Designing Energy Markets of the Future

Shop powered by solar | Image: Power Africa

Shop powered by solar | Image: Power Africa

A Power for All survey of leading decentralized renewable energy (DRE) companies has revealed the practitioner's view of priority policies for market growth. Designed to complement a wider study on national policy and energy access—to be released on March 22—the survey captures insights from 23 DRE companies which, combined, provide pico-PV, solar home system (SHS) or mini-grid services to over 2.7 million households. Asked to rank the importance of policy instruments—national energy policy, financial policy and regulation, and technical regulation—in supporting their local business operations, the results provide front line insight into the policy actions needed to scale DRE and boost energy access. Check out the findings below, and stay tuned for the full report.

“Survey Says”: Clear Policy Favorites Identified by DRE Companies

A DRE penetration target and time frame was identified as the  most influential national energy policy. As one respondent explained, “only explicit (penetration) targets and time frames seem to be leading to proactive support from the Government for DRE - general inclusion of vague targets alone has so far not shown to be very promising”, adding that “having a defined timeline and target penetration for DRE ensures that the government is held accountable for achieving that target." While specific DRE targets came out as the number one policy overall, mini-grid companies specifically prioritized the importance of national electrification plans which integrate DRE—marking the vital role that “knowing where the grid will go” will play in de-risking the mini-grid market for investors.

While a raft of financial policies and regulations were deemed crucial to catalyze market growth, across a range of DRE technology companies, a majority of respondents were in agreement on the top priority: exemption from import duties and tariffs on DRE. Duties can have a significant impact on sales in an extremely price sensitive market, with high tariffs increasing costs by up to 40 percent. As one SHS/pico-PV respondent advised, “exemption from import duties allows us to pass along lower costs to customers and make products more affordable.” However, financing support—including debt financing and loan guarantees—was also highlighted as particularly important by mini-grid operators, with one mini-grid respondent taking the view that due to the need for “risk mitigation in emerging markets, finance is the most critical element.”

With respect to technical regulation, clear and low-cost permitting and licensing regimes for DRE companies, along with the adoption of internationally recognized product quality standards and performance reporting requirements, were the two most important regulatory measures identified. Almost two-thirds of companies that sell SHS/pico-PV ranked adoption of quality standards as the number one policy, and 75 percent of mini-grid only companies chose clear, low-cost permitting and licensing regimes—with one mini-grid respondent noting that licensing is “the first stumbling block when looking to enter a market.”

While a range of policy measures will be needed to enable the DRE market to reach its potential—and increase its reach from 100 million people to 10 times that number—knowledge from practitioners who have already brought clean power to millions show us that supportive tariffs and taxes, improved access to finance, clear licensing, standards and reporting, and DRE penetration targets and integrated planning, are a great place to start.

 

Video: Africa Energy Indaba

The Power for All panel at the Africa Energy Indaba 2017 brought together some of the sharpest minds in the sector to ask: "How far and fast will distributed renewables go?". The result was a conversation that challenged the status quo.

From policy to planning, business models to blockchains, check out the videos below for the panel’s top 6 insights and questions:

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The utility of the future

1. ‘Can’t we all just be friends?’ asks off-grid smart meter provider SteamaCo’s Sam Duby, as he explains that mini-grids, solar home systems and the traditional grid are complementary, and will coexist in the future. 

When Powerhive first entered Kenya

2. The private sector can and should proactively engage with the government to help shape policy—in fact each cannot operate in isolation. Powerhive’s Rik Wuts profile’s the mini-grid developer’s experience entering a new market, and how the government was receptive to their pragmatic approach. 

Why it is important to include decentralized renewables in national planning

3. There are still political challenges to including distributed energy in a national energy plan, but it is vital to meet the energy access challenge in countries across Africa, says Martin Potgeiter of impact investment advisor D.Capital Partners.

Business models and technology working together

4. Scaling up distributed renewable power means finding business models that make it easy for both customers and sources of finance: The Sun Exchange’s Morwesi Ramonyai tells us how the organization’s solar marketplace uses a blockchain based technology to achieve that. 

Raising awareness and working together with governments

5. Increasing awareness of distributed renewables is vital: mini-grids can help governments achieve their electrification goals more effectively, but stakeholders need to work in partnership to make it happen. 

