Since ARE’s creation 15 years ago, tremendous strides have been made in accelerating access to electricity, enabling more than a billion people to gain access to electricity over the period. ARE has been dedicated to bringing decentralised renewable energy (DRE) to rural and peri-urban areas globally. At the heart of the global energy transition are the local communities powering small businesses and households with renewable energy. The use of power for business is a driver for enterprises to innovate and grow while paving the path for a thriving local economy.
Despite these efforts and tremendous progress over the last decade, 759 million people currently lack access to electricity, while another 2.8 billion suffer from unreliable electricity services. To ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 (SDG-7), it is imperative to deploy DRE solutions that are poised to be the least-cost electrification option for more than half of all connections needed.
The long-term sustainability of DRE systems in peri-urban and rural communities is intrinsically linked to economic development through productive uses of renewable electricity (PURE). Therefore, ARE continues to champion PURE, entrepreneurship and sustainability along the DRE value chain. To shed light on community-driven DRE projects, ARE and Green People’s Energy have set out to illustrate best practices from Germany and selected countries from Africa in their upcoming publication "Understanding the Clean Energy Transition with Community-Driven Decentralised Renewable Energy" which is to be launched early next year.
To address the skills gap in the DRE sector, ARE alongside ICA, IRENA, SEforALL, UNEP and UNIDO launched the Cornerstone of Rural Electrification (CORE) at COP26 - an initiative offering technical assistance to practitioners, communities and governments.
Local DRE entrepreneurs are also driving cross-sectoral impact in sectors such as the mining industry as highlighted in UNIDO ITPO Germany and ARE’s latest study “Decentralised Renewable Energy Solutions for Inclusive and Sustainable Mining” launched at the Off-grid Expo + Conference this month. The study showcases the opportunity for mining companies and renewable energy providers to enter into partnerships to move towards a more responsible and inclusive mining sector.
As ARE continues to grow with even more brand-new initiatives and campaigns and establish a strong foothold, so too does our Membership. Since November, we are happy to welcome our newest Members: COMET, E-Tuk-Tuk, Fronius, HEDERA, Impact Water Solutions, Jamelec Innovations, Manamuz Electric, Orchid Creation, SkySails Power, and Zuhura Solutions.
2021 has been a year of hope as well as of action empowering the DRE sector to survive and flourish. We invite all public, philanthropic, and private actors active in the DRE market to continue bringing even more electricity connections in 2022 and beyond. On behalf of the ARE team, we wish you, our distinguished readers, a much-deserved year-end break and we look forward to continuing our work with you next year. I would also like to extend a special thanks to all ARE Members and Partners who have stood by us in this challenging but highly productive year!
Bärbel Höhn, BMZ Special Representative for Energy in Africa
The link between energy and development might be obvious – but it remains a global challenge. Investing in affordable and clean energy (Sustainable Development Goal 7 - SDG 7) has an impact on two-thirds of all other 16 SDGs. If we want to achieve the goal of "leaving no one behind", we need clean, reliable, and affordable energy.
For Africa’s rural regions, which are not connected to the public electricity grid, it is essential to find solutions that provide access to energy so that they can participate in development.
This is where the Green People’s Energy initiative comes in. The aim of the initiative is to reduce energy poverty in rural areas in Africa with the development of DRE by involving citizens, municipal structures, cooperatives and companies. With access to energy, local economies can be fostered while rural health and education systems and also access to water can be dramatically improved. The initiative promotes renewable energy projects across sub-Saharan Africa and strengthens partnerships between actors in Europe and Africa.
Where does the idea of Green People’s Energy come from? Two decades ago, the Renewable Energy Act was passed in the German Parliament, giving birth to Germany’s energy transition. Parliamentarians from various parties worked together to build its foundations: a feed-in tariff system for renewable energy; a grid feed-in guarantee for electricity from DRE and a fixed feed-in price for 20 years.
This change led to the rapid rise of prosumers - people who produce their own electricity - in addition to consuming it. Citizen-owned wind farms and solar systems, as well as energy cooperatives, were founded, producing electricity for their community, thus adding income, and creating regional value. Now, there are almost 2 million households in Germany that participate in the energy transition in this way. Electricity production has been put in the hands of the people. Many farmers now earn more from their electricity production than from their food production. In the meantime, 350,000 jobs have been created in the business and craft sectors in relation to renewable energy.
