COP21: Game changer for clean energy access

By Marcus Wiemann, Executive Director - ARE

EU strengthens sustainable energy and climate change cooperation

By the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development, Unit C6, Energy and Climate Change

At the 'Focus on Energy' COP21 side event on 7 December 2015 in Paris, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, signed seven joint declarations to reinforce cooperation on sustainable energy and climate change.

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At the 'Focus on Energy' COP21 side event on 7 December 2015 in Paris, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, signed seven joint declarations to reinforce cooperation on sustainable energy and climate change. The countries concerned are Nigeria, Benin, Senegal, Kenya, Madagascar and Cameroon, as well as the Indian Ocean Commission. Commissioner Mimica said: "These declarations are a major milestone in the path to achieving universal access to energy through the development of renewable sources. They will bring us closer to our partners, reinforcing political dialogue and regional cooperation, which is essential in this task".  

On 7 December 2015, during the event, the Commissioner also launched the operations that will take place under the Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI). ElectriFI will support renewable energy investments with a focus on rural electrification.

Addressing the lack of access to clean, reliable and affordable electricity and energy services is a major development challenge and a key pillar of Climate Change Policy. Cost-efficient access is central to inclusive and equitable economic growth in all sectors and a precondition for the poorest of the planet to be able to escape the worst impacts of poverty. Reaching the goal of global access through sustainable solutions is fundamental for mitigating the worst impacts of climate change, which most affect the poor.

What is ElectriFI?
ElectriFI, elaborated by the industry and development financiers, is a flexible tool aiming to support investments providing access to reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity and energy services in developing countries.

ElectriFI will constitute a comprehensive and inclusive platform for investment support services, rendering due attention to bankability at very early stages, whilst facilitating access to senior debt at later stages.

The main actor to be targeted is the private sector. Public institutions, including Local Authorities, may also benefit, considering the needs and opportunities in each targeted country/region. The involvement of partners from local private sector and Civil Society Organisations will be instrumental to enhancing effectiveness and ownership of the actions deployed.

EDFIs, together with other major development financiers active under the EU blending framework, have elaborated and submitted a concrete proposal to start the implementation of ElectriFI with an initial EUR 75 million funding committed by the European Commission. ElectriFI counts on a budget of €270 million until 2017 to leverage investments on sustainable energy.

For further information please refer to http://electrifi.org

 

Capacity Building in the Pacific Islands-Increasing Skills and improving Quality

By Geoff Stapleton, Founder and Managing Director, GSES

Global Sustainable Energy Solutions Pty Ltd (GSES) is an Australian based multi-disciplinary organisation specialising in professional services and training across the Renewable Energies sector.  GSES comprises a team of highly experienced systems engineers, designers, installers and accredited trainers.

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Global Sustainable Energy Solutions Pty Ltd (GSES) is an Australian based multi-disciplinary organisation specialising in professional services and training across the Renewable Energies sector.  GSES comprises a team of highly experienced systems engineers, designers, installers and accredited trainers.

Collectively, GSES has over 50 years of local and global experience undertaking projects in Australia, NZ, Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands. GSES commenced its consultancy and training services in 1998, however the directors had been involved with industry based training since 1992.

GSES as an Australian Registered Training Organisation (RTO) develops and conducts all training courses to nationally recognised competency standards. All course trainers are tertiary qualified and hold a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. GSES firmly believes that all training should be developed and delivered within the governance of a quality-training framework.

Since 1998 GSES has delivered accredited training courses in over 20 countries in Africa, Asia and Oceania. To support this training GSES has developed training resources including a number of books. GSES invests to keep these resources current and adapts them to suit the country where the training is being delivered.

GSES’ philosophy towards capacity building is to directly assist in-country training institutes in preparing to deliver the training locally. In line with this philosophy GSES has acted as consultants to the project team for the EU funded project: European Union Pacific Technical and Vocational Education and Training on Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Adaptation (EU-PacTVET).