The future is decentralized

6. Morwesi nicely sums up a vision of the future of energy: "decentralized, democratized and distributed". 

 

India: national access target good; national DRE better; state DRE best

Installing a mini-grid | Image: Smart Power for Rural Development

Installing a mini-grid | Image: Smart Power for Rural Development

India grabbed headlines in April 2015 when the Modi government pledged to achieve universal energy access, aka Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), in four years. It was and remains a world-leading commitment, and coupled with a 175 GW target for new clean power generation by 2022 (including 40 GW of grid-tied rooftop solar), it triggered a wave of new investment and market growth.

Yet it was primarily a vision of access from grid extension, and a closer look at progress to date reveals that more than just a national goal will be required to successfully achieve SDG7. India’s energy ministry has said that all villages will be electrified by the end of this year, and all homes in those villages by 2019. But the government definition of “electrified” is a controversial one — only 10 percent of homes must receive electricity for a village to count as electrified.

Questions have already emerged publicly over whether India will meet the 175 GW goal. And doubts persist about India’s ability to truly meet 100 percent, reliable energy access by 2019.

The issue, according to a recent Power for All survey of companies, is that a national target is not enough. While seen as a factor in the growth of decentralized renewable energy (DRE) solutions and achieving access, the survey showed that the number one national policy priority identified by DRE practitioners—by a significant margin—was setting a specific off-grid or decentralized renewable energy penetration target (and timeline); second was a rural electrification strategy; and third a national electrification policy that incorporates DRE.

One survey respondent explained that DRE penetration targets “communicate a clear action and commitment from the government and allow for relatively accurate forecasting of future growth potential.”

A recent example is that of Rwanda. In 2013 the country had only a few off-grid solar companies operating in it, with few households or businesses benefiting from distributed solutions. It was not until the government announced a specific DRE target of reaching 22 percent of the population with off-grid solutions by 2018, and adopted supportive policy measures, that DRE companies including Mobisol and BBOXX, as well as investors and the international community, stepped up their interest—and stepped into the country. The latest off-grid solar market sales report shows continuing upward growth in Rwanda’s distributed solar market, with a 53 percent increase in sales during the first half of 2016 alone.

Given that 250 million people in India lack energy access—making it the the world’s largest potential market for DRE—bolstering India’s high profile targets with specific targets for DRE penetration in rural markets would turbo-charge investment. Indeed, integrated planning that brings together grid and non-grid targets is key, particularly in the case of mini-grid developers.

As another survey respondent explained: “For mini-grids the key policy risk is grid integration. Hence a recognition that mini-grids are part of the national strategy rather than a bet against it is key.”

This is a critical point. India’s focus on a grid-dominated future has dampened investor interest in mini-grids. Why, investors ask, would I back a solution that will be obsolete once the grid arrives? Of course, this erroneous view makes the assumption—an assumption that is far from guaranteed with bankrupt utilities already struggling—that the grid will arrive and be reliable even if or when it does. Not to mention that decentralized solutions can be fed into a grid if the system is designed properly, as seen in more developed markets.

A target announced last year of 10,000 mini-grids in five years bodes well for India and is a commendable first step, as are state-level policies for mini-grids, but it’s still too early to know their impact. Moreover, while 40 GW has been carved out for rooftop solar, it is grid-tied only and mostly commercial and industrial rooftop in urban markets, while there has been no such carve out for distributed rooftop solar for rural India.

And this leads to the final observation: that “rural” is a broad term, and in places like India it has little meaning. India after all is a federalist system with 29 states that have considerable autonomy. Each of them has its own geography and resource profile, and each will need its own DRE policy. So while national access targets are good, and specific national DRE penetration targets are better, the best (and most important) target for DRE-led rural electrification—at least for some countries with federalist systems such as India and Nigeria—will need to come at the sub-national level.

"In India there is a tendency to fall into the trap of just liaising with the central government ministries when the real 'power' to act on power lies with the states," says Kartikeya Singh, deputy director US-India Policy Studies at Center for Strategic and International Studies.

 

In Conversation with... Johanna Diecker

Exemptions from tariffs and taxes support young industries, attract companies to new markets, and enable them to reduce the cost of products for consumers—helping millions to access goods and services for the first time. In the energy world, exemptions from tariffs and VAT on decentralized renewable energy (DRE) products, are enabling companies to bridge the affordability barrier that has hampered energy access for decades, with a recent Power for All survey highlighting tariff exemptions as the number one fiscal policy that decision-makers can take to accelerate DRE markets even faster.