In Germany itself, more than 50% of electricity was produced from renewable energy – thereby climate-friendly – in 2020. A great achievement!
In Africa, half of the population has no access to electricity, out of which almost 90% live in rural areas. But energy is a prerequisite for development, overcoming poverty and reducing poverty migration. Where would Germany be if half of the population had no access to electricity?
Since countries are often sparsely populated, it is unrealistic to lay the national power grid down to the last village. Namibia, for example, has 2.5 million inhabitants in an area twice the size of Germany (83 million inhabitants). Thanks to flexible DRE solutions, however, people in rural regions can harness solar and wind power. If electricity is used in a productive way e.g. to dry vegetables and fruit, cool fish, grind grain or set up businesses such as blacksmithing, metalworking or small-scale production, jobs and income are created, thereby also addressing hunger and poverty. When electricity comes to schools, freezers for medicines to hospitals, the education and health of communities are strengthened.
However, to make local DRE production sustainable, we need - as we did in Germany back then – a successful financing model for the development of renewables, as well as investments in education.
Having communities take ownership of their energy production and needs lies at the heart of the Green People’s Energy’s initiative.
To learn more about the Green People’s Energy initiative, please visit www.gruene-buergerenergie.org
The government of Nepal supports a wide range of initiatives to utilise the country’s natural renewable resources. Some of these initiatives focus on micro-hydro plants (MHPs) in the rivers flowing near to rural communities without access to electricity.
Our current initiative
Based in Kathmandu, the Nepal Energy Foundation (NEF) focuses on capacity building and improving productive use of distributed renewable energy. Based in the UK, Smarter Microgrid Limited (SML) focuses on using modern cloud computing and edge devices to provide a unified management system, to monitor and control generation, storage and consumption of distributed energy installations.
NEF and SML are working together in a highly innovative trial, installing edge devices in MHPs in rural Palpa, 280 km west of Kathmandu. Such edge devices provide data from each installation into the cloud, where the microgrid can be monitored and controlled from anywhere in the world. In deploying these installations, NEF and SML are working closely with local technical experts at Kathmandu Alternative Power and Energy Group (KAPEG). The innovation is not only in the integration of appropriate technologies, but also in the continual use of the data collected to enable, and to assist with organising, sustainable local socio-economic development - a valuable multi-dimensional collaboration which improves economic outcomes.
The project goal
Data from edge devices populate dashboards, reports and alerts. From such dashboards, SML and NEF, in collaboration with local communities, will create initiatives to improve the reliability and availability of local power, with the express goal of economic empowerment of local communities by improving productive uses.
This goal relates to expanding existing productive uses as well as creating new productive uses, including rice mills, carpenters, shopkeepers, tailors, education services and medical facilities. In our innovative, multi-dimensional approach, NEF has started a socio-economic survey, so that the situation before deployment of the microgrid management system can be sufficiently well understood and compared with the improvements after deployment of the system, and beyond.
Continuous improvements into the future
In addition to initial improvements in productive use, improvements are expected to continue.
Learning from previous ARE articles about similar projects, we will not only provide technical facilities and additional productive uses as outlined above, we will also continue to engage with local communities to help to organise appropriate supply chains to nearby markets, and also help to obtain skills, capacity, and micro-finance for expanding productive use of electricity to achieve socio-economic development.
Global Sustainable Energy Solutions (GSES) has acted as a secretariat for the Sustainable Energy Industry Association of Pacific Islands (SEIAPI) since 2011. The main focus of the work done by GSES and SEIAPI has been the capacity building of the solar industry in the Pacific.
By 2013, four technical guidelines and five training competency standards had been developed to support the technician accreditation scheme that was launched in 2012. In 2014, SEIAPI signed an MoU with the Pacific Power Association (PPA), an industry association that represents 25 electricity utilities. The MoU resulted in the accreditation scheme and all technical guidelines, co-branded by both associations.
In support of the accreditation scheme, GSES conducted several training courses over the following years in various countries in the Pacific. Since then, more guidelines and training units were required, and in 2018 GSES was awarded a contract to provide technical assistance under the Sustainable Energy Industry Development Project (SEIDP) funded by the World Bank.
