Call for mini-grid topics and business proposals to be addressed at ARE Energy Access Investment Forum 2019 in Zambia

Marcus Wiemann, Executive Director, ARE

Promoting inclusive growth by supporting access to energy in rural areas in Togo

Antonio Capone, First Secretary and Team Leader Infrastructure & Environment, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Togo

Energy poverty needs to be tackled in order to end poverty. Inclusive economic growth is the only effective way to reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity. However, most economic activities are impossible without adequate, reliable and proposed modern energy at a competitive price. This is why access to energy has so much importance in the fight against poverty.

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In Togo only 8% of the rural population has access to electricity, compared to more than 80% in larger cities. Despite considerable public efforts, energy poverty in rural areas could continue to worsen under the combined effects of demographic growth and low investments in the sector.

Recent technological developments offer new interesting opportunities for rural communities to access electricity. Decentralised solutions now enable the electrification of remote rural areas through mini-grids and solar home systems at much lower costs than in the past. However, this possibility remains still insufficiently deployed in Togo (currently only four mini-grid are operational) to meet the energy challenge.

The challenge is therefore huge in Togo. The lack of sufficient and appropriate funding hinders the development of decentralised solutions, but it is also an opportunity and a potential market that can attract economic operators offering "off-grid" solutions. The European Union (EU) has been supporting the electrification strategy of Togo since 2016, providing technical assistance and financial support to private sector to facilitate the deployment of decentralised application and innovative digital technologies that facilitate the management of electricity services.

The partnership between European Union and Togo covers different sub-sectors in the energy sector: hydroelectricity, regulatory framework, feasibility studies for dams, mini-grids, solar power plants, and financial guarantees to private sector, to mention a few of them.

The encouraging results obtained so far are mainly due to the impressive political will of the Togolese government, which shows once again that where there is a will there is a path. In addition, the excellent coordination between the donors involved in the sector has also allowed a relationship of mutual trust with the government and a frank and constructive policy dialogue to be established.

The prospects are encouraging and the European Union will continue to work in close coordination with the private sector, as underlined in the new EU-Africa Alliance launched by President Junker.

Regional events, such as the workshop "Atelier Off-Grid B2B Togo" organised by the ARE, followed by the 1st Togo-EU Economic Forum in Lomé in June 2019, were very good opportunities for developers to be informed about the existing opportunities, and the EU will continue to work closely with ARE to promote the development of rural electrification in Togo.


Multiplying mini-grid socio-economic impact through the WEF Nexus approach

Mini-grids have revealed themselves to be the most efficient instrument in order to ensure the electrification of remote areas with low loading density and boost local economic development through productive uses of energy. In recent years, the Water-Energy-Food Nexus has been developed as a new holistic approach to optimise the use of natural resources, provide access to the essential services for an appropriate sustainable development, and innovate business models.

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Applying the WEF Nexus approach to catalyse transformational changes in Africa” is the latest study carried out by RES4Africa Foundation, in collaboration with OpenEconomics, which looks at CEFA Onlus’ Ikondo-Matembwe project and its integrated approach to enhance long-lasting impacts.

The Ikondo-Matembwe project, which serves eight villages in rural Tanzania, integrates a hydro-powered mini-grid, agri-businesses (animal-feed factory and hatching poultry farm) and water supply systems, distributing electricity, water and food services to the surrounding communities. The study quantifies and evaluates what positive development impact a RE-based WEF Nexus project like Ikondo-Matembwe can engender in a local community through a micro-economic and macro-economic analysis.











The study, through a cost-benefit analysis of single- versus multi-service scenarios, concluded that this integrated WEF Nexus project has more than twice as much economic impact on local communities than sole energy supply. The model acts as a multiplier effect: investing in integrated sectors significantly increase local purchasing power which translates into improvements in other socio-economic areas, enhancing access to basic services and improving productivity of agriculture through the synergic relationship of energy with water and food. The application of the Nexus approach in the Ikondo-Matembwe project has known improvements in terms of health, productivity, access to food, water and even education.

Even though investments in electrification have revealed significant social and sustainable benefits in rural Tanzania, how can we measure the financial sustainability and returns for investors? Concrete examples of the WEF Nexus implementation being very few, RES4Africa took the lead and brought the analysis further by evaluating business models for rural electrification, with a focus on those that apply the Nexus approach. The study, which involves several RES4Africa stakeholders, will be released soon.

RES4Africa is working to identify pilot-projects to validate business models based on the WEF Nexus. Partnerships between private, public, and development actors of water, energy and food sectors are the key tool to identify sustainable and scalable business models, achieve full access to energy and catalyze transformational changes in Africa.


NRECA International team plans and implements power solutions that enable long-term electricity access

The situation: Grid expansion in rural areas, even in developing nations that have high electrification rates, can be wrought with challenges - high costs, lack of accurate data, uninformed planning, among others. Connecting homes in isolated communities or even within a kilometer of the grid, can be years away. Constructing mini-grids in these rural areas can expedite electricity access to spur economic development. However, the key to long-term success is affordable and reliable access to electric service.

