new initiatives, including a presentation on the deployment of renewable energy tender programmes in Africa. In the afternoon, 135 participants took part in more than 450 B2B meetings where participants had the chance to meet with potential business partners.

  • 11th OECD Rural Development Conference (Edinburgh, 9-12 April 2018)

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    The conference recognised the importance of rural areas to national economies and addressing global challenges. The policy statement also declared that innovation will be critical to the future competitiveness and sustainable rural economies.

    Stine Carlé (ARE Member: E.ON Off-Grid Solutions / Rafiki Power) was invited to share experiences on decentralised energy systems both in higher and lower income countries and moderated Ideas Factory in a separate session. [Press release]

  • SEforALL Forum (Lisbon, 2-3 May 2018)

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    The Forum is the landmark gathering celebrating innovation and action in the global sustainable energy movement. It will be a marketplace that brokers new partnerships and ideas, spurs investment and drives action towards securing clean, affordable energy for all.

    ARE will be supporting a number of sessions including :

  • Climate and Clean Energy Investment Forum (Vienna, 16 May 2018)

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    PFAN will hold its second global investment forum in Vienna, in conjunction with the Vienna Energy Forum.

    Meet promising innovators and entrepreneurs and learn first-hand about investment-ready developing country climate & clean energy projects, featuring concrete opportunities to curb greenhouse gas emissions and improve climate change resilience through innovative business solutions.

    Programme highlights:

    • Shark Tank session with selected clean energy innovators and entrepreneurs facing financing experts.
    • Business Plan Competition during which hand-picked investment-ready clean energy projects with an explicit gender dimension and located in West Africa will pitch directly to prospective investors.
    • Inspirational keynote address by renewable energy thought leader.
    • Presentation of the PFAN Global Awards by a panel of high-level representatives.
  • [Invite] Zambia Off-Grid Investor Forum (Lusaka, 12-13 June 2018)

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    With the support of the Zambia's Rural Electrification AuthorityRECP, the European Union funded IAEREP project, as well as EREF and AEEP, ARE and GOGLA have the pleasure to invite you to attend the Zambia Off-Grid Investor Forum in Lusaka, Zambia. 

    The aim of this major two-day event is to promote private sector investments in decentralised energy access in Zambia. Participants will include Zambian and international private sector businesses and investors, as well as high-level representatives from the Zambian government, the European Union and other support programmes.

    Highlights of the event:

    • Showcasing EU's upcoming financial support instruments supporting off-grid renewable energy projects in Zambia. This includes a project pipeline for the upcoming ElectriFi Country Window and call for proposals under the IAEREP project
    • Launching of two upcoming RECP market studies on renewable energy investments in Zambia.
    • Providing a platform for public-private sector dialogue around market conditions and key policy initiatives, including the role of communities in the roll-out of electricity access initiatives
    • Facilitating business networking through structured B2B matchmaking
    • Offering an opportunity for private sector companies to market their off-grid solutions, expertise and products in Zambia

    As part of this forum, two side events will be organised: one by EREF on energy communities and one by AEEP on the Africa-EU cooperation on renewable energy.

    ARE and GOGLA will also organise an exhibition to give the private sector companies and investors, as well other stakeholders in the off-grid energy sector an opportunity to showcase products/projects and expertise.

    Register here

  • [Book Your Stand] Intersolar Europe: Off-grid Power Forum (Munich, 20-22 June 2018)

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    Partnering with the German Federal Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) and the German Solar Association (BSW), this year's Off-Grid Power Forum: Conference & Exhibition is an opportunity for companies and project developers to attract and to raise interest from high-ranking delegations, project partners, policy makers, investors and international press members.

    The Off-Grid Power Forum: Conference & Exhibition is the focal point to learn about the latest trends on future markets, technological solutions and smart applications. ARE is the exclusive partner for the Off-Grid Power Exhibition at Intersolar Europe.


    ARE is offering up to eight exhibition stands for companies at the Off-Grid Power Exhibition. This year’s stand is organised in close collaboration with BSW and with the support of the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP). Exhibiting companies can showcase their products and technologies on high-quality board walls.

    Complementing the Off-Grid Power Exhibition, the Off-Grid Power Conference will take place in parallel and showcase technological solutions and market development in the off-grid sector during a 2-day programme. Dedicated experts, international delegations and companies active in the field of off-grid solutions are invited to participate.

    • Option 1: Exhibit at the Off-Grid Power Exhibition
    • Option 2: Speak at the Off-Grid Power Conference

    Deadline: 11 May 2018

    Download the marketing offer.

  • Microgrid Global Innovation Forum (London, 11-13 September 2018)

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    The Forum will focus on microgrid advances, case studies and applications in EMEA, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America. Organised by the Smart Grid Observer, the event will examine positive business models for a range of microgrid deployments, as well as real-world case studies in both grid-tied and off-grid/remote environments.

    ARE is pleased to be an official Association Partner for this event.  The conference will address microgrid feasibility, design, and implementation; solar + storage advances; project financing and investor perspectives; the latest technology innovations, and more.

    Speaking proposals are due by 25 May 2018. 

  • ARE: Annual Report 2017

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    ARE is delighted to look back again at another more successful year – in terms of profiling of the association, having a positive impact to the sector and Membership growth. The positive development was supported by its newly launched multi-stakeholder and governance approach comprising of four dimensions of ARE activities in Africa, Asia and Latin America in addition to knowledge sharing and promotion of ARE Members’ expertise:

    • Policy dialogue & advocacy
    • Private sector cooperation & matchmaking
    • Capacity building & trainings
    • Finance access & funding 

    With this 12th Annual Report we would like to inform you about the work of ARE as the global industry association acting locally in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

  • iied: Turning Up The Volume: Financial Aggregation for Off-Grid Energy

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    Over the last decade there has been rapid growth in the number of enterprises seeking to deliver decentralised renewable energy products and services to the more than one billion people who still lack access to electricity. Yet – while headway has been made in closing the energy access gap through products such as solar lanterns, solar home systems and minigrids – the decentralised renewable energy sector in developing countries is still at an early stage. And investing in this sector presents the significant challenge of matching the type and scale of finance offered by investors with the finance needs of small-scale energy access for unelectrified households. In response to this challenge, innovative forms of ‘financial aggregation’ are emerging – bundling together energy opportunities to lower transaction costs, risks, and the cost of capital.

    This paper seeks to give an overview of experience and innovation in financial aggregation, highlighting how aggregation models tackle barriers to reaching scale in the decentralised small-scale renewable energy sector to provide electricity to those who lack access.

  • OECD: DAC Blended Finance Principles for Unlocking Commercial Finance for the Sustainable Development Goals

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    Blended finance is one approach in the ‘toolbox’ of development finance which the OECD DAC Blended Finance Principles aim to make more effective and efficient. The OECD definition of blended finance is “the strategic use of development finance for the mobilisation of additional finance towards sustainable development1 in developing countries”, with ‘additional finance’ referring primarily to commercial finance.

    The focus thus lies on the mobilisation of commercial finance which is not currently being directed towards development-related investments. All relevant, higher level, commitments made by DAC Members in relation to development co-operation apply to blended finance in the same way as to other financing approaches. These include, amongst others, commitments on official development assistance (ODA) financing targets, the commitment on leaving no one behind, commitments related to development effectiveness, as well as those related to untying aid. Furthermore, these commitments are addressed in the OECD DAC principles and will be further integrated into the design and implementation of blended finance policies and approaches in bilateral and multilateral development co-operation.

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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