ARE Energy Access Investment Forum Catalyses Financing in the DRE Sector

David Lecoque, CEO, ARE

EU Support to Decentralised Renewable Energy Investments

Stefano Signore, Head of Climate Change & Sustainable Energy; Nuclear Safety Unit, Directorate-General for International Partnerships, European Commission

The European Union (EU) considers access to sustainable electricity services as a precondition for socio-economic development, fighting inequalities and boosting human development. We are committed to promote and accelerate the uptake of decentralised renewable energy solutions - since they are well suited to the needs of the population without access - through a combination of support tools being deployed in parallel and in a coordinated manner. This set of tools comprises policy dialogue with partner countries, assistance in improving their regulatory systems and investment support programmes. The future we want is a future where electricity from renewable energy provides opportunity for growth and job creation to all people, leaving no one behind, without damaging the planet.

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In our cooperation outside the EU with partner countries, in the current programming period 2021-2027, we will support energy interventions under the Global Gateway engagement strategy where energy is one of the key investment areas. Here, the sub-Saharan Africa is our clear geographical priority for accelerating access to sustainable energy and creating partnerships for green energy transition. This has been confirmed by the Global Gateway investment package of EUR 150 billion announced at the EU-Africa summit in February 2022.

In order to facilitate and enhance the intended renewable energy investments, we will support tailormade instruments that enable further public and private investments. The EU already supports various dedicated financial instruments and guarantees that have been created for that very purpose. ElectriFI and Facility for Energy Inclusion are fine examples with a steadily growing track-record of private investments supported and providing solid basis for the EU scaled up commitment. 

Building on the experience from the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD), the EU Commission is rolling out the new EFSD+ scheme for which the EU financial institutions can submit proposals for guarantee operations. These new guarantee facilities will offer comprehensive de-risking packages for decentralised renewable energy investments, combining investment support and technical assistance to enable bankable projects. This approach will help improve investment climate with a view to lowering risks of investing in sustainable energy projects and mobilising additional private or concessional capital.  In parallel, these guarantee instruments will strive to work hand in hand with the public sector actors (e.g. rural electrification agencies) to provide for competitive and transparent procurement processes enhancing trust from private investors and allowing for equal footing.

Finally, understanding the needs and current capacity constraints of local investors as well as complexity of the financial instruments landscape, the EU intends to scale up advisory services available for prospective investors to help them in maturing and improving their business models so as to make their projects attractive for financiers. This advisory service already exists under the EU supported GET.invest facility but is foreseen to expand and operate as a single-entry platform (one-stop-shop) for mostly small and medium companies that will effectively connect renewable energy investors with suitable financial instruments.

 

Smart Finance – a Response to the Challenges in the DRE Sector

Michael Franz, Team Leader, GET.invest

These are certainly interesting times for our sector. The good news first: the drive for innovation continues apace despite the turbulences in global markets. Renewable energy technology costs continue to decline, new business models emerge on a practically daily basis, and end users of energy can choose between more products and services than ever before.

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We are slowly emerging from the valley of COVID-19 and its effects. And while the signs in our sector as a whole are positive, it is without a doubt that many, many people worldwide have been severely impacted, and will need time to financially recover from the pandemic. This, together with in some cases persistent supply chain disruptions, saw many companies struggle, and stalled many projects. Our own data indicate a protracted period in 2020 during which investors and investees needed to find new ways of doing due diligence in a situation of travel restrictions. But towards the end of 2020, the pace picked up again, with more deals reaching closure almost across the board.

Having said that, it is time to brace for the next storm. The war in Ukraine has already sent waves through the global economy via rising material and logistics costs as well as inflation – we must now plan ahead. What will this mean for finance? During the pandemic, we saw an increased need for flexibility in terms and conditions, and for various types of bridge finance. Moreover, the GET.invest Finance Catalyst has taken a closer look at these two crises and their consequences, and published insights and recommendations for donors and financiers.