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The electric cooperative business model

For more than 50 years, NRECA International has supported partners and national governments with national electrification planning that includes grid and off-grid strategies. These efforts include cost-effective investments in power solutions that can be managed and operated successfully by electric cooperatives.

NRECA International has helped establish more than 250 electric co-ops and utilities across the globe. This started in the 1970s, in partnership the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which launched electric co-op movements in Bangladesh, Philippines and Bolivia.

Affordable and reliable electricity. Every day.

NRECA International team plans and implements power solutions that enable long-term electricity access. That often means starting with establishing small-scale electric co-ops with an eye for sustained growth and strategic business planning to guide future investments to ensure continued access to affordable and reliable electricity. Based on decades of success, NRECA International continues to promote and implement the electric co-op model. In rural and underserved areas, it is an ideal business model for operating mini-grids, no matter which renewable generation technology is deployed.

Electric co-ops are owned by their customers (members), governed by an elected board, and operated by a professional staff. Operating as non-profit entities, they provide at-cost electric service to their customers. Co-op members pay the cost of generation, operations and maintenance, with excess revenue returned to them. With sufficient planning in place, electric co-ops can continue to operate and manage utility operations should the community’s power needs outgrow the scope of a mini-grid.

Empowered communities

Funded by the African Development Bank, NRECA International recently completed a project to explore the feasibility of the electric cooperative business model in Nigeria and Ethiopia. Today, the team is working to establish an electric co-op in Maji, a remote community in southwestern Ethiopia.

And in Uganda, under a cooperative strengthening programme funded by USAID, a team of experts is implementing governance and operations training workshops to the senior staff and board members of four electric co-ops.  As evidenced in the electric co-op movement in rural America more than 80 years ago, and subsequently in other countries who adopted the same solution, this model results in an empowered community. This facilitates economic growth, improved healthcare, better education, and an improved quality of life for all.


Mlinda’s rural electrification project - powered by Victron Energy

In 2016, ARE Member Mlinda embarked on an ambitious rural electrification project with the aim of enabling India’s most marginalised communities – who have no access to electricity - to support themselves through sustainable livelihoods using solar powered mini grids.

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So far, Mlinda has installed 31 mini-grids in the Gumla district of Jharkhand, India. Each grid has around 20-30 kWp of capacity and provides a continuous power supply of both single - and three -phase electricity. The size of each grid is determined through analysis of local-needs surveys and mapping.

All power plants can be monitored remotely allowing observation and management of grid performance - and even remote technical intervention where necessary. All this is made possible by the powerful free-to-use software application known as Victron Remote Management (VRM) available on the Victron Energy website.

The strength of Mlinda’s model for mini grid installation and support lies in its close ties, and deep understanding of each community's energy needs. Engineers and local operators work with villagers and stay in their communities. Consumers pay an up-front connection fee, and then pay for energy usage through pre-paid meters. The mini-grid is designed to provide 80% of its power for light-industrial use and 20% for domestic loads. Mlinda meets growing demand responsibly - ensuring it is based on low-energy devices. We also provide business loans to farmers who wish to purchase energy-efficient equipment - further accelerating uptake of our business model.

The rural electrification project is aimed at triggering rural development through access to electricity. In this way, Mlinda underpins agri-businesses such as vegetable oil extraction, mini cold storage, and electrification of poultry coops within the villages. These agri-businesses create a demand for the products right on the farmer’s doorstep, which in turn creates additional income streams for the farmers.

In order to support a mix of economic activities within a village it is essential to extend support to commercial activities outside the farming sector. Currently, Mlinda has already converted shops, metal fabricators, banks etc. to clean and reliable energy from mini-grids.


An independent monitoring and evaluation body frequently assesses the impact of our project.

The overview below shows the results of a rapid assessment study conducted in February 2019 (Sambodhi Rapid Assessment study April 2019):


Establishing mini-grids as infrastructure assets to unlock access to the trillion-dollar infrastructure capital market

CrossBoundary Energy Access (CBEA) has executed its 1st project finance transaction for mini-grids in Africa with developer PowerGen Renewable Energy, backed by The Rockefeller Foundation, Renewable Energy Performance Partners (REPP), and family office Ceniarth.

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Mini-grids are now mainstream. The World Bank believes they have become the least-cost solution for providing power to half a billion people globally, as technological innovation has driven down capital costs by over 50% in the last eight years. The only missing piece for scale is now financing. CrossBoundary Energy Access (CBEA), a project finance facility for mini-grids, hopes to prove a new model using financial innovation to unlock that final barrier.

