"25x25": A collaborative vision to scale access

It’s been two years since Power for All launched at the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) forum on May 21, 2015. Since then, the campaign’s greatest successes—from elevating messages on the decentralized renewable energy (DRE) sector with nearly 1 billion media impressions or securing ecosystem-wide commitments from government, private sector and civil society to grow DRE in energy-poor countries—have been possible by working with and through our nearly 200 partners around the world.

Whether it has been on-the-ground campaigns with Practical Action, Hivos, SNV and others in Zimbabwe, global advocacy efforts around launching the Energy Access Dividend framework (with SEforALL, the World Bank Group, DFID, Acumen, GOGLA and our Platform for Energy Access Knowledge [PEAK]), or lighting up the twitterverse around our latest call to action, the Power for All coalition has come together to challenge the energy-as-usual mindset and position DRE as a critical, legitimate pillar of the energy sector through creating political will and market momentum.

We’ve had challenges, too. In addition to the inherent difficulties that come with being a start-up and a disruptor, we’ve struggled with what the rest of the DRE sector faces – capacity, prioritization, funding, bureaucracy and yes, naysayers. But with our team energized by the change we can see and the inspiration of our partners' efforts, our commitment to stay the course is continually reinforced. 

Altogether, our first two years of the campaign have made it clear that without direct, persistent and increasing interventions to scale the access ecosystem in impoverished nations, eradicating energy poverty will continue to be a pipe dream. As we discussed in Decentralized Renewables: From Promise to Progress, the majority of countries suffering from electricity poverty have yet to truly mobilize the power of DRE in accelerating universal energy access. The only way to rapidly scale the impacts that the DRE ecosystem can deliver is through (a) partnership with other like-minded CSOs, companies and compatriots and (b) a targeted “tipping point” strategy that front-loads investment in specific countries mostly likely to accelerate the adoption curve of DRE products and services.

With that in mind, Power for All is challenging our team, our partners and our sector with a 10-year vision that embraces deep co-creation, while seeking ecosystem scale at speed. We will focus on 25 critical-path, energy-poor countries that are most likely to create a domino effect of change. We are calling this vision “25x25.”

Based on the diffusion of innovations theory, a country will “tip” when the market amasses a critical nucleus of consumers and a new product category is mainstreamed enough—due to the work of the supporting ecosystem--to appeal to the broader consumer base. Potential tipping point countries share a similar dynamic of political will (e.g., a national commitment to electrification or an Energy Africa compact), combined with an uncertain path towards implementation (e.g., rural electrification plan and targets, specific DRE targets). Ending this implementation gap is central to the 25x25 strategy.

We have developed preliminary thinking on the 25 countries most likely to “tip” by 2025. Still, the only way to make countries tip quickly is for CSOs, development organizations and donors, DRE companies and local stakeholders to join forces. Power for All’s national campaigns have shown that by working together with urgency in a defined time frame to catalyze the key drivers associated with DRE market growth--including the creation of renewable energy associations, establishment of DRE task forces and a growing share-of-voice in the media-- that amazing changes on the ground is possible—including a nearly 1000x growth in the DRE sector in Sierra Leone in less than a year.

To make 25x25 a reality and build a more collaborative, integrated approach to achieving SDG7, Power for All asks those companies, NGOs and institutions already working with us, as well as those who aren’t yet, to share your ideas for the future, and help us figure out how to best bring this vision to life. We know that collaboration and building new partnerships can be confusing and challenging at times, but we also know that the energy access challenge that confronts our world is bigger than anyone of us individually. 

We’re eager to bring together the ideas and learnings from our global family, all united by our shared vision to achieve universal energy access before 2025.

Please share your ideas and feedback here: info@powerforall.org

 

Video: Leaving No Country Behind

Power for All launched "Decentralized Renewables: From Promise to Progress", a new policy-focused Call to Action at the SEforALL Forum, and two of the co-authors of the report, Rebekah Shirley and Kristina Skierka, discussed the findings during a Facebook Live session during the Forum. Learn what policy levers correlate to high-growth of decentralized renewable energy, and how governments can embrace and implement necessary reform that leads to universal electricity access.

 

Infographic: Picturing the Problem

Over the past year, Power for All and its campaign partners have worked to build a case for two things: 1. that achieving universal energy access before 2030 (SDG7) will only be possible with an order of magnitude increase in investment in DRE and 2. that governments must lead on creating a policy and regulatory framework for accelerated DRE deployment and make DRE an integral part of national integrated energy market design. Yet, as we discovered in the research for our new Call to Action -- less than one third of the 48 most electricity-poor countries have specific targets for DRE. 

The lesson: we cannot eradicate what we do not target.

Download and share the infographic 'Decentralized Renewables: No Target =  No Universal Electricity Access PNG (337KB)

(Note on data source: The World Bank's Global Tracking Framework (GTF) 2017 provides estimates of rural electrification, but were not published at the time of this analysis, so the IEA's World Energy Outlook data was used)

 

In conversation with... Dr. Youba Sokona

Dr. Sokona is a leader in energy, environment and sustainable development in Africa. Until recently, he oversaw the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), a pledged $10 billion initiative to unlock Africa’s renewable energy potential to deliver 300 GW by 2030. 

In this interview, Dr. Sokona discusses the need for decentralized renewable energy (DRE) to be brought to the attention of policy makers at different levels. During his recent visit to a West African country, leaders only expressed a desire to build coal plants, highlighting the "lack of understanding of energy in socio-economic development". He called for "enduring effort" to educate policymakers, while also stressing the Importance "for utilities to revise their traditional way of dealing with electrification. The classical approach will no longer be valid."