In addition, while there is certainly a need for new finance modalities, not all that is smart must be new: right now, we are identifying in our pipeline as well as through conversations within our network, that there is a growing imbalance of availability between equity and debt. In the absence of corrective action, it will become even harder to deploy the available and incoming debt into existing projects, and so jeopardise progress towards sustainable energy for all. What we also continue to see is a persistent need for balancing available capital for different ticket sizes, as well as demand for patient capital, new forms of guarantees and smart subsidies. 

As always, it is our pleasure to support our partners at the Alliance for Rural Electrification. We would not have been able to do so without the support of our contributors, i.e., the European Union, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Austria.

The Energy Access Investment Forum will be a great place to talk and do business, and to also exchange on these issues and drive solutions forward. We are happy to support the event and participate, and we look forward to meeting you there!

 

De-risking Mini-grid Investments in Africa

In many Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, energy access rates remain low, where nearly 600 million people still lack access to modern, sustainable, affordable electricity. Off-grid energy solutions are essential for achieving energy access targets, with mini-grids representing the least-cost electrification option for c. 30% of those living off-grid in Africa.

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Despite the growing activity in mini-grid development and investment in recent years, the sector is still considered a nascent, high-risk segment by many international financiers, with many barriers preventing increased capital flows into the industry. The major risks hampering mini-grid roll-out at scale include

  1. a weak enabling environment and uncertain policy & regulatory frameworks (related to tariff setting; licensing and permitting processes; grid arrival, etc.);
  2. commercial risks (lack of bankability due to high up-front CAPEX costs and low, uncertain revenues, small project sizes; affordability & ability to pay of customers, energy demand risk);
  3. currency risk; and
  4. political risks.

The African Development Bank-managed Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) spearheaded the promotion of GMG investments in Africa. Since 2015, SEFA has provided preparation grants to individual projects and designed targeted country programmes to create the enabling environment for private investments, as well as the Market Development Programme (MDP), a Pan-African technical assistance initiative to address sector-wide bottlenecks, catalyse investments and accelerate the maturity of the sector. It also seeded the creation of the US$500 million Facility for Energy Inclusion (FEI), a debt financing platform for small-scale decentralised renewables projects, including mini-grids.  

More recently, SEFA has developed a more holistic approach to its GMG interventions. The centrepiece of this new approach forms the Africa Mini-Grids Market Acceleration Programme (AMAP), a four-year, multi-country technical assistance (TA) programme to accelerate private mini-grid investment.

AMAP proposes a new model of country-level, investment-oriented programmatic interventions to generate bankable pipelines at scale. TA activities to governments aim to remove market barriers, provide strategic support to national institutions, and design bankable, national mini-grid acceleration programmes that attract public and private investment.

Tailored catalytic instruments complement AMAP’s market development support, including viability gap finance (VGF) products, mainly results-based finance (RBF) grants, and de-risking tools for mini-grid investments. Furthermore, AMAP will provide financial and legal advisory services to qualified mini-grid developers to facilitate closing commercial debt transactions in mini-grid projects.

Target countries include Madagascar, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Angola, Mali, Niger and Mauritania.

A range of new SEFA concessional investment instruments will complement AMAP’s programmatic interventions. They aim to close the “viability gap” of GMG business models, de-risking the projects and unlock additional concessional and commercial funding for scaling up mini-grid deployment. Further to these VGF tools (RBF grants or capital grants), junior equity or concessional debt instruments may be deployed for GMG financing structures, including blended finance facilities for GMG portfolio aggregation platforms, to crowd in more risk-averse investors and buy down financing costs of projects.

 

Renewable Energy Finance: Challenges & Solutions

Solar electricity generation is now growing rapidly due to its falling costs, more flexible regulatory frameworks and the renewable energy targets set under the Paris Agreement. Solar PV generation increased by 23% in 2020 to reach 821 TWh and will need to continue increasing by an average of 24% per year from now to 2030 to reach the net-zero emissions projected by the 2050 Scenario.

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However, finding financing for green and renewable energy generation projects, especially in rural areas, can still be challenging. Several factors can explain this: high start-up CAPEX financing needs, high-risk level, investment return rates that can be lower than other types of projects and paybacks that can take longer.