CBEA launched in January with initial funding from The Rockefeller Foundation and Ceniarth. CBEA has since closed its first deal with PowerGen Renewable Energy to finance 60 mini-grids in Tanzania, bringing grid-quality power to 34,000 rural consumers. The USD 5.5 million transaction is backed by a loan from Renewable Energy Performance Partners (REPP).

The deal goes a long way towards helping CBEA achieve its true aim - establishing mini-grids as infrastructure assets to unlock access to the trillion-dollar infrastructure capital market. CBEA’s business model, from its structure to its contracting approach with developers, is focused on making mini-grids reflect traditional infrastructure investments. In Ceniarth, the Rockefeller Foundation, and REPP, CBEA has found financing partners willing to work towards the broader vision.

To establish mini-grids as infrastructure assets CBEA has developed a comprehensive and innovative financing platform. CBEA established a special purpose vehicle (SPV) in Tanzania to acquire PowerGen’s existing and future mini-grids, and also entered into a long-term contract with PowerGen to operate the sites. The contracts align incentives so that PowerGen continues to build and operate the sites as if they were the long-term owner. Through the structure CBEA does not take development, construction, and customer acquisition risk, which is essential for financiers looking to invest infrastructure capital directly into operating assets. CBEA manages the operating mini-grids through ARE Member Odyssey Energy Solutions’ asset monitoring platform, which uses internet of things (IoT) technology to tie together performance data from smart meters, inverters, mobile money providers and other sources so that CBEA can track KPIs in real time.

“There are significant challenges and risks involved with proving this model and establishing mini-grids as infrastructure assets”, says Gabriel Davies, Head of Energy Access at CBEA “but we’re using innovative finance, proven developers, and new technology to mitigate those risks.” To succeed CBEA needs to replicate this deal multiple times across continent and is currently seeking developers who fit its profile and investors who are willing to make a small bet to facilitate massive impact.


Build it, but will they buy it - and stay?

There is no question about the utility of mini-grids and the value they bring to base-of-pyramid consumers. Mini-grids enable people to enjoy a wider variety of time-saving and life-changing appliances, as well as small businesses to power new equipment to diversify, modernise, and become more efficient.

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A big challenge for most operators is the inability to attract enough people to sign up, stay committed and spend consistently. Without effectively addressing these key revenue drivers, mini-grids are at risk of falling far short of their potential impact. Early adopters enroll eagerly for the promise of what mini-grids provide. But the vast majority of consumers require much greater sales engagement to overcome hesitation, distrust, or entrenched behavior.

Problem is that most salespeople are not trained well and incapable of effectively addressing these consumer blocks. They try to sell by “pitching and persuading” people to buy and some will tell the customer nearly anything just to get paid a commission. This kind of selling ends up hurting operators because customers drop off quickly, consume inconsistently, or purchase very little power. Many who drop off do not fully understand how the scheme works and end up feeling deceived.

The good news is that by training and developing your salespeople to sell well, they can learn how to have sales conversations that convert more customers who will stay committed and consume more consistently, even with inconsistent income patterns. Salespeople will build trust and get better results by learning how to have a consultative, problem-led sales conversation. Instead of diving into ‘pitching’ the features and benefits of mini-grids, they should follow these steps in order:

  1. Help the customer understand the problems they have at a much deeper level than ever before by having a meaningful conversation about their current situation and the problems they experience with it, not a one-sided pitch.
  2. Calculate what the problem is costing them if they don’t change in monetary terms.
  3. Share your solution by matching features and benefits to the problems discovered in step 1
  4. Lastly, help the customer calculate the value of the solution in monetary terms, either decreased expenses or increased income.

To achieve greater customer “buy-in,” you must train your salespeople first to awaken people to the problems they have been tolerating and at what cost, which generates an urgent desire to change. The result is that customers trust you more, understand your services better, and sign up with greater understanding and commitment.

More information and related articles can be found at

Don’t miss the exclusive webinar for all the ARE Members on how to improve your sales capability and social impact on 30 September 2019: Webinar: How to sell mini-grids to rural populations

More information to follow soon.


John Cockerill and its dynamic approach on micro-grid

Renewable energy has many environmental and economic benefits, but intermittency of solar and wind resources is by far the most formidable technical barrier to widespread system integration. Wind and solar generation are not dispatchable, thus grid operators must wrestle with transmission and distribution electrical system upgrades in addition to grid capacity constraints, spinning reserve margins, and frequency regulation to offset the effects of intermittency.

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John Cockerill, enabler of opportunities

Driven since 1817 by the entrepreneurial spirit and passion for innovation of its founder, the John Cockerill Group develops large-scale technological solutions to meet the needs of its time: preserving natural resources, contributing to greener mobility, manufacturing sustainably, combating insecurity and facilitating access to renewable energy.

John Cockerill is active in renewable energy system design and battery energy storage integration on either side of the meter. John Cockerill also acts as an EPC integrator providing optimised solutions depending on each customer’s specific needs and the best available technical-economic features.