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) are equal partners in the collaborative implementation of the EU-PacTVET project. The objective of this project is to increase the availability of skills training in the field of climate change and sustainable energy in the Pacific Region.  In 2015 GSES, were consultants while the project undertook a Training Needs and Gap Analysis and developed 3 reports for the project in relation to sustainable energy in the 15 target countries. There were:

  • Current training Report
  • Current and future markets and Training needs Report
  • A draft synthesis Report, which identified what capacity building was required in the 15 countries.

This project built on other capacity building projects that GSES has undertaken in the Pacific Islands including:

  • The formation of the Sustainable Energy Industries Association of the Pacific Islands (SEIAPI), an industry organisation that has the objective of building the industry within the 22 Pacific island Countries and States.
  • The development of a technician certification and company accreditation program that supports the development of quality trained and skilled technicians within sustainable energy companies operating the Pacific Region.
  • Conducting training courses funded by IRENA and IUCN that lead to technicians obtaining their certification.

 

Training local communities, technicians and local institutions on micro-grids

By Maria Anzizu, Consultant & Engineer, Trama TecnoAmbiental (TTA)

Energy sustainability calls for the stimulation of debate and the necessity of sharing viable solutions that enable the development of our society. In this context, Trama TecnoAmbiental (TTA) has contributed to sharing best practices by training current and future professionals.

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Energy sustainability calls for the stimulation of debate and the necessity of sharing viable solutions that enable the development of our society. In this context, Trama TecnoAmbiental (TTA) has contributed to sharing best practices by training current and future professionals.

Since the early 90s, TTA has considered Capacity Building and Governance as one intrinsic component of its comprehensive methodology when implementing pilot projects. The trainings offered have been for the up-keeping and governance of users or the development of technical capacities of institutional stakeholders. Some trainings performed have been for clients such AECID (Spanish Cooperation Agency) in Palestine, Morocco and Algeria; UNDP (United Nations Development programme) in Lebanon, Chile and Ecuador, among others.

Since the ‘10s
In addition to being part of its comprehensive methodology, TTA also offers its services to other developers. A set of training packages are available to address local communities and train them on basic technical and institutional aspects; or local institutions on management, economical and political aspects for the sustainable deployment of these micro-grids. Most recently, TTA has performed two reference trainings in Vietnam and Chad.

Training in Vietnam
Within the framework of the project for development of the renewable energies in the industrial sector in Vietnam financed by AECID and implemented by the GDoE (General Directorate of Energy), TTA constructed two different PV pilot projects and organised a training session that took place in Hanoi in November 2014 for 20 trainees from authorities of the energy sector to private companies.

Training in Chad
In September 2015, ECREEE (ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency), with the support of UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) promoted the Regional Hands-on Training on renewable Energy Technologies for rural Electrification (mini-grid, hybrid RE plants) in N’Djamena, Chad.

The training combined theoretical knowledge with practical exercises and a site visit to the micro-grid in operation in Douguia; one of the three experiences in the country, currently being operated by TTA for UNIDO.

46 trainees were involved: 38 participants took part in the theoretical lessons and 36 participants attended the site visit. Two full days of successful knowledge transfer encouraged participants to share experiences in different environments. Women representation was significant and showed the dawn of their integration in the labour market.

 

ECREEE and IRENA start a capacity needs assessment for clean energy mini-grids in the ECOWAS region

By Nicola Bugatti, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency TA, ECREEE

ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), in collaboration with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), have started a clean energy mini-grids capacity needs assessment in West Africa, as a first step towards the expansion of a joint capacity building support to ECOWAS member states.

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ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), in collaboration with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), have started a clean energy mini-grids capacity needs assessment in West Africa, as a first step towards the expansion of a joint capacity building support to ECOWAS member states.

Providing sustainable energy is one of the world’s greatest challenges. Access to modern energy services is an essential requirement to meet domestic and productive energy needs. While considerable progress has been made in the last decade, and in spite of rapid strides made by some countries an estimated 1.1 billion people still lack access to electricity. Of these two-thirds of the population (620 million) are from sub-Saharan Africa according to the International Energy Agency’s Africa Energy Outlook. People most affected by the situation live in rural and remote areas far beyond the electrical grid or with limited supply off the grid. They in turn rely on traditional sources of energy, such as charcoal, wood, animal waste for cooking and heating purposes and kerosene or candles for lighting.