To learn how exemptions can drive growth and reduce the customer cost of distributed solar by as much as 40 percent, as well as to hear about recent challenges due to tariff amendments in the East African Community, we caught up with Johanna Diecker, Enabling Environment Manager at GOGLA (aka the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association)—whose members have already helped over 100 million people get improved access to electricity.

Listen to the Q&A below.

 

Insider Insight: Rafiki Power

Rafiki Power mini grid installation in Tanzania

Rafiki Power mini grid installation in Tanzania

The International Energy Agency has advised that 45 percent of rural electrification—bringing power to over 480 million people—is best achieved via mini-grids. In a recent Power for All survey, we asked mini-grid providers for their insights on the most important steps policy-makers can take to unlock this potential. In the technology category, standards, clear regulation and fast, low-cost licensing and permitting  were all pinpointed as key policy actions. To learn more, we spoke to Sebastian Rieger, Finance Director, for Rafiki Power—a mini-grid company, owned by the utility E.ON which has built 8 photovoltaic mini-grids in Tanzania, and has plans to increase that number to 100 over the next three years.

Listen to the Q&A, or read the edited highlights below.

Power for All: What was it that first attracted you to Tanzania?

Rafiki: We were attracted to Tanzania due to the good economic environment, relatively stable economic growth, political stability, the large potential market, use of the English language (helpful to a German company), and the comparatively supportive regulatory environment for decentralized renewable energy generally--and mini-grids in particular.

Power for All: The regulatory environment in Tanzania is more advanced than in many other nations with low levels of energy access. How important has this been for your plans to rapidly accelerate mini-grid roll-out? And where do challenges still lie?

Rafiki: While there is some good regulation in Tanzania, there are still very significant gaps. So while the regulatory environment provides a lot of flexibility, it also creates a lot of uncertainty--which can put the private sector in a risky position and puts a question-mark over achieving scale. These include:

  • A lack of transparency on grid extension
  • A lack of clear regulation on what happens when the grid comes, and the commercial mechanisms for dealing with the grid arriving at a mini-grid site
  • A lack of detail around technical standards that will be necessary for mini-grids to connected to the national grid when it arrives
  • Issues around mini-grid specific licensing and regulation--a lot of regulation is designed for larger scale projects but not the right fit for mini-grids
  • A large population living off-grid but only certain towns and villages where mini-grids are currently viable--licensing requirements, environmental assessments, building permits and planning costs can pose a problem for the viability of small projects, and while there are exemptions for small-scale power producers the “devil lies in the detail”, and these can still be difficult to implement in practise

Power for All: How can government better approach energy planning to integrate different energy sources, and how can they work with mini-grid developers to drive scale?

Rafiki: Flexibility to operate, freedom and a competitive environment in the energy sector are necessary to enable the most economic solutions to be adopted. However, mini-grids are long-term infrastructure that will last for decades, and if they are built to enable productive use, developed so they can be integrated into the central-grid, and set up so they can be upgraded over time, the payback period will be in the range of 10 years at a reasonable tariff rate—making uncertainty a problem for investors. In Tanzania, there is a great environment for mini-grid pilot projects at the minute, but not yet the right environment for scale.

Governments need to have off-grid systems as a more integrated part of their planning, and see mini-grids as a chance to accelerate electricity access. A mini-grid which has been built to a good technical standard can provide the same—if not a better—level of energy service as the national grid. It can be integrated into the grid when it arrives. And it can be built today, rather than in 5-10 years.

Power for All: In which other countries are you seeing the policy and regulatory environments shifting in a way that will drive mini-grid development? And what is your prediction for the expansion of the sector over the next few years?

Rafiki: Gradually things are beginning to happen. For example, Nigeria is working on its mini-grid regulations, in Uganda there are plans for tenders on mini-grids in isolated areas, in Kenya there is a tender scheme already executed, and a similar scheme is coming up in Madagascar. A lot of countries have recognized the possibility of accelerating energy access by having private sector friendly regulation in the energy sector. Although, whether fully supportive mini-grid regulation is rolled out, or whether there will be shortcomings, remains to be seen.