Impact investors, driven by their interest for social and environmental impact, are well-suited to provide financial solutions that will meet these needs. As patient investors, they can finance and support renewable energy projects over a longer time than traditional investors. Additionally, they are willing to accept lower financial return in exchange of a strong non-financial impact. The diversity of financial models used by impact investment investors (debt, quasi-equity, equity, safe notes etc.) might be an advantage to meet the needs of this type of projects.

There is therefore a very high degree of complementarity between the shorter-term debt provided by Development Financial Institutions, and the more patient capital provided by the Impact Investors, making it possible for the start-ups to fulfil both their working capital and capex needs.

This complementary approach was for example key in the development and growth of Amped Innovation, a US-based company designing and manufacturing affordable and high energy efficiency appliances both for generation and productive usage for low-income people in Africa. “While the debt financing provided by EDFI allowed us to finance our working capital needs, the equity and the technical support brought by impact investors such as Schneider Electric Energy Access gave us the opportunity to develop new products. These two complementary types of financing have been crucial to accelerate Amped's deployment of energy access solutions into 16 countries across Africa.” said Andrea Kleissner, co-CEO at Amped.

Thus, complementarity between debt and more patient equity financing could be a relevant response to the financing needs of DRE projects, and accelerate their development, particularly in rural areas with unreliable or no energy access.

 

Alternative Financial Instruments for Solar Offer a Win-win Opportunity for Private Investors & Off-grid Communities in Need

At ENGIE Energy Access, we are actively working to meet the SDG-7 goal of universal access for all by 2030 by delivering SHS and mini-grids to nine Sub-saharan African countries – and have already impacted more than 7 million lives with clean, affordable and reliable energy.

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Yet, DRE is hindered by technical, regulatory and financial hurdles. With Africa’s population predicted to double by 2050, we are testing new alternative financial approaches that can contribute to creating more shock-resistant internal financial markets in Africa. We believe that these approaches should incentivize private sector investment to meet the energy challenge.

Climate financing to bridge the affordability gap

To make high-quality solar products more affordable for economically challenged communities, one solution is to create value from the climate benefits solar provides. ENGIE Energy Access therefore partnered with the Danish start-up Solstroem, which developed an innovative service for SHS companies to issue carbon offsets.

We formed an IT integration that allows for Micro Carbon Avoidances to be created, which are available to corporate buyers wishing to compensate for their CO2 footprint. The carbon calculations applied are based on a UN Clean Development Mechanism methodology, third-party verified by DNV.

After a successful pilot, ENGIE Energy Access is now working on full deployment. However, potential buyers of carbon offsets need to recognise innovative carbon standards such as Solstroem. Without this interest from the market, prices for carbon offsets will remain low, hindering the capacity to make a difference.

Crowdfunding with crypto

PAYGo allows ENGIE Energy Access to deliver our high-quality MySol solar kits to unbanked rural customers but it requires high capital to scale. Crypto-based decentralised finance could represent a solution by connecting impact-oriented investors with these customers.

Global non-profit Energy Web Foundation developed a crowdfunding platform allowing micro-investors to finance the installation of clean energy by staking Energy Web Tokens ($EWT), the native token of the Energy Web Chain, in exchange for a fixed interest rate.

In May 2022, ENGIE Energy Access and Energy Web launched the Crowdfund for Solar platform on the Energy Web Chain. The first results were encouraging – the platform was 100% filled within seven hours. The staked $EWT will provide energy access in countries with low electrification rates such as Rwanda and Zambia.

Our ambition is to build on the lessons from this pilot to continue attracting investments for our sector through crowdfunding, as we are exploring other possible use cases.

To find out more about our work, visit www.engie-energyaccess.com

 

Blended Grant Financing through Energy Catalyst is Accelerating the Commercialisation of Innovative Clean Energy Technologies & Business Models

Energy Catalyst, one of the UKs biggest energy access focused grant funding programmes, focuses on supporting the delivery of a just and inclusive energy transition and extend the benefits of clean energy to all, with the aim of meeting Sustainable Development Goals SDG-7 (Affordable and clean energy) and SDG-13 (Climate action).