Listen to the interview below.

 

Power for All Perspective: Electricity access status report

Two new reports from the World Bank - the Global Tracking Framework 2017 and the Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy (RISE) - give a snapshot of where we stand in the fight against electricity poverty. The verdict: we've got a lot of work to do, and not a lot of time to do it in. So instead of having to read a combined 500 pages, our PEAK research team pulled together a 2-page summary, with a dash of perspective. The clock is ticking, so get reading.

Download the 'Status of Universal Electricity Access' Perspective PDF(50 KB) 

 

Recipe for Success: Sierra Leone

Exactly one year ago, the government of Sierra Leone embarked on a vision to achieve power for all, signing the first Energy Africa compact with the UK government. This resulted in the launch of the Sierra Leone Energy Revolution, a bold initiative to accelerate access to 250,000 homes by end of 2017 and provide universal electricity access by 2025.

The Power for All campaign, alongside other stakeholders, has worked tirelessly to achieve these targets by putting in place an ecosystem that is market-based and focused on sustainable growth for decentralized renewable energy (DRE). 

An Energy Revolution Taskforce was established and spearheaded by Power for All to encourage stakeholder collaboration as well as enhance communication. This has resulted in a case study for market activation. And while the situation in every country is unique, Sierra Leone offers a successful roadmap for how other countries with the political will can spark their own energy revolution.

The taskforce, which was the mechanism for implementation of commitments by governments and stakeholders, became a platform for market activation: establishing the country's first trade association, the Renewable Energy Association of Sierra Leone (REASL); Africa’s first quality-linked VAT/tariff exemption; demand creation and awareness campaigns that led to market growth (including a school campaign by Oxfam IBIS), and development of an micro-finance association to unlock local finance. 

Power for All also facilitated media workshops to share knowledge about DRE with reporters and editors, convened access-to-finance workshops (which resulted in an innovative new MFI financing mechanism), and regular government training sessions.

In the past six months, Sierra Leone’s DRE market has grown over 10 times in size and attracted a dozen key DRE companies like Azuri Technologies, Barefoot Power, Mobile Power, Ignite Power, Greenlight Planet, d.light, and TOTAL (Awango).

 

 

Campaign Update: May 2017

Find out about recent activities and the up-coming events where Power for All is profiling decentralized renewables—and get involved!

May: Campaign Activities 

New Delhi, 17-19 May: Renewable Energy World India

Campaign partner IISD will discuss Policy Keys to Unlock Universal Energy Access: Ground-Breaking Analysis of Best Practice for High-Growth Distributed Renewable Energy Markets. The presentation is part of an opening day panel Examining the Policy Roadmap for the 175 GW, 2022 Target,  and will examine the findings of Power for All's most recent policy-focused call to action.

Ahmedabad, 19-20 May: Working Towards Channelling Public Finance Towards Clean Energy Access Between India and Africa

Power for All organized a session on mini-grids for this multi-stakeholder conclave taking place on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB). Participants include campaign partners OMC Power, FuturePump, PowerGen and The Rockefeller Foundation, as well as Mitsui.

Barcelona, 22-25 May, Innovate4Climate

Power for All is proud to be a Supporting Partner of this inaugural World Bank event, a new global dialogue of government, multilateral, business, banking and finance leaders focused on shaping the next generation of climate finance and policy instruments. 

Also this month, Power for All launched activities in Ethiopia with an "Accelerating Access with Decentralized Renewable Energy” stakeholder event in Addis Ababa. By gathering government officials from the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electrification (MOWIE) alongside donors and an initial group of companies operating in Ethiopia today (including campaign partners d.light and Solar Kiosk), Power for All launched a cross-learning initiative in support of Ethiopia’s GTP II access targets to bring energy to millions without access to modern electricity services today. Power for All applauds the government’s ambitious targets of 4 million new rural household connections from DRE by 2020, in pursuit of universal electrification by 2025. Power for All's Ami Dumbuya (pictured here) and Kristina Skierka led the workshop.

In Nigeria, Power for All hosted a roundtable on subsidy regime reform at the "Solar Future Nigeria" event in April. More recently, the campaign has provided input to various government agencies on communications strategies and policy implementation roadmap, and is also helping to shape the energy track of the upcoming Tech Plus event in July.

April Highlight: World Bank Civil Society Policy Forum

In April, at the World Bank Civil Society Policy Forum in Washington D.C., Power for All and Practical Action convened a session to exchange ideas on what is needed to make universal access to modern energy a reality in the shortest possible time. The event, From Promise to Progress: Decentralized Renewables and the End of Energy Poverty, included perspectives from Power for All, Practical Action, the World Bank, World Resources Institute and EarthSpark International.  

Clean energy access is recognized as a global priority within the SDG and climate contexts and the evidence is clear that to deliver universal energy access countries need to embrace decentralized renewable energy (DRE) solutions. An overview of the Global Tracking Framework and the Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy (RISE) provided the snapshot of where we're at globally and at individual nation levels on achieving the SDG energy targets, laid the foundation from which to discuss how to accelerate  energy access.  The conversation included examples of specifc strategies and policies that enable countries to leverage the DRE market and "RISE" to a level of faster access.  Our WRI colleague, Lily Ordano, shared her take-way of the session in this blog.

Lastly, lots happening in India. We will provide a more detailed update on that in an upcoming newsletter.