Over the next two years, the following was achieved:
The guidelines are available free from https://www.gsesinternational.com/guidelines/
The feedback received from all the workshops was that more technical training was required in the region. To meet this need, a license agreement was signed between GSES and PPA, funded by GIZ Fijian Office. Through this agreement, GSES can provide face-to-face training resource material to any training centre in the Pacific countries that wish to conduct the training.
The courses include:
As a result of this agreement, GSES has trained trainers in Solomons Islands and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. GSES is currently working with a committee in Papua New Guinea to have several training centres conducting solar courses and is supporting the Vanuatu Institute of Technology to be able to provide off-grid solar training. GSES will partner with the University of South Pacific (Fiji) to offer online training courses and is aiming to establish a training centre in 2022.
Lost or stolen PAYGo assets are a persistent problem for the DRE market. Simusolar’s new open-source project AirLink makes it simple to track and locate missing assets, like solar water pumps. Now, we want to help more organisations adopt the software and help provide greater confidence and security for customers.
What is AirLink?
DRE companies working in last-mile communities face a challenging market. For PAYGo services to work, they require data connectivity and 2G coverage, which is limited in rural settings with the poor network coverage. It’s especially poor in remote farming communities where farmers and fishermen benefit most from productive use PAYGo products. Then, there’s the risk of asset theft and hacking of PAYGo controls. This common issue that customers face increases their costs and often results in a reluctance to buy or refer others to buy valuable productive use equipment.
This is where Simusolar is taking a leading-edge approach to solving connectivity and security issues for PAYGo devices, with their AirLink software. AirLink uses financed phones as relay-extensions of the internet in remote areas, to extend productive asset data coverage in even the most rural communities. By introducing open-standards communications, AirLink allows customers' phones and PAYGo assets to communicate between themselves and each other using widely available, standard low-energy Bluetooth connectivity. This creates a common close-range communication standard that can be adopted across the DRE sector to capture and track data from PAYGo devices.
How can it help DRE companies?
Bluetooth is an inadequately tapped resource that can extend the reach of PAYGo and equipment Internet of Things data to off-grid communities. By extension, it can also provide data to track and locate stolen or lost PAYGo assets using proximity detection through other devices that have a common way of communicating. This is a huge potential benefit of having a common close-range communication standard adopted across the industry and is the driving force behind the AirLink project.
AirLink can track assets through transmission of location data, and verify asset ownership with local authorities, and if distributors decide to enable the feature, devices with displays can show the customer’s name. This boosts chances of asset recovery through both tracking location and verifying ownership.
More connected assets means better tracking
AirLink essentially offers a kind of neighbourhood watch that can read and communicate through the airwaves. AirLink connects PAYGo assets and devices with smartphones to create a rich bank of data and strengthen connectivity in off-grid communities. The more connected devices there are in an area, the better the tracking gets. Which is why AirLink is ideal for integration with smartphone and PAYGo product bundles.
Simusolar, backed by EnAccess, plans to actively market the open standards that are being developed to their existing and new equipment suppliers. This has the potential to drive a change towards secure, off-network, data-enabled assets being available as standard products in the productive use PAYGo space and create truly market-driven product development.
To help new companies, EnAccess is leading an initiative to give companies access to download AirLink through thingsboard.io 3 and upload data to the cloud IoT platform, free of charge. We want to see AirLink used universally following its launch in early 2022, so please tell us how we can help support your organizations. Head over to enaccess.org/airlink to get started or reach out to us for guidance.
Most DRE equipment is made in China, much of it for Chinese, American or European companies. This means that a large part of the value chain is already non-local, before goods arrive in India, Honduras, Zimbabwe, or wherever else they are being sold.
Of course, high-quality product design and manufacturing are welcomed across the sector – irrespective of where the product comes from. However, the market is currently heavily skewed in favour of a model that intrinsically limits local value creation.
Local value creation goes hand in hand with the availability of goods, capital, infrastructure and human capacity. ‘Make in India’ is a high-profile initiative of Modi’s Indian government, showing a confident emerging manufacturing nation flexing its muscles. However, what are the opportunities on the horizon for making in Ghana, Haiti, or Indonesia?