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To achieve this, Energy Catalyst provides financial and advisory support to UK and international businesses and organisations, to help the development of innovative market focused clean energy solutions in Africa, Asia and Indo Pacific regions. Through providing support to innovators, the programme helps to create strategic partnerships, channel knowledge and insights and develop business models to commercialise the solutions that will improve lives.

Channelling finance to deploy innovative clean energy solutions

Energy Catalyst takes on risky early-stage innovation that often cannot access traditional finance, helping to bridge the financial gap and offer innovators an opportunity to get their solutions off the ground. This early-stage support serves to lower the barriers to private funding for companies further on in their journey. By supporting early, mid, and late-stage projects, the programme enables companies to progress from feasibility through to implementation to securing further investment - leading to longer term commercial viability for companies to develop and scale beyond the programme.

As a result of Energy Catalyst support over 8 funding rounds, £48.6m worth of private sector funding has been unlocked as well as £13.8m of further public sector funding. Taking co-funding for Energy Catalyst projects into account this rises to £33.8m of funding leveraged.

Going beyond grant funding

Energy Catalyst funded projects look beyond technological innovation, to also explore cultural interdependencies when implementing projects and consider specific infrastructure needs in target markets to support successful commercialisation. Energy Catalyst projects receive support on partnership and network development, to identify high impact partners, as well as acceleration support to increase the likelihood of successful outcomes. For examples of successful projects supported to date, visit: https://energycatalyst.ukri.org/case-studies-new/

Impact to date

Since launching in 2014, Energy Catalyst has so far improved energy access in 34 countries and supported 566 organisations pioneering clean energy access technologies and business models.

How to apply for funding

Now in its 9th round of programme funding, organisations can apply to Energy Catalyst for a share of up to £20 million to create new or improved clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific regions. Applications are open from 18th May through to 10th Aug 2022, and applicants are accepted from anywhere in the world provided that they have a project admin lead based in the UK and are focused on a technology or a business model which is affordable, reliable and low carbon.

To apply for Round 9 funding, visit: https://apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk/competition/1175/overview#summary

 

Smart renewable energy financing: the case for local currency loans

We at TCX Fund think local currency finance is a smart financing choice, especially in the renewable energy sector. Our mantra is that a business that earns local currency, should be financed with local currency. By avoiding currency mismatches between debt and revenue, the business will have stable and predictable debt service costs and not be affected by volatility and depreciations that come with frontier market currencies.

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What is local currency debt?

Local currency debt can come from the local market, like a bank. A Tanzanian business might borrow shilling from a Tanzanian bank. It will receive Tanzanian shillings at disbursement and repay the loan with shillings and pay an interest rate that compensates the bank for inflation expectations, costs and the credit risk that it takes on.

Local currency debt can also come from a foreign lender. In fact, underdeveloped markets rely on foreign capital inflows. In that case, the Tanzanian business will receive a loan that is denominated in (or “indexed to”) the shilling. But now, the business will receive USD (or EUR or GBP) at disbursement, not shillings, and it must also repay the loan with USD. The amount of USD to be paid will depend on the USD/TZS exchange rate at the repayment date. That way, if the shilling depreciates, the business will simply repay less USD, meaning that the lender will receive less USD than it disbursed. To avoid that loss, the lender can hedge this risk, which is where TCX comes in.

TCX can help any lender provide financing in any emerging market currency and tenor. We always encourage borrowers to ask their lenders about this product, called a “synthetic local currency loan”.

But is a local currency loan not much more expensive?

Local currency debt will have a higher interest rate than USD debt, but the costs associated with annual currency depreciation (and of managing risk and currency stress!) should be added to understand the true cost of USD debt. If a shilling loan has a rate of 14% and a USD loan costs 8%, it is tempting to take the USD. But this is a risky gamble!