The future looks a little mixed. On one side, the potential of mini-grids is becoming better understood. In countries such as Tanzania, the regulatory issues are being worked on, and some policy-makers realize that mini-grids provide a huge opportunity to advance electricity access. Mini-grids make macro-economic sense. So that is another key reason to be positive.

On the other side, work across the last two years in Tanzania has also given me a bit of a reality check. The amount of time that policy-makers have available to focus on different topics is fairly limited, and there is still an inclination towards national grid-extension--simply because it is easier to fund a $100 million grid project than it is to fund 100 x $1 million mini-grid projects. Politicians like to put their name on bigger projects, so this gives a political advantage to the conventional energy system, and donors, including the World Bank and KfW also find it easier to push money into central-grid extension.

I therefore see there is a bit of a “make or break” for the mini-grid sector in the next few years. We have attracted a lot of companies, and the first utilities have gone into the sector--including E.ON, Engie and EDP. There is momentum. Yet if it in the next two or three years the sector does not come to a commercial scale, policy-makers may say that it is not delivering at speed and will simply put their focus back onto the national grid. The next one or two years will be critical.

 

Bangladesh: scaling energy access and an IDCOL 2.0 vision for 100% RE

Dipal Barua, co-founder of the Grameen Bank, founder of IDCOL-partner Grameen Shakti, and winner of the first ever Zayed Future Energy Prize

Dipal Barua, co-founder of the Grameen Bank, founder of IDCOL-partner Grameen Shakti, and winner of the first ever Zayed Future Energy Prize

Guest Post, by Dipal Chandra Barua

For two decades, Bangladesh has been the testing ground for using distributed solar to achieve energy access at scale. The main vehicle for this remarkable experiment has been the unremarkable-sounding Infrastructure Development Company Ltd. (IDCOL), which—in 2004—started to finance a Bangladesh solar home system (SHS) program using the innovative financial and technology packages I designed and implemented as the Founding Managing Director of Grameen Shakti in 1996. Today, this public-private partnership, backed initially by the World Bank and involving more than 60 NGOs and social enterprises, is anything but ordinary, having lifted up an entire generation.

Distributed solar has lit up the country of 150 million, with around 4.5 million systems installed by IDCOL partners. The initiative—the largest rural solar program in the world—connects about 70,000 customers per month, with 12-15 percent of the population using solar in rural, off-grid areas. As a result, distributed solar has become a key pillar of the nation’s energy infrastructure—powering homes, agricultural, schools, clinics, mosques and street lights. In the process, rural communities have become highly energy literate on the benefits of solar, creating a breakthrough in national mindset.

With the international community committed to achieving universal energy access within 13 years, the learnings from IDCOL can benefit all of the world’s energy-poor countries and their 1.1 billion people still living without electricity, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa where distributed solar (rooftop and micro-grids) will be the leading edge of eradicating energy poverty.

The Bangladesh solar revolution happened because IDCOL, a government-owned non-banking financial company under the central bank, provided one channel for dispersing financial support from international donors and multilateral development banks. This “wholesale” model unified an otherwise fragmented market, standardizing technology, finance and policy. The result: scale.

But much has changed in the last 20 years. The power market is evolving rapidly in Bangladesh, and the government has targeted having 100 percent electrification by 2018 and is now pushing for grid extension at the rate of over 300,000 connections per month to ensure that happens—with the Rural Electrification Board (REB) currently connecting 100,000 customers a month to the central grid.

With so much change, it is only natural that the IDCOL model must evolve too, as must government policy and regulation in order to ensure an integrated approach that recognizes the importance of distributed renewable energy (DRE) solutions and their complementary and essential role to grid electrification.

Other developing countries too can benefit from IDCOL’s financial model. While every country requires a customized approach to energy access—Ethiopia, for example, has 60 million fewer people than Bangladesh, but is four times bigger—many of the lessons are transferable and provide an unprecedented chance to incorporate learnings into the energy access policies.  