John Cockerill has constructed the MiRIS (Micro Réseau Intégré Seraing) project, Europe's largest industrial energy storage pilot plant, located adjacent to the John Cockerill Group’s international headquarters in Seraing (Belgium). The purpose of the full-scale pilot project is to demonstrate advanced integration of intermittent renewable energy resources with battery-based energy storage.

MiRIS consists of renewable and energy storage systems. The renewable portion of the project includes a 2 MWp photovoltaic system consisting of 6,500 roof top panels and carports, as well as 36 inverters. The energy storage portion of the demonstration project includes two types of flow battery systems, a NaS battery plus a lithium-ion battery system for a combined total of 5.4MWh of storage capacity.

John Cockerill uses the MiRIS project to investigate the interoperability of renewables and different energy storage technologies for a variety of energy user energy profiles, particularly with respect to renewable energy time shifting and energy resale to the grid.

Another very important goal is to demonstrate off-grid or “islanding” operation of the MiRIS micro-grid. Thanks to a combination of PV or wind, BESS and back-up Genset, John Cockerill can create a reliable micro-grid.

John Cockerill has begun developing a deep understanding of how to economically optimise renewable energy sources coupled with energy storage for particular user energy and demand load profiles. John Cockerill has begun to develop and finance specific projects worldwide.

If you are a developer, John Cockerill would be glad to team-up for the co-development of Energy storage projects. If you are a C&I, John Cockerill would be happy to analyse your consumption in order to design a system to reduce your electricity bill and to secure your electricity supply.

Renewvia’s model at work in Kenya

In September 2018, Renewvia announced that its new ground-mounted solar micro-grid facilities were successfully up and running and providing the nearly 10,000 residents of two Lake Victoria islands with the ability to access to their first safe source of electricity.

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These facilities have already generated over 350 connections, serving 2,000 families, schools, clinics, entrepreneurs and fishing businesses, which are central to the islands’ economies. Its proprietary mobile payment platform, which uses M-Pesa and the Commercial Bank of Africa to facilitate the transactions, creates a simple and affordable pre-payment method to procure power – and allows Renewvia to collect revenue and valuable data from owning and operating the micro-grids over the next 20 years.   

Renewvia was also recently selected by a development aid agency (announcement pending) to develop four solar micro-grid facilities that will provide power to a large refugee settlement and several communities in northern Kenya.

Scheduled to be operational in September 2019, the micro-grids will initially provide 1,200 people with 167 kW of electricity with plans to expand over the following year.

The agency is providing Renewvia with a performance-based grant to kick-start the development of these four sites, which will cover more than half of the total cost of constructing four micro-grids in Marsabit and Turkana. This largely arid region has some of the highest poverty rates in Kenya. It is also home to the Kakuma Refugee Camp, which is one of the biggest in the world. Here, Renewvia plans to install a micro-grid to serve one of three villages that make up the nearby Kalobeyei Settlement, United Nations-run initiative that focuses on improving the socioeconomic conditions of the refugees and host communities. All four sites will also include the innovative mobile payment platform.



  • AidEx Nairobi Conference (Nairobi, 11-12 Sep 2019)

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    The AidEx Nairobi Conference was launched in 2014 as a satellite event focused on aid and development within Africa. It is a two-day high-profile conference attracting over 500 A&D professionals from East Africa and beyond.

    The 2018 conference theme was: Revolution in the digital age: safeguarding a future for all. How can technology contribute to a positive social impact?

    The 2019 theme will be announced soon.

    By attending the AidEx Nairobi conference you will be able to:

    • Engage in our interactive conference programme
    • Learn from the challenges and success stories from your peers
    • Network with over 500 aid and development professionals from the government, UN, Red Cross and local and International NGO's 
    • Hear from thought leaders and policymakers 

    ARE is happy to announce that it has established a partnership with AidEx Events to increase participation. ARE Members also benefit from special discount rates.

    Interested in booking an exhibition booth with a 10% discount or attend with a 15% discount on the participation fee?

    Contact: Ling Ng

  • Less than 60 days to the African Solar Energy Forum 2019 (Accra, 16-17 Oct 2019)

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    With 18 exciting case study sessions, a panel discussion, an interactive round table discussion session and a break-out session, ASEF 2019 will have delegates divided into four groups facilitated by over 20 speakers, centred around how solar energy, an under-utilised energy source on the continent can be utilised to meet the rapidly growing energy demand, lower the emission of greenhouse gases, and generate returns on investments; promises to be excitingly insightful.

    Over the next decade, electricity demand in Africa will increase faster than the demand for energy as a whole. In order to meet this growing need, mitigate the damaging effects of fossil fuel on climate change and comply with the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2°C scenario, African countries must move towards low-carbon businesses.

    Research has shown that the effects of climate change will impact most populations over the next few decades. And Africa is susceptible to being particularly negatively affected. Recognising the increasing threat of climate change, many countries came together in 2015, including African countries, to adopt the historic Paris Agreement, committing to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2°C scenario. The benefits of limiting climate change are enormous on the African economy and the quality of life of its citizens.