Taking into account the probability of currency depreciation, local currency loans are, generally speaking, neither cheaper nor more expensive. They make debt service payments predictable and give peace of mind to borrowers and lenders. After all, nobody can predict with certainty what will happen to exchange rates years ahead. 

Smart incentives?

TCX, with European Union support, last year launched a blending facility that brings down the cost of hedging and, with that, the cost of local currency debt. The facility reduces the incentive to gamble with USD loans. If, in the above example, the shilling loan is not offered at 14% but at 12%, would it still make sense to take the USD at 8%? Probably not!

Every time a business chooses to borrow in local currency, it reduces its own risk, but it also helps build a stronger sector, and that is crucial to accelerating growth and chieving SDGs.

If you have questions, please contact: p.vanswaay@tcxfund.com

 

Green Bitcoin Mining: A Game Changer for Mini-grids in Africa?

Achieving universal energy access is a mammoth task which requires continuous innovation by mini-grid companies regarding technology and business models. The largest challenge to be addressed by innovation is the demand risk. Electricity demand development over time depends substantially on factors like “level of entrepreneurship” and “access to capital from family and friends,” which can simply not be assessed prior to electrification. This is the main reason why renewable energy mini-grids are usually over-sized with a capacity that covers any demand potentially developing over time.

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It is in line with the above that SustainSolar and Earth Wind and Power, a leading innovator in creating a sustainable bridge between excess energy and the exponentially growing demand for green computing power, signed a Letter of Intent in September 2021 to conduct a pilot study with the aim of improving energy utilisation by turning excess energy from SustainSolar’s off-grid solar installations into green computing power.

Soon thereafter, INENSUS GmbH, a consulting and engineering firm with a focus on rural electrification joined the team which embarked on the task of demonstrating the viability of bitcoin mining with excess renewable energy in mini-grids. The pilot aims to prove that Bitcoin mining from unused renewable electricity in rural Africa can generate additional revenue for mini-grid and off-grid C&I solar operators, mitigating the demand risk. Read more on the pilot and the KeyMaker Model in Uganda by INENSUS through its joint venture company Volt-Terra Farm and Energy Solutions Limited HERE.

SustainSolar, Earth Wind and Power and INENSUS saw the opportunity to use what would have been otherwise wasted energy to support crypto mining and in the process generate an additional revenue stream through the leading digital currency – bitcoin. Bitcoin mining only requires the correct hardware, electricity, as well as a stable internet connection. Three second-life ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) computers, also known as “miners”, were used, lowering CAPEX for the system while recycling otherwise soon-to-be electronic waste.

For this pilot application, Earth Wind and Power’s technical expertise enabled a container to be modified with a separate ventilated compartment, for safe keeping of the miner and to provide optimised airflow to dissipate the heat build-up from the data processing operation. Additionally, the 3G internet connection providing communication for remote monitoring of the system also provides the miners’ connectivity with a bitcoin mining pool.

During the first phase, crypto mining in a remote village with a tropical climate and weak internet connectivity through the mobile network could be verified. In the ongoing second phase, the power consumption capacity of the miners is increased to a level where the miners can consume all electricity generated in the mini-grid if running 24/7. This means that the mining power needs to be controlled to prevent power outages for the primary loads. This is accomplished through an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and deterministic optimisation developed by INENSUS. For more information about the controller watch this video.

After this successful proof of concept demonstration, the parties are now moving towards commercialisation of their development into the mini-grid market. Based on the pilot’s analysis and long-term bitcoin market data, revenues from bitcoin mining for mini-grid companies range from 0.08 to 0.25 USD/kWh of excess electricity fed into the miners over 5 years. This already includes the depreciation of mining hardware.

The next phase will focus on design optimisation, maintenance free mining through immersion cooling, selection of miner models, business model and refining the AI controller for various use cases and scenarios.