Since 2012, ECREEE in partnership with IRENA, under the framework of the ECOWAS Program on Access to Sustainable Electricity Services (EPASES), has worked on “Promoting a Sustainable Market for Solar Photovoltaic Systems in the ECOWAS Region” (ProSPER) to strengthen the capacity of policy makers and regulators, local SMEs through a regional entrepreneurship incubation centre, and financial-institution managers to accelerate renewable energy deployment, with a specific focus on solar PV systems.

ECREEE and IRENA are now expanding their capacity building collaboration in West Africa to clean energy mini-grids.

The first activity of this new phase will be to undertake the scoping of capacity needs for deployment of clean energy mini grids in the ECOWAS region and provide a regional action plan for building capacities and skill sets. The study will build on and complement the existing general work conducted for the assessment of capacity and training needs as well as capacity building activities for renewable energy and energy efficiency in West Africa. This will require engaging with key private and public stakeholders from different sectors in all the ECOWAS countries including operational mini grid sites in these countries.

The scoping study will be compiled by the end of the year and validated in a multi-stakeholders regional workshop involving ECOWAS member states.

 

The importance of local service support structure in micro-grid operation

By Atiek Puspa Fadhilah, Advisor, Energising Development (EnDev) Indonesia

Renewable energy based micro-grids are designed and expected to last for many years. Naturally, its sustainability can only take place when both technical and non-technical support systems are in place.

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Renewable energy based micro-grids are designed and expected to last for many years. Naturally, its sustainability can only take place when both technical and non-technical support systems are in place. From a technical viewpoint, there are several types of important maintenance measures after commissioning (e.g. preventive, corrective, and predictive). While in non-technical viewpoint, there should be clear responsibilities of all stakeholders involved. For instance, ensuring good working relationships among different stakeholders, providing accessible funding, and imposing regulation to properly manage the facility.

EnDev has just concluded a recent monitoring of existing micro-grids in Indonesia and has concluded that most non-performing micro-grids are in need of corrective maintenance. Disruptions in the functioning of the inverters or storage systems in the PV micro-grid are common problems which require assistance of an experienced technician. It confirms statement in the Mini-grid Design Manual (2000) that “without properly trained local staff and possibly a mechanism for providing technical backstopping, most repairs may not be properly made. This will further increase life-cycle costs or decrease system life over what was planned. Consumers are put at risk and the initial investment may not yield the expected benefits”. Best practices in rural electrification consider preventive measures through training for local micro-grid operators and providing sufficient tools to perform their tasks. But more efforts should be put to other maintenance measures.

Developing and retaining local knowledge base takes time, but it pays off in the long-run. As an example, it took decades to establish local service support for micro hydro power (MHP) sector in Indonesia. Most of MHP practitioners started in the late 70s and developed their skills through various donor supported projects and trainings. They formed MHP working groups and institutions across the archipelago. By expanding the network, technicians and spare parts are made accessible to nearby towns. Thereby it is easier for rural community to conduct corrective maintenance services.

Because technical support is locally available, rural communities are more willing to adopt MHP technology than other RE technologies. Therefore, accelerating the support structure for other RE technologies like PV to be locally accessible is vital. Being present for the rural communities is key. Face-to-face communication has become even more essential to help the communities make decision to adopt or not to adopt any new technology. Furthermore, the service should be economically viable for the local experts to run their business, and not hindered by costly travel expenses.

 

  • EWI FAZ Energy Congress (Cologne, 3 Nov 2015)

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    After close exchanges with scientists, the industry and research based on the latest methods and models for appropriate solutions, the conference, which focused in the past on grid issues, addressed: ‘Decentralised electricity generation - is a revolution about to happen?’ this year.

    ARE Executive Director Marcus Wiemann contributed to the panel discussion on ‘Global trends in Distributed Generation and Heat’ chaired by Prof Dr Bettzuege, EWI Director.