    Research has also shown that electricity insecurity impacts the productivity and investment in manufacturing and SMEs negatively. Investments in Solar energy can help to mitigate the impact of electricity insecurity on manufacturing and SMEs by ensuring efficient alternative supply of electricity.

    Planning for the future must be done in parallel with promoting strong renewable energy growth today.

    Solar energy is already helping address climate change. It’s time to put our feet on the gas. The modern world is gravitating towards renewable energy and Africa shouldn’t be left behind.

    ASEF2019 is special, owing to the different important topics to be discussed, often neglected at many energy conferences, topics bothering on the future trends of solar technology in Africa.

    Embark on this journey for our planet, register for our shared future. Contact: Daniel Seal, +420 773 835 491.

    20% discount for Members booking through ARE!

  • African Microfinance Week (Ouagadougou, 21-25 Oct 2019)

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    The main ambition of the African Microfinance Week (SAM) is to provide a unified African platform for exchange on the microfinance issues facing the African continent by bringing together all the professionals of the sector – investors, MFIs, researchers, banks, networks, innovators, governments and others.

    The SAM is a whole week to:

    • Identify, discuss and celebrate the innovations, impacts and contributions that the African inclusive finance sector has made over the past 3-5 years toward achieving the SDGs;
    • Analyse the gaps and challenges currently facing the sector and catalyse promising solutions to address them;
    • Reinforce the sector’s commitment to and tools for effective impact measurement and business case analysis;
    • Stimulate new and enrich existing relationships with potential partners and allies across the African inclusive finance sector, including promoting actionable plans and follow-through after the conference;
    • Leverage the Luxembourg Cooperation’s financial expertise and enhance the agency’s role as a key partner for inclusive finance practitioners working to achieve the SDGs in Africa;
    • Rally participants around how to focus their individual and collective energy in order to make substantial progress toward the 2030 milestones that we will reassess at SAM 2021.

    Innovators’ Village

    The Village aims to present innovative tools and services that can improve the performance of MFIs interested in undertaking a strategic expansion to target increasingly sophisticated customer segments such as SMEs.

    The aim of the Village is not only to inspire visitors, but also to offer a concrete path forward by presenting practitioners with the best available solutions, ready to be implemented at national, regional and pan-African level.

    Who are the exhibitors of the Fair?

    The exhibitors are organisations, such as consulting firms, training centres, start-ups and Fintech companies that have developed innovative solutions, services and tools to strengthen the capacity, the expertise and the performance of African MFIs.

    Furthermore, some solutions can be proposed by organisations that provide services to SMEs that enable them to increase their credibility towards
    the MFIs and to facilitate their access to financial services.

    For the exhibitors, the Fair will represent a tremendous opportunity to meet new clients and partners.

    ARE Members benefit from a 20% discount on stand bookings

    ContactLing Ng

  • AidEx Brussels Conference: Solar Pavilion (Brussels, 13-14 Nov 2019)

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    Meet buyers of solar products from the aid and development sector

    Working with ARE, this year’s AidEx will include a Pavilion for buyers of Solar and Off-Grid Energy Equipment to meet suppliers.

    Now in its 9th year, AidEx is established as the leading platform for the international aid and development community to come together and improve the efficiency of aid.

    AidEx is a two-day event, which encompasses a conference, exhibition, meeting areas, awards and workshops. Its fundamental aim is to engage the sector at every level and provide a forum for aid & development professionals to meet, source, supply and learn. AidEx was created to help the international aid and development community engage the private sector in a neutral setting, drive innovation and support the ever-growing need for emergency aid and development programmes.

    Solar products are at the heart of the exhibition and we hope you will consider having an exhibition stand in this Solar Pavilion. For bookings placed through ARE, there is also a 10% discount.

    Contact: Ling Ng

  • Job Creation & Opportunities in the Micro-Grid Sector (Addis Ababa, 20 Jun 2019)

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    Usually based in Nairobi, Kenya, the Micro-Grid Academy held its 1st Ethiopian On-Tour session in partnership with Enel Foundation, the Ethiopian Ministry of Women, Children and Youth, UNEP, Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT), African Women Energy Entrepreneurs Framework (AWEEF), Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU). 55 participants coming from all over the country were given a comprehensive insight on all the phases of renewable energy projects and the Nexus approach thanks to the contributions given by RES4Africa Members. 

    ARE Board Member Claudio Pedretti (WindKinetic) gave an overview of the current job situation and potential sources for finding jobs in the sector.

  • AfDB-ARE Rural Electrification Training (Ouagadougou, 20-21 Jun 2019)

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    With the Burkinabe government's ambition to electrify 650,000 households by 2020, Caroline Nijland (ex-ARE Vice-President) gave a training to government officials. Over the course of two days, the following themes were tackled:

    • off-grid renewable energy market trends in Africa and globally;
    • advancing access to renewable energy and hybrid technologies;
    • operational and financial models; and
    • innovations in the sector for the productive use of renewable energy. 