Stay tuned and if you’re interested and like to find out more, read the extended version of this article here and please get in touch via:

info@sustainsolar.co.za , post@earth-wind-and-power.com or info@inensus.com

 

Remote Monitoring as an Enabler of Financing Options

Remote monitoring is used in solar and drinking water systems to ensure their sustainability. Through easy to install plug-and-play boxes, EcoPhi has found a way to enable permanent system monitoring and efficiency control of such plants. Often the benefits of monitoring on a financial level are underestimated and without a proper monitoring and control system, some projects would not be feasible. In the article below, three ways in which EcoPhi monitoring solutions can contribute to accessing financing are presented.

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New business models through technical features

Remote monitoring can help establish new payment models. The use of a monitoring and control system enables models such as pay-as-you go, and the management of these can be purely digital. Through digitisation, accurate consumption data can be collected and thus different billing options can be offered. Payment can be simplified through the integration of payment providers. All of this can help provide access to financing for the companies offering flexible payment options themselves and lower the inhibition threshold for end customers. With EcoPhi solutions, all this can be easily implemented.

Access to funding through quality and transparency

Monitoring increases the safety, efficiency and lifetime of the equipment. This becomes very important when applying for funds. If this is already included in the project application, the willingness of the financiers to invest in the projects increases. Demonstrating plant performance and transparency during operation in turn creates trust and opportunities for future financing. Target group-oriented reporting is also important, as financing parties are interested in different information than the operators and plant developers, and targeted and automated reporting can significantly increase the prospects. The EcoPhi boxes are particularly suitable for this, as information is provided continuously, which can serve as a security for investors.

Safety through asset protection

Plant safety is also an important consideration when it comes to accessing financing. In many cases, plants do not run properly due to safety-related deficiencies. As investors are often aware of this, it is a barrier for them to invest in projects. The EcoPhi Monitoring System is modular and thus security-relevant components can also be included on site, e.g., the integration of camera monitoring, on-site alarms, and additional measures for theft protection.

The EcoPhi Monitoring System

EcoPhi monitoring solutions include both hardware and software and are modular for many applications. Size and complexity of the systems do not matter for EcoPhi's boxes. The application focus is on solar and water. In addition to monitoring production, the focus is also on the application itself. For example, EcoPhi systems are also used in solar cooling, water treatment or irrigation systems in various countries.

This project is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action as part of the Renewable Energy Solutions Programme of the German Energy Solutions Initiative.

 

https://www.ruralelec.org/event-calendar/future-energy-week

  • Innovation for Electrification: Energy Storage Trends Showcase

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    On 28 April, over 400 tuned in as we learned about the latest energy storage trends with insights from ARE Members 247Solar, Solartia, Eastman, H2 Energy Sdn Bhd and OXTO Energy.

    The I4E series enables Members to showcase their technologies, products and services and turn viewers into customers.

    The next webinar series on Premium Power Components will take place on 8 September 2022.

    For opportunities at the next webinar contact: Deepak Mohapatra (d.mohapatra@ruralelec.org)

    Watch the recording

  • Representing the Sector at the Access to Sustainable Off-grid Energy Conference in Paris

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    ADEME, AFD and SER, in partnership with ARE, organised the 3rd edition of the annual conference on sustainable off-grid energy access on 10 May 2022 in Paris.

    After the success of the 2018 and 2020 conferences, this edition was held as a follow-up to the work of the National WG on Access to Energy.

    During the event, ARE contributed to the insightful discussions by underlining the significance of key regulations to stimulate the productive use of decentralised renewable energies.

  • Back at Intersolar Europe with the Off-grid Power Workshop

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    ARE in partnership with BSW-Solar and Intersolar Europe, with the support of BMZ and GET.invest, organised this year's Off-grid Power Workshop at Intersolar Europe on 12 May 2022 in Munich.

    The workshop was an opportunity for participants to meet high-ranking delegations, manufacturers, technology providers, academia, policymakers and industry leaders.

    Intersolar was also a great occasion to network with existing and future members at our booth.