What we have seen at Inclusive Energy is that many entrepreneurs, and indeed economies, are ready or approaching readiness for moving beyond the Made in China modus operandi. Our approach is to provide only the technology that really can’t be made locally and to help inspire local entrepreneurs to do, and capture the value from, the rest.
A recent example is from Benin where we are working with Focus Energy and BAHAAU Distribution. Focus Energy distributes our Cloud Solar product across the West Africa region and is also pioneering locally-made second-life lithium-ion battery packs, while BAHAAU uses Cloud Solar in their component-based solar systems. BAHAAU manufacture their battery enclosures in-house, make some of their own electronics and source appliances (including for productive use) with as much local content as possible. Together we are showing that a local Beninese company can ably innovate and compete with the international companies in their market.
There are still huge challenges here. Availability of goods in local markets is, in many places, a bottleneck to local value creation, and international logistics is an increasingly expensive pain. However, we believe that we are reaching the point where a shift in mindset, and new set of expectations, is merited. A mindset where we actively seek out opportunities for local value creation, and an expectation that the future of energy access relies on numerous and strengthened local actors, like our inspirational examples from Benin.
The Spanish company GFM Fotovoltaica installed the first solar-powered atmospheric water generator (AWG) in Jordan in August 2021. The project was implemented by GFM’s engineering team in collaboration with the NGO Rescate and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).
Jordan currently hosts millions of refugees that are fleeing from different conflicts in the region. The increasing migration flows has meant that Jordanian population rises, which causes social and economic tensions due to overpopulation. One consequence of these tensions was observed in a Tawasul communitary centre (Mugayyir Al-Sarhan, Jordan), where the rising population increased remarkably drinking water and electricity needs.
In August 2021, GFM Fotovoltaica and Rescate commenced the installation of the project ‘’Access to drinking water and social cohesion’’ consisting of a solar-powered AWG for drinking water provision in one of the driest places of the world. The PV generation was mainly employed in the operation of the water generator. Excess power will be used by the building loads or inject into the grid to reduce electricity bills.
The proposed system was 10 kW solar modules solution connected to an AWG. The solar panels were installed on the building roof oriented to the south. No civil works were required such as drilling or sawing, since the water was produced through air condensation through refrigeration. Consequently, as relative humidity rises, the level of water production increased too. The electricity and water production expectation are 48 kWh/day and 200 litres/day. The level of water and electricity production will be visualised via a remote monitoring system, allowing round the clock performance checks.
During the installation, the GFM team organised a training course for the building maintenance on sizing, installation and maintenance needed in PV systems. The aim is to ensure an adequate use and maintenance of the system in the future.
GFM Fotovoltaica is willing to keep supporting power projects with the most advanced solar-hybrid solutions in terms of technology and performance. Furthermore, our company is certified in accordance with ISO 14001, ISO 9001 and SA8000. Our expertise is assured with more than 20 years in renewable sector, transforming lack of power into trustworthy and uninterruptible electricity.
Please, check our website to get an overview about us: http://www.gfmfotovoltaica.com
IRENA signed an MoU with ARE, to strengthen their existing cooperation on rural electrification and universal access to energy. The MoU was signed in the margins of the fifth International Off-grid Renewable Energy Conference (IOREC) by IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera and ARE Chief Executive Officer David Lecoque.
Off-grid renewable energy solutions provide an opportunity to achieve universal access to energy without undermining climate goals, making them critical to achieving a just energy transition. According to IRENA, decentralised renewables create employment opportunities in productive uses ranging from agri-food and healthcare to communications and commerce in local communities.
“Building out the deployment of off-grid renewable energy in low- and medium-income countries is crucial to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and delivering positive outcomes for people and communities in rural settings,” said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA. “This partnership brings together two organisations with complementary strengths but a singular aim to drive inclusive, equitable development through the widespread adoption of renewable energy.”
“ARE is very proud to vastly scale up its cooperation with IRENA to boost distributed renewables and the clean energy transition, underpinned by the ambitious MoU signed today. Building on ARE’s enormous growth in 2021 and IRENA’s public sector leadership, this landmark partnership demonstrates the powerful benefits of strong cooperation between key governmental and private sector actors to achieve our shared objectives,” said David Lecoque, CEO of ARE.