    Economic policy at regional and national level to attract experts and investments in the energy sector, methods of development and implementation of innovative funding programmes were also discussed. As a result, the Burkinabe government were presented with recommendations on legislation, policies and other ways to improve the renewable energy market. [Press article

  • Developing Delivery Models & Financial Solutions for the Sustainable Provision of Electricity in Humanitarian Operations (Amsterdam, 16 Jul 2019)

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    It is estimated that USD 400 million is spent annually on providing electricity to humanitarian operations, most through infrastructure powered by diesel generators. Electricity is needed for community services such as water pumping and treatment, public lighting and powering health clinics, schools and offices. In most operations, electricity is not provided to households.

    UN agencies have been working on solutions to replace existing fossil fuel powered infrastructure with renewable / hybrid solutions to reduce costs, to improve security and to reduce the impact on the environment. In addition, stakeholders have been advocating that such energy transitions should also result in improved access to energy for households or businesses in the humanitarian setting and surrounding communities.

    The UNITAR workshop was attended by around 20-25 participants from private sector, including ARE Members Cross Boundary, Practical Action and Schneider Electric. Discussions also focused on guarantee funds to cover potential losses for mini-grid developers if a camp is displaced or contract is breached. ARE will continue to follow the development of the discussions.

  • 10th Microgrid Global Innovation Forum (London, 9-11 Sep 2019)

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    The market for micro-grids is projected to reach USD 35 billion by 2025 -- with a stunning 20.7% Compound annual growth rate (CAGR). The reasons for this projected growth include the falling costs of solar energy, advances in energy storage, the drive to mitigate climate change, the need to enhance grid resiliency, and the cost savings of minimizing fossil fuels in remote generation systems. Now is the time to position for success in this growing market segment.

    Organised by the Smart Grid Observer, the 10th Microgrid Global Innovation Forum focuses on micro-grid advances in EMEA, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America. The emphasis is maximising the use of renewable and distributed energy resources, refining the positive business model for a range of micro-grid deployments, and sharing real-world case studies in both grid-tied and off-grid/remote environments.

    ARE will present private sector mini-grid business models, with a specific focus on best practices from South-East Asia.

    The Alliance for Rural Electrification is pleased to be  Official Association Partner for this event - enter ARE20 when registering and get 20% off!

  • OFF-GRID Experts Workshop (Augsburg, 19-21 Sep 2019)

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    The OFF-GRID Experts Workshop offers participants an interactive and exciting supporting program from 20-21 September 2019: varied lectures on the topics of photovoltaics, hybrid systems, small wind turbines as well as mini- and micro-grids will be accompanied by table talks and a business speed dating.

    Various formats such as the Speakers' Corner, the Experts' Talk, the Running Discussion, the Hands-On Assembling Station, Off-Grid Sale and an entertaining After Worshop Programme with a Drift-Cart-Race round off the workshop and enable further discussions in a relaxed atmosphere. Participants can also make use of the Tech-Day on 19 September 2019 - stand H7-K015 and the Octoberfest Shuttle after the end of the event. A core attraction will also be the exhibition with more than 50 exhibitors and lots of innovations.

    Important links

    ARE is proud to be the official network partner of the workshop.

    ContactLing Ng

  • 7th MEDENER Int'l Conference on Energy Transition in the Euro-Mediterranean Region (Rhodes, 26 Sep 2019)

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    The 7th MEDENER International Conference is organised in the framework of the project “Mitigation Enabling Energy Transition in the Mediterranean Region” (meetMED), funded by the European Commission and jointly implemented by MEDENER and the Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE).

    Islands in the Mediterranean region are front-runners in the energy transition and showcase innovative solutions for the constraints stemming from the lack of energy, water, communication and transport networks.

    The conference will focus on the latest solutions for energy efficiency, renewable energy production, energy storage facilities, demand response systems, low carbon transport as well as sustainable water and waste treatment. The event will also be an opportunity to explore the role of circular economy investments boosting economic self-sufficiency and inclusive growth in isolated territories and in the Mediterranean region.

    ARE Sr Manager David Lecoque will provide insights on key industry and off-grid renewable technology trends to foster the integration of remote communities.

  • KIREC: Enabling public-private partnerships to increase energy access investments (Seoul, 22 Oct 2019)

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    According to SEforALL, an annual investment of USD 52 billion is needed to meet universal electrification targets by 2030. At present, financial commitments for electricity in the 20 ‘high-impact’ countries - representing 76% of those without electricity access, averaged just USD 30.2 billion annually. By 2030 clean energy mini-grids are expected to be the most cost-effective solution to deliver 71% of all new electricity connections in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia.