     

  • A Spotlight on Certification Approaches & the DRE Workforce at the SEforALL Forum

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    More than 30 ARE Members took part in the SEforALL Forum on 17-19 May in Kigali, which featured two sessions co-organised by ARE:

    Certification Approaches for DRE Practitioners

    Organised by CORE, this session deep dived into the role of regional and national certification programmes and how to use existing approaches to certify practitioners. Certification of professionals that deliver DRE will help in building a skilled 21st century workforce and support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG-7.

     Powering the DRE Workforce

    Achieving universal energy access relies on creating and cultivating renewable energy jobs. Accelerating SGD-7 provides a global opportunity to drive employment and economic growth. However, more workforce investments are needed, especially when it comes to women and youth. Co-organised by ARE and PowerforALL, this session highlighted several new initiatives working to build the skills and ecosystems required by the energy practitioners of the future.

    ARE also engaged in a series of high-level bilateral meetings on behalf of the sector, including with the Minister of Rural Development of DRC, representatives of the European Commission, OFID, Power Africa and the Nigerian government.

  • Celebrating RES4Africa’s 10th Anniversary

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    RES4Africa celebrated its 10-year anniversary, a milestone representing a decade of effort at the service of Africa’s energy transition. 

    Such a landmark was celebrated on 24 of May 2022, together with all RES4Africa’s members, partners and supporters all over the world, with the special event Setting Priorities for Africa’s Sustainable Energy Transition. The physical meeting was hosted in Rome and digitally.

    This special gathering was an opportunity to look back and highlight RES4Africa’s track record of achievements and a perspective on barriers to renewable energy development in Africa and the Mediterranean.

  • Understanding the Clean Energy Transition with Community-Driven DRE Projects

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    In its 5th event under the PWCET series, ARE and Green People’s Energy (GBE) organised a discussion with various stakeholders on "Understanding the Clean Energy Transition with Community-Driven DRE Projects" on 24 May 2022

    With 215 participants tuned in, the webinar, focused on the importance of community-supported DRE projects including the launch of a joint-publication featuring 12 case studies from Germany and Africa.

    Download the publication

  • Investment Academy for Francophone Africa

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    Following the successful English edition in 2021, ARE is delighted to have kickstarted the French edition of the Virtual Investment Academy on 1-22 June 2022.

    The French edition of the Virtual Investment Academy aimed to improve access to finance for DRE SMEs in francophone Africa. Supported by GET.invest, the academy was exclusively open for ARE Members and members of partner NREAs and attracted over 100 participants.

  • ARE Welcomes Rebecca Bregant as President & Six New Board Members

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    ARE held its General Assembly on 8 June 2022. ARE Members elected six new Board Members, with Rebecca Bregant being appointed as the first female President of the Association. After two years of service, Claudio Pedretti ended his tenure as President. Hereby, ARE wishes to convey its thanks and appreciation to the former President and outgoing Board Members: Prosper Magali (Ensol Ltd.), Iain Munro (Ryse Energy), Stephen Wasira (Virunga Power) and Yoann Le Fol (Victron Energy) for their key contributions to ARE.

    In addition to Board Members continuing their mandate (Claudio Pedretti, GCV; Irene Calvé Saborit, Sunkofa; Rebecca Bregant, PineBerry; Rebecca Sleegers, Africa GreenTec), ARE’s Board is composed of:

    • Dario Traverso, CEO, Genius Watter
    • Jan Ijspeert, CEO, BAE Batterien
    • Nicolas Rohrer, Managing Director, Asantys Systems
    • Alexis Rehbinder, Development Manager – Africa/Middle East, GDS International (re-elected)
    • Camille Andre-Bataille, CEO, ANKA Madagascar
    • Christophe Poline, Sustainable Investments Directors, Schneider Electric

    Read the press release

  • ARE Energy Access Investment Forum (Virtual & Dar es Salaam | 28-30 Jun 2022)

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    EAIF is the top annual business and finance event for the renewable electrification sector, enabling and fostering business and investor partnerships for the purpose of sustainable electricity access, decarbonisation, economic growth and fighting against climate change. 

    The Forum convenes private and public financiers, energy and climate investors, development finance institutions, international funding partners, government officials and private sector companies with the goal to boost clean electricity access globally, where 759 million people still lack access to electricity and another 2.8 billion people suffer from unreliable power services. 