Installing a solar home system in Bangladesh

Installing a solar home system in Bangladesh

Key Lessons:

Technology

  • Raise awareness: Today everyone in Bangladesh knows about solar energy but 20 years ago, even the electrical engineers had not heard of it. In any market-based DRE program, raising awareness about the benefits of off-grid technologies, and highlighting their links to health, safety and connectivity will be fundamental to creating a strong market.
  • Capitalize on innovation: When IDCOL started financing SHS in 2004, a solar panel cost $7 per pico-watt and pre-paid solar software was not available. Now a pico-watt costs less than 50c, and pay-as-you-go solar is being rolled out across East Africa, with many systems GSM-enabled and remote controlled—and there is room for design to get even smarter. New programs should make the most of emerging innovations.
  • Use the right technology for the environment: Countries should use today’s knowledge and experience to assess the best technologies for any given region or situation—whether solar, hydro or hybrid systems, or DRE for new applications such as solar for clean water.
  • Maximize use of new appliances and applications: LEDs have already been a game changer, freeing solar panel capacity for uses beyond phone charging and lighting, now the market for efficient fans, televisions and fridges is emerging. Programs should maximize the potential of new appliances and applications.

Affordability

  • Products must be affordable: From the beginning, the financial model in Bangladesh was designed so customers paid a monthly installment for power—emulating the approximate amount spent on kerosene and making a solar home system affordable. Today, DRE products in other countries have been made even more accessible by pay-as-you-go financing and mobile banking. Initiatives should adapt to innovation to help more people access clean energy solutions. For example, this month (March 2017), the use of PAYG technologies will become mandatory for those organizations receiving IDCOL’s financial support in Bangladesh.
  • Competition and cost reduction is vital, but so too is consumer protection: In the last few years, the world price of solar has radically reduced. Now, anyone can import solar products into Bangladesh. This has helped to increase competition and dramatically improve cost to consumers, but it has also led to an influx of low quality goods. Regulations must be in place to protect consumers from substandard products and services.

Program Finance

  • Always seek economies of scale: An ambitious country-led initiative provides an immediate opportunity for cost-effective financing—selling 1 million systems makes solar cheaper than selling 100,000. Countries have a great opportunity to reduce costs across the board through by considering scale in program design.
  • Prepare for the long term: Any support mechanism needs to be financially sound throughout the value-chain, and able to adapt to changing markets. For example, when IDCOL first started, a 50 percent down payment on a system was required, with the rest paid over six months. Today, it is 15 percent down payment with payback in up to 36 months. However, as the price of products has come down rapidly, there are now customers who don’t want to pay for their long-term instalments as they are comparatively expensive—if you bought your system four years ago it cost around 40 percent less, and prices continue to fall every day. Financial mechanisms must be created with long-term contingencies in mind.
  • Concessionary finance is key, so too is planning for when it runs out: We started the IDCOL initiative with the support of the World Bank, then a few years later the JICA, ADB, KfW, Islamic Development Bank (IDB), UNDP, DFID, GIZ and UKAid began financing the program, and helped to build the capacity of the private sector. Concessionary finance is vital to help a market grow but it is also important to consider how support can be reduced, redirected, or built on as the market changes.

Planning

  • Consider multiple agencies: In Bangladesh, IDCOL enabled donor support to be channeled to the sector through financial grants, subsidies and refinance, and was built to include the private sector to optimize competition and financing. Because of this joined-up framework and regular flow of financial support, the solar program could reach millions of homes and businesses. Yet having just one agency at the center of a country-wide program can also stifle innovation. An IDCOL-like initiative in another country might benefit from creating competition amongst financing agencies as well as implementation partners.
  • Integrated energy planning is pivotal: In Bangladesh, the central grid is now being subsidized and rapidly extended, resulting in some customers no longer wanting to pay for solar, and conflicting interests between the central-grid and distributed grid sectors. Strong, coordinated planning and regulation will avoid many of the issues now being seen in Bangladesh, and can enable the early integration of other DRE technologies, such as solar water pumps, into energy access initiatives.

Training & Jobs

  • An IDCOL-style program will be a jobs-engine and provides a way to boost employment of women: In Bangladesh, IDCOL has created hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and implementing partners have also trained thousands of women to assemble, repair and maintain solar products—boosting their income.
  • An entrepreneur model can enhance long-term sustainability: The IDCOL model was dependent on a central workforce. In future iterations, this could be replaced by a streamlined, ‘entrepreneur-based’ network where, rather than having thousands of staff employed directly by implementing partners, knowledge is transferred to local entrepreneurs—unlocking the potential of local businesses without creating large overheads for distributed solar companies or NGOs. By training one or two people in each village, you can build a base of skilled technicians who can handle the installation of new systems and address any technical problems in their own communities—providing rapid customer service and reducing costs.