    To solve the energy access issue, substantial public and private investment will thus have to flow into the clean energy mini-grid sector.

    This side event is organised by ARE and SEforALL as part of KIREC.

    Contact: Jens Jaeger

  • ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Forum (Accra, 22-24 Oct 2019)

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    Together with ECREEE and GET.invest, the ARE is excited to announce that the ESEF2019 will take place at Kempinski Hotel, Gold Coast City in Accra, Ghana, on 22-24 October 2019. The Forum convenes key public and private sector actors to develop financial opportunities and economic incentives to address West Africa region’s most pressing energy challenges

    Under the high patronage of His Excellency, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, the event will bring together West Africa’s top elected officials, policymakers, industry thought leaders and other individuals committed to moving forward the sustainable energy agenda. With support of ECREEE and its sister agencies, the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) and the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Authority (ERERA), the region has made tremendous strides in putting in place the policy and regulatory framework for a viable sustainable energy market. As such, translating this enabling environment into concrete projects powering inclusive energy access and growth is one of the key objectives of ESEF2019.

    ESEF2019, will raise awareness about the progress made by member countries in the region in the quest to achieve the goals set for 2020 and 2030. Also, the challenges faced by the private sector in developing projects will be highlighted. However, ESEF2019 will be geared toward facilitating business deals and promoting investment.

    Therefore, ESEF2019 will be a demand-driven and result-oriented event, where participants will take a detailed look at the challenges facing the sector, how they are being overcome and where the opportunities lie for speeding up the implementation of game-changing projects.

    The forum will be divided into different sessions supported by thematic areas to cater for all expected stakeholders. This is what really makes ESEF the regional marketplace for sustainable energy.

    Key themes:

    • Showcase investment opportunities in sustainable energy sector in the 15 member states.
    • Enhance regional cooperation and trans-border power trade from renewable sources.
    • Highlight technological progress in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors.
    • Facility business collaborations through dedicated B2B sessions in the utility-scale and off-grid electrification marketplace.
    • Demonstrate regional energy efficiency potential.
    • Promote knowledge-sharing beyond the region.

    ESEF2019, will foster concrete progress in the implementation of the ECOWAS region’s ambitious sustainable energy targets by bringing together major actors from within and outside the region and will demonstrate the region as the frontier for a viable sustainable energy market.

    20% discount for Members booking through ARE!

    Contact: David Lecoque

  • Intersolar India: 3rd ARE Micro-Grid Workshop (Bangalore, 27-29 Nov 2019)

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    The 3rd Micro-Grid Workshop organised by ARE at Intersolar India 2019 will connect thought-leaders and industry experts to discuss innovations, opportunities and policies for micro-grids in India.

    The half-day Workshop will feature:

    • Welcome presentations on the importance of decentralised micro-grids to power India’s 21st century rural economy;
    • Demand side management to ensure long-term micro-grid sustainability;
    • Data-driven business models for 21st century micro-grids;
    • Networking reception (tbc.)


    Since its establishment, Intersolar has become the most important industry platform for manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers and partners in the global solar industry. Companies and organisations interested in making use of the Intersolar exhibition to market their products at the conference are encouraged to contact ARE.


    The Micro-Grid Workshop at Intersolar India is open to stakeholders from all renewable energy sectors, including the public and private sector, financiers, NGOs and civil society. It is expected that around > 75 participants will attend.

    Sponsorship opportunities:

    You can find all the information here

    Studer has already become a silver sponsor!


    Becoming an Exhibitor inside ARE Micro-Grid Pavilion:

    In case you prefer to make use a stand inside the ARE Micro-Grid Pavilion only, we can offer this 3-day promotion service to you for EUR 1,600 (ARE Members only) and for EUR 2,300 (non-Members).


    Contact: Jens Jaeger

  • [Save the date] 6th Energy Access Investment Forum (Lusaka, 18-19 Mar 2020)

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    As a proud partner of SEforALL, ARE will once again take leadership for the sector of decentralised clean energy solutions by organising the EAIF in  Lusaka, Zambia, on 18-19 March 2020, based on the very positive feedback received from ARE Members, Partners and participants in last year’s Forum in Abidjan and as a strong commitment to the region. ARE will also hold its Members only General Assembly on 17 March in Lusaka.

    In respect of the urgent need to upscale the most innovative clean energy access solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, around 300 participants are expected to take part in the the Forum, which will offer the opportunity:

    • to private sector actors to showcase their latest innovations and cost-efficient products; and
    • to key public sector players to present their upcoming support programs and de-risking initiatives.

    To assist its 130+ ARE Members and numerous partners as well as panellists and participants in their efforts to effectively contribute to the SEforALL and SDG agenda, ARE:

    • links the Forum conference with ARE Awards 2020 and side-sessions, where key topics for the sector will be addressed and discussed;
    • organises structured B2B Matchmaking and ARE exhibition, where companies are invited to present their business proposals;
    • celebrates ARE Networking Reception.