  • David Lecoque selected as one of top 100 most inspiring and sustainable young professionals (10 Nov 2015)

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    ARE Policy & Business Development Officer David Lecoque became a laureate of Generation T and was elected as one of Belgium’s 100 most inspiring and sustainable young professionals by an independent jury of sustainability experts.

    This initiative aims to build a dynamic, self-supporting network of young professionals, realising the transition to a more sustainable society and economy.

    It is powered by Act4Change, which supports young change makers in their actions and interest for sustainable development, and The Shift, which is the Belgian meeting point for sustainability of companies, NGOs, academic institutions, governmental bodies and other key actors in society.

  • 22nd BBH Energy Conference (Brussels, 12 Nov 2015)

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    This year’s conference on “Climate policy tasks, renewable energies, system integration and investment security” steered the discussion towards European energy policies and the question of how safe investments in renewable energy actually are. The versatile program which was attended by European politicians and energy stakeholders created a lively debate on current energy policy issues.

    The conference included presentations on preparations of key players towards COP21, the transition to decentralised markets and the role of renewable energy for investment security. It was also a good networking opportunity to raise awareness about ARE and its members.

  • 2nd Africa Mini-grids Summit (Nairobi, 18-20 Nov)

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    Power for All is a collective of public and private organisations dedicated to delivering universal energy access before 2030. Clean energy access solutions, including solar, mini-grid, micro-hydro, biomass and small-scale wind, will be critical to meeting these targets.

    The Power for All Campaign — dedicated to advancing renewable, distributed solutions as the fastest, most cost-effective and sustainable solution to universal energy access—seeks to transform perception of decentralised renewables at the global and national level, drive the policy and investment framework and, ultimately, accelerate access to energy.

    As the international business association representing the decentralised energy sector working towards the integration of renewables into rural electrification markets in developing and emerging countries, ARE joins other campaigners in our commitment to advocate for specific financial and policy enablers and proactively position renewable, decentralised energy as better, faster path to energy access.

    Please find out more about the campaign and get involved

  • COP21: ARE & GOGLA release joint industry statement on ElectriFI (Paris, 4 Dec 2015)

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    The decentralised renewable energy industry associations ARE and GOGLA released a joint industry statement to underline the crucial role renewable energies can play to help achieve the objectives of COP21 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

    Distributed renewable energy technologies are readily available to meet small to medium scale electricity demands, thus constituting a genuine clean solution which also contributes to climate resilience. Technological and organisational innovations of recent years have enabled many organisations to develop a variety of sustainable business models and technologies that have been proven to work.

    The crucial challenge today is therefore to scale up and accelerate the deployment of renewable energy systems. To do so, energy access practitioners and investors, as represented by ARE and GOGLA, consistently highlight the importance of adequate policy and regulatory frameworks, as well as the availability of appropriate financing for their projects, particularly in the early project stages.

    Therefore, ARE and GOGLA highly welcome efforts by the European Commission to facilitate clean rural electrification projects through its new facility, the “Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI)”. This financial instrument, which was elaborated in consultation with industry and development financiers, is a flexible tool aiming to support investments by providing access to reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity and energy services in developing countries. An initial EUR 75 million funding has already been committed by the European Commission (press release).

  • MOOC: Powering Agriculture—Sustainable Energy for Food (1 Feb – 27 Mar)

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    This MOOC will introduce participants to the Energy-Agriculture Nexus and introduces approaches for sustainably providing energy throughout all stages of agricultural value chains. Challenges but also solutions will be analysed, concrete technologies will be examined focusing on their utility to promote access to clean energy. Participants will further be familiarised with relevant external influences such as market conditions, politics, and financing schemes of “powering agricultural” projects. Learning materials, developed by well-known experts, will be available as texts as well as videos on a week-by-week basis and are accompanied by assignments that will require the application of the newly learned skills.

  • Off-grid on-demand training courses

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    Global Sustainable Energy Solutions Pty Ltd (GSES) is an Australian based multi-disciplinary organisation specialising in professional services and training across the Renewable Energies sector. GSES comprises a team of highly experienced systems engineers, designers, installers and accredited trainers.

    GSES runs off-grid on-demand training courses:

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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