The MoU represents an extension to an existing partnership between IRENA and ARE that has seen the two parties work closely since 2012, notably delivering five successful IOREC meetings in four countries. IOREC has quickly established itself as the preeminent global meeting place for the off-grid renewable energy community.
Steady cost reductions and technological innovation have strengthened the business case for off-grid renewables as a means to expand rural electricity access. However, accelerating the deployment of mini-grid and stand-alone solutions will depend also on stable policies and regulations, along with dedicated funds and de-risking instruments for renewables. Moving forward under the new agreement, IRENA and ARE will jointly work on de-risking investments in energy access and decentralised renewable energy and on activities aimed at increasing private sector participation.
The two parties will also exchange expertise on emerging delivery models for the deployment of decentralised renewable energy solutions and collaborate on capacity development in issues pertaining to skills development, improving the resilience of decentralised renewable energy projects and renewable energy entrepreneurship support.
An MoU has been signed between the Business Council of Renewable Energies of Senegal (COPERES) and ARE. The MoU sets out the shared goals of the two organisations to address the existing obstacles which hinder the optimal use of the various renewable energies for electrification and the potential for energy efficiency in Senegal. Both organisations agreed to promote social and economic development by increasing the share of renewable energies in the energy mix in West Africa and particularly Senegal.
The associations will work together on a number of activities, including joint advocacy for renewable energy policies in Senegal to create a conducive market environment for DRE actors, accompanying and contributing to the government’s efforts to achieve renewable energy targets as well as targeted business development and market intelligence support for DRE companies.
In this regard, the associations aim to develop the capacity of renewable energy stakeholders in Senegal to create local jobs and secure more financing for renewable energy projects and businesses. This will, for example, be achieved by spearheading “DRE Investment Academies” or similar trainings for Senegalese and international DRE developers and other stakeholders, with the aim to attract additional fundraising and technical support.
Finally, the MoU states that the partners will offer business development services for renewable energy actors working in Senegal, to address electrification, energy security and climate change challenges, as well as conduct applied research to foster the market for renewable energy technologies.
Despite increasing amounts of financing available in the renewables sector (IRENA and CPI, 2020), local earlier-stage energy companies face significant barriers in accessing finance. This access-to-finance gap represents a major roadblock in achieving universal energy access.
Aiming to tackle this challenge, GET.invest - a programme supported by the European Union, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Austria - recently launched the pilot of the GET.invest Finance Readiness Support. The new service will exclusively support locally owned and managed clean energy companies with business development advisory and capacity building, preparing them to access finance and grow.
In the words of Michael Franz, Team Leader of GET.invest: “With this new service, GET.invest extends its support of mobilising renewable energy investments to an underserved clientele, who in turn often serves those in greatest need of access to energy. The GET.invest Finance Readiness Support has been built specifically for locally owned and managed businesses aiming for growth but in need of customised, professional advisory to get there. Our new service will support them in getting ready for investment and accessing finance, usually for the first time. Our vision with this is to make a real difference towards reaching SDG7 with diverse and vibrant energy markets.”
Building on broad stakeholder consultations and the experience of supporting over 200 companies and projects in the sustainable energy sector, the new service will be implemented in cooperation with eight advisory firms: Catalyst Off-Grid Advisors, Energy 4 Impact, GFA Consulting Group, GreenMax Capital Advisors, Inensus, KPMG, Open Capital and Persistent.
It is now shaped throughout the pilot phase by working closely with several core partners - amongst them the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), GOGLA, the Global Distributors Collective (GDC), the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA) and ENERGIA (hosted by HIVOS) - and by collaborating with national renewable energy associations to ensure relevance of the services provided and deeply anchor the GET.invest Finance Readiness Support in the existing ecosystem.
An MoU has been signed between the Energy and Environment Partnership Trust Fund (EEP Africa) and ARE. The MoU sets out the shared goals of the two organisations to address the barriers within the clean energy sector across Southern and East Africa. Both organisations are committed to promote social and economic development by increasing the share of renewable energies in the energy mix in the region.
The partners aim to work together on a number of activities, including joint offers and support services for African DRE actors who work to address energy access, energy security and climate change challenges, co-organising workshops, and webinars on related topics as well as co-hosting networking events and providing direct business support to DRE companies.