    Experience from past EAIFs shows that this one-stop shop mix of political debate and business exchange is highly attractive for participants as they can share and learn from lessons learnt on the ground while developing the next business opportunity. Readers are very welcome to submit new ideas for mini-grid topics and business proposals for the Forum by 15 September – if included in the programme you can win x1 free ticket!

    Contact: David Lecoque; Marcus Wiemann

  • ESMAP: Mini-grids for half a billion people: Market outlook & handbook for decision makers

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    The report is the most comprehensive study on mini grids to date. It provides policy makers, investors and developers with insights on how mini- grids can be scaled up. The report also takes stock of the global mini-grid market and industry, analyses costs and technological innovations and shows the importance of micro-finance and income-generating uses of electricity.

    Reaching the remaining unserved population, including those connected to frail and overburdened urban grids, or living in remote areas and fragile and conflict environments, will require strong policies, increased private financing and comprehensive approaches to national electrification planning – which consists of main grid extensions, mini grids, and off-grid solar systems.

    Estimates show that to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030, 40 percent of all installed capacity will have to come from mini- grids. At present the total mini-grid investment in countries with low levels of electricity access in Africa and Asia totals USD 5 billion.

    In addition to being cost-efficient, mini-grids have many other benefits. They have positive environmental impacts: 210,000 mini-grids powered by solar energy would help avoid 1.5 billion tons of CO2 emissions globally.

    They also offer national utilities a win-win solution in the electricity sector by paving the way for more financially viable future grid expansion. By the time the main grid arrives, significant demand for electricity would already exist and customers would have greater ability to pay through the generation of productive uses made possible by mini-grids.

  • IASS Study: Exploring the nexus of mini-grids and digital technologies

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    Over the past decade, the digitalisation trend has entered the mini-grid sector leading to the development of innovative approaches and technologies to improve mini-grids and related services [2]. In parallel, modern information and communication technologies (ICTs), in particular mobile phones and smartphones, continue to spread to even remote and rural locations in Sub-Saharan Africa opening up new possibilities for productive uses of energy (PUE).

    The study focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa, the region which is still most challenged by a lack of energy access in particular in rural and remote communities. Since frameworks and conditions vary substantially across Sub-Saharan Africa, Annex I of the report provides detailed factsheets on ten Sub-Saharan African countries, namely Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia highlighting key aspects, such as access to electricity and internet penetration. The factsheets also provide an overview of the countries’ rural electrification status, digital development strategies and mini-grid policies. The ten countries were selected in order to cover a wide range of country contexts and different levels of diffusion of mini-grids and ICTs.

  • PowerforAll: Investor Position Paper: Unlocking Private Capital for Mini-Grids in Africa

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    Mini-grids have immense potential to accelerate electrification in Africa. Mini-grids are self-sufficient electricity grids that serve households and businesses isolated from or integrated with the main grid. The latest geospatial analysis from IEA shows that to achieve universal electrification, mini-grids are the cheapest technology for connecting 290 million people living without power, two-thirds of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. However, mini-grids have not yet attracted the private investment required to achieve this outcome.

    PowerforAll believe that for mini-grids to attract private investment, they require consistent, reliable, and rapidly deployable Results-Based Financing (RBF) programs. This paper was prepared by the signatory investors to present a unified message of support for these RBF programs to donors.

  • ARE Rapport: Atelier Off-grid B2B Togo [in French only]

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    En prélude au Forum Togo-UE 2019 les 13 et 14 juin 2019, le Ministère des Mines et des Energies du Togo a organisé l’Atelier Off-grid B2B Togo le 12 juin 2019 à Lomé avec le soutien de la Délégation de l’Union européenne au Togo (DUE), de la GIZ et de l’Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE).

    Cet atelier était un événement incontournable pour toute personne intéressée par le marché hors réseau et mini réseau au Togo et avait pour objectif de réunir les acteurs clefs y compris les représentants du secteur privé tels que les développeurs de projets, les investisseurs et les fournisseurs de technologie, ainsi que les responsables du secteur public du gouvernement du Togo, les autorités locales et les partenaires de développement internationaux.

    Cet atelier a connu la participation de cent quarante (140) participants (objectif était 40-50 participants) dans la salle de réunion Evala de l’Hôtel 2 février au rang desquels le Directeur général de l’énergie, le Directeur général de l’AT2ER, les cadres de différentes institutions, les investisseurs, les développeurs, les fournisseurs de technologie et les acteurs du secteur des énergies renouvelables hors réseau et mini réseau.

    Le déroulement de cet atelier (en français et en anglais) s’est fait principalement en trois phases à savoir :

    • Panel sur l’état actuel et les opportunités du marché hors réseau et mini réseau au Togo;
    • Panel sur le financement des solutions hors réseau et mini réseau au Togo;
    • B2B et réseautage.

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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