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It took Bangladesh 7-8 years to install 10,000 solar home systems, but by 2008-9, we were installing more than 10,000 a week, and now we are exploring how to integrate DRE systems into the centralized grid, looking to replace 65,000 traditional diesel pumps with solar water pumps, and piloting the use of solar energy to produce arsenic free drinking water plants. One of the greatest outcomes of IDCOL is that a myth has been broken: now no one feels that renewable technologies are too expensive or too high tech for rural communities.

From the key innovation of an instalment based financial model, solar became affordable, the IDCOL program was established, and 20 million people in Bangladesh are receiving the benefit of SHS in off-grid areas of the country. Today, we have a great opportunity to accelerate energy access via DRE even further, by learning from IDCOL’s successes and challenges and creating new, and better energy access models.

In Bangladesh, our ultimate goal is to get 100 percent of people using renewable energy, and to make the country the world’s first solar nation. With centralized and decentralized assets working seamlessly together we can build on what we have learned, and drive innovation. An IDCOL 2.0.     

Dipal Barua with a solar panel | Image: Bright Green Energy Foundation

Dipal Barua with a solar panel | Image: Bright Green Energy Foundation

 

March: Campaign Activities

Find out about recent activities and the up-coming events where Power for All is profiling decentralized renewable energy (DRE)—and get involved!

HARARE, 2 March: Multi-stakeholder Workshop

In the run up to the Power for All Call to Action launch on the 22 March, campaign partners in Zimbabwe—including private sector, civil society and community groups—will gather to concretize the DRE policy proposals they will make to local and national Government, and discuss commitments they will make themselves in order to drive energy access.

ABUJA, 4-6 March: Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria

Power For All Nigerian Campaign Lead, Ify Malo, will be speaking at the National convention for the Catholic church in Nigeria—attended by Bishops, Laity and Priests responsible for running the Catholic church in the country. Following a meeting with over 100 Priests and Bishops last year—many of whom were from remote off-grid communities in Nigeria—Ify will share knowledge about DRE and its benefits for unelectrified families with a wider audience of religious leaders.

FREETOWN, 6 March: Trade Fair

Following solar fairs and events held across Sierra Leone in December and January, March will see the Renewable Energy Association and other Power for All partners host a Trade Fair to showcase distributed technologies to community and religious leaders, micro-finance organisations, potential distribution partners and the general public. Please get in touch to find out more about the event.

HARARE, 15 March: Multi-stakeholder Workshop

A second workshop will be held in Harare to continue to build momentum to the Call to Action event, and to bring all partners together to coordinate launch plans and activities.

LISBON, 22 March: ARE Energy Access Investment Forum

Aaron Leopold, Power for All Deputy Director of Advocacy, will be moderating the first panel at the Energy Access Investment Forum this month. The Alliance for Rural Electrification’s flagship event will bring together stakeholders  to discuss market conditions, policy initiatives, business opportunities and financial and technical innovations. Let us know if you are attending and would like to get in touch.

GLOBAL, 22 March: Power for All Call to Action

March 22 will see the launch of a global Call to Action by Power for All and its partners. Events will take place in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe, and announcements, webinars and meetings will be held in India, Portugal, the UK, the USA and more. Join us to learn how you can get involved.

NEW YORK, 3-5 April: SEforAll Forum: Going Further, FasterTogether

Power for All’s Director and Deputy Director of Global Advocacy will be speaking at the Sustainable Energy for All Forum in New York, profiling the Poor People’s Energy Outlook and upcoming work on the Energy Access Dividend. Let us know if you will be there and would like to set up a meeting.

 

February Highlight: Keynote Address, Tufts Energy Conference

Power for All Campaign Director, Kristina Skierka, gives the Keynote Address at the 12th Annual Tufts Energy Conference

Power for All Campaign Director, Kristina Skierka, gives the Keynote Address at the 12th Annual Tufts Energy Conference

As well as hosting a panel of market leaders at the Africa Energy Indaba, Power for All also took the stage to highlight the importance of DRE at the 12th Annual Tufts Energy Conference in Boston. Campaign Director, Kristina Skierka, provided the keynote address explaining, “The energy impoverished are tired of [waiting for] an energy grid that isn’t going to come”. We can, and must, #endenergypovertyfaster