In this regard, both parties aim to develop the capacity of renewable energy stakeholders in Africa to create local jobs and enhance the capacity of the sector to attract adequate financing for renewable energy projects and businesses. This will, for example, be achieved by spearheading “DRE Investment Academies” or similar trainings for early-stage DRE companies and other stakeholders, with the aim of raising additional fundraising and technical support.
Finally, the MoU states that the partners will collaborate on enhancing the knowledge base of the DRE sector in Africa to address key issues and bottlenecks for the smooth deployment of renewable solutions to achieve universal electrification.
In this year of hope and major political focus on green recovery, the time is now for international funding partners, politicians, government officials, investors and other relevant stakeholders around the world to integrate DRE as a core element of their green recovery plans, allocating the full range of financial solutions at hand and helping build an enabling environment to facilitate the massive deployment of DRE solutions on the ground.
In view of the above and as a follow up to the successful COVID-19 Campaign in 2020, ARE and GET.invest have joined forces to support international funding partners, politicians, government officials, investors and other relevant stakeholders around the world shape their COVID-19 green recovery initiatives.
Contact: Amanda Soler
4 Nov - Launch of CORE: Cornerstone of Rural Electrification
ARE, ICA, IRENA, SEforALL, UNEP and UNIDO launched the Cornerstone of Rural Electrification Initiative (CORE) to address the immense capacity building and technical assistance needs to support the sustainable development of DRE systems worldwide.
The solution to the sustainability challenge lies with the skills of the local workforce, which must be strengthened to deal with the monumental increase in decentralised electrification in the years to come. A recent survey with DRE industry players indicated that more than 70% of companies have difficulties in finding skilled local field staff.
With this in mind, CORE works with partners on the following avenues of support:
9 Nov - Financing Sustainable Energy Access: Building Resilient and Net-zero Local Economies
Access to clean and reliable electricity is imperative to advance the just transition to net-zero local economies, catalyse socioeconomic development and green job creation, climate change adaptation and COVID-19 recovery.
In the framework of COP26, ARE, GET.invest and the European Commission with the support of ElectriFI organised a session highlighting the impact of EU financial mechanisms for private companies to accelerate rural electrification efforts, with testimonials from OnePower, ENGIE Energy Access and Bboxx. The session brought together over 120 participants.
9 Nov - ARE Reception
ARE organised an evening reception in Brussels to welcome representatives from the ARE Membership, the European Commission, EDFI ElectriFI, Enabel and GET.invest to exchange and do business.
Great catching up with ARE Members Africa GreenTec, Azelio, ENGIE, FlexGrid and RES4Africa Foundation!
12 Nov - Launch of CLEANaction: Coalition Linking Energy And Nature for action
A new coalition was announced with the aim to ensure that the impacts on nature are considered during the global energy transition. The Coalition Linking Energy And Nature for action (CLEANaction), aims to drive short-term action and highlight the need for new renewable energy generation projects to be carefully assessed for their impacts on biodiversity, allowing the options that are the least damaging to nature to be prioritised.
Founding members of the coalition are ARE, Birdlife International, ICLEI-Cities Biodiversity Center, IRENA, TNC and WWF. The coalition seeks to bring together varied organisations to initiate immediate action that will ensure greater integration of nature into energy planning and implementation.
The Forum was organised for AECF's portfolio companies with a view to support them to become investment-ready and connect them with potential financiers.
ARE moderated sessions on 11-12 November and 25-26 November on the access to finance landscape for DRE in West and East Africa. The activity follows AECF’s contribution to ARE’s Investment Academy and further strengthens the partnership between ARE and AECF in the area of capacity building for local DRE companies.
Contact: Gabriele Pammesberger
ARE was invited to moderate a panel at Latin America’s VI Semana de la Energía on “Sustainable energy development (universal access to modern energies - energy efficiency),” on 18 November discussing strategies to close the electricity access gap in last-mile communities.
ARE also shared key messages from ARE and IDB’s recent analysis of the Latin American & Caribbean off-grid renewable energy market.