    EAIF 2022 will be held in-person in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on 28-30 June 2022. Virtual participation is open for everyone, allowing participants to follow the sessions online and network.

    Supported by the European Union and GET.invest, this year’s EAIF is expecting over 100 investors and 1000 participants.

  • ARE is Hiring Two New Assistants

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    ARE is expanding.

    Want to work in an international fast-paced environment with offices in the heart of Europe? Want to make a difference by advancing both renewables and energy access worldwide, especially in emerging economies in Sub-Saharan Africa? Want to work alongside highly motivated colleagues in a scale-up atmosphere? Looking for on-the-job training and top-notch learning experience?

    We are recruiting two assistants starting in August 2022:

    1. Events & Marketing Assistant
    2. Business & Market Development Assistant

  • ARE: Annual Report 2021

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    At the start of yet another remarkable year, it is time to take stock to reflect on the successes and challenges that have come our way. For ARE, 2021 was a year of hope as well as action empowering the DRE sector to survive and flourish.

    As the sector’s oldest and largest business association bringing together distributed renewable energy actors across the whole value chain throughout emerging markets, ARE celebrates the sector’s resilience and innovation illustrated by the major increase in ARE membership to 185 in 2021.

    In the next three years, ARE charts the course to massively scale up the ability of the private sector to concretely deliver on sustainable universal electrification, paving the road to 2030.

  • ARE: Understanding the Clean Energy Transition with Community-Driven DRE Projects in Germany and Sub-Saharan Africa

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    Climate change impacts have accelerated and amplified over the last decades. Extreme weather, natural disasters, economic collapses, food and water insecurity, are all symptoms of this crisis. Similarly, 759 million people currently lack access to electricity, while another 2.8 billion still suffer from unreliable electricity services. With the goals of the Paris Agreement seemingly challenging to achieve by 2030, new approaches to the clean energy transition are required.

    This publication explores the potential of community-driven DRE projects to address the climate crisis, provide access to electricity and contribute to socio-economic development in communities.

    The case studies featured in this publication highlight the main benefits of the community-driven DRE projects in Germany and Sub-Saharan Africa, and some of the notable barriers faced in such projects.

  • IEA et al.: Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report

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    This joint annual report from the custodian agencies of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 on energy, serves to guide international co-operation and policy making to achieve universal, sustainable energy access by 2030.

    The annual SDG 7 tracking report includes the official dashboard of global, regional and national progress on four key energy targets:

    • 7.1: Ensuring universal access to electricity and clean cooking solutions;
    • 7.2: Substantially increasing the share of renewable energy;
    • 7.3: Doubling progress on energy efficiency;
    • 7.A: Increasing international collaboration in support of clean and renewable energy.

    The latest available data and selected energy scenarios reveal that at today’s rate of progress, the world is not on track to achieve any of the targets under SDG 7. This is particularly true of the most vulnerable countries and those that were already lagging.

  • SEforALL: The Role of End-User Subsidies in Closing the Affordability Gap

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    Designing effective, efficient and supportive end-user subsidy programmes is a complicated process that relies on significant data and information, including an accurate understanding of the affordability gap in the targeted country or region. This brief builds on the existing literature regarding the development and implementation of end-user subsidies for SHSs. Its purpose is to: a) survey efforts to develop and advance a methodology to assess the affordability gap and the implied level of end-user subsidy required by the market, b) utilize case studies to map key attributes of subsidy design and demonstrate what these attributes look like in practice, and c) identify key data points required to accurately determine subsidy thresholds and targeting mechanisms to improve the success of subsidy programmes moving forward.

    To demonstrate how the different attributes of subsidy design function for SHSs in practice, this brief considers three case studies: one from a relatively mature electricity market (Ghana) and two from emerging electricity markets (Uganda and Togo). The end-user subsidy programmes implemented in each country were also assessed on whether they directly addressed the affordability gap challenge in rural regions outside of potential grid connections.

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.