Contact: Amanda Soler
The most important meeting of the international off-grid industry, OFF-GRID Expo + Conference, closed its doors to its visitors, giving them not only positive results, but also important impulses. A total of around 900 international visitors attended the three days of the exhibition and conference, two-thirds via a digital platform on 1-2 December. More than 50 exhibitors from 11 countries presented solutions and services live on site and informed visitors about the latest developments in off-grid energy and water supply. Personal networking was at the forefront of attendees' minds in times of the pandemic.
Held under strict hygiene regulations at Messe Augsburg, the OFF-GRID Expo + Conference congress trade show thrilled attendees with infotainment and plenty of networking opportunities. The hybrid event format offered participants excellent conditions for exchange and networking both on-site and via a digital platform. Traditionally, the event started on 1 December with the TechDay, which offered users deeper insights through product and service trainings.
Livestreams and matchmaking
In the five conference sessions, participants discussed sustainable energy solutions for use in mining, agriculture and local communities, as well as energy storage systems in rural regions. On display were predominantly renewable energy systems and projects for decentralised supply.
ARE was again involved as a conceptual partner at this year's conference and business matchmaking. It also gave the conference top marks: “The OFF-GRID Expo + Conference at Messe Augsburg is a major attraction of the off-grid community and we are proud to be both the conference and matchmaking partner. We are very excited to launch with UNIDO ITPO the landmark study on DRE solutions for mining and electrification of surrounding communities. One of the key highlights was a PWCET session coorganised by the ARE and Green People's Energy, demonstrating the huge potential of community-driven DRE projects to scale up and help deliver on the clean energy transition and energy access,” said David Lecoque, CEO of the ARE.
Organised by IRENA and with almost 1,200 registered participants, IOREC shed light on the urgency to accelerate electrification efforts underscoring the specific opportunity off-grid renewable energy solutions offer in achieving universal access to energy on 7-9 December. On that same occasion, IRENA and ARE have agreed to work closely together on de-risking investments in DRE systems in a landmark MoU signed between both parties.
To encourage collaborative action, ARE facilitated over 400 virtual meetings as part of the event's virtual networking. The virtual networking provided participants with an opportunity to connect and set up meetings with potential business partners, public and private investors, and policymakers attending the event.
Contact: Inès van Oldeneel
The global mining sector is currently facing a conundrum. As growing energy and emission-intensive industry, the mining sector continues to be exposed to policy and regulatory risks arising from concerns of climate change and impacts on the environment. The remoteness of mine sites and difficulty in accessing reliable electricity grids, has compelled the industry to heavily depend on fossil fuels as an energy source, especially for extractive and transportation equipment, as well as for mineral processing. This has positioned the mining sector to be among the highest greenhouse gas emitters.
In this context, UNIDO ITPO Germany and ARE are highlighting the opportunity for mining companies and renewable energy solution providers to enter into partnerships to move towards a responsible and inclusive mining sector. The publication highlights four case studies and two experts’ interviews of DRE in mining operations and community electrification and draws the lessons learned for future projects.
Despite the positive transition, more than 18.1 million people in the region are still not covered by electricity, highlighting a persistent energy access gap in rural areas. In addition, the reliability of the national grid poses serious problems for socioeconomic development and disaster relief, particularly in island states.
The good news is that off-grid solutions are estimated to be the best fit solution to address at least 40% of the electricity access gap in LAC. Out of that, 30% would be mini-grids and the remaining 70% would consist of standalone systems.
In light of the above, ARE and IDB have joined forces to develop a market assessment on the status of the off-grid renewable energy market in the LAC region.
The publication provides international project developers, private investors and funding institutions with key insights into the needs, trends, challenges and opportunities in the LAC off-grid renewable energy market.
The publication consists of four sections:
The IRENA Coalition for Action brings together leading renewable energy players from around the world with the common goal of advancing the uptake of renewable energy. The Coalition facilitates global dialogues between non-governmental and governmental stakeholders to develop actions that increase the share of renewables in the global energy mix and accelerate energy transitions. The Coalition’s Working Group on Community Energy focuses on driving community energy investments and promoting policies that empower communities and citizens to participate in energy decision making.
Using a case study approach, the white paper highlights the different ways in which communities actively participate in energy decision making around the world and harness renewable energy’s potential to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits for a just transition. The paper also provides a checklist and additional resources that energy communities could consider when developing a renewable energy initiative.
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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