Utilities 2.0: Envisioning an integrated energy future
With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, Power for All organized an intimate gathering of energy access leaders in July. At the event were representatives of African, Asian and European utilities and government agencies (energy ministries, rural electrification agencies, etc), private sector companies engaged in residential solar and mini-grids, and funders and researchers, all keen to begin a discussion on the future of power utilities in low energy access countries, and to explore ways to pilot new models of electricity services that integrate centralized and decentralized solutions. Utilities in energy-poor countries will need to perform differently from their counterparts in more advanced electricity markets to fulfil their public service obligation. Failure to do so will hinder progress to universal energy access. Our early analysis of market trends in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere finds that the successful next-generation utility will need to focus on harnessing demand-side forces, aligning incentives and operations with consumers and decentralized renewable energy (DRE) providers, and supporting new regulatory and institutional paradigm shifts. This is Utilities 2.0. Exciting next steps emerged from the July 2018 discussions, and we look forward to working with partners to further shape the future of electricity access and make Utilities 2.0 a reality.
Data for SDG7: The Platform for Energy Access Knowledge
In July, Power for All launched the Platform for Energy Access Knowledge (PEAK) -- a new interactive knowledge platform designed to curate, organize, synthesize and transform large, growing bodies data into shareable and useable information. PEAK aggregates the best research from large development agencies, academic institutions, non-governmental agencies, companies and community groups to create a specialized library for decentralized renewable energies (DRE). The beta platform is also embedded with a sector-specific search engine and a host of carefully selected terms to help you find the information you need more easily. PEAK offers users the opportunity to compare, contrast, layer and work with multiple different data sources all at once for instant visualization.
PEAK is a unique tool that can repackage the best information into compelling data-driven knowledge products for individuals, organizations and communities working to make energy accessible to all. With the support of our partners, in it’s first month PEAK attracted users from over 70 organizations engaged in progressing universal energy access. We’re excited about the positive response to PEAK from the energy access sector and look forward to your feedback. Start using PEAK: https://www.powerforall.org/peak/
Nigerian Energy Task Force Forges Ahead
Nigeria’s Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) Task Force which was set up under the Scaling Off Grid Energy (SOGE) project of the USAID and Power Africa and implemented by Power for All met on July 17th to set new targets for unlocking barriers preventing the acceleration of the sector. The meeting, which is the third since the multi-stakeholder taskforce was set up in February 2018, builds up on efforts by the taskforce to roll back import duties slammed by the Nigeria Customs Service on solar components and panels in April, 2018, and which was the main theme of the second Taskforce meeting. It also set new targets for consumer awareness, collaborative data sharing within the sector, end-user payments and standardization and certification for the sector.
How to meet the energy needs of Nigeria’s growing urban population
The Nigeria Country Director of Power for All, Ifeoma Malo wrote an article on how to meet the energy needs of Nigeria’s growing urban population using decentralized renewable energy for the Urbanet blog of the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ). She explained that expanding the grid is a slow, expensive process which will be outpaced by the rate of the growth of the population. “This means that Nigeria must seek to increase its power generation through a low-carbon path by making increased investments in clean, modern energy and by harnessing its renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and mini-hydro power. This will allow the country to meet current and future power demands while keeping carbon emissions low. Additionally, it must harness these resources quickly by ensuring that there is more focus on decentralised renewable energy projects such as mini-grids, micro-grids and standalone systems as they are cheaper and quicker to deploy (in as little as a few months), and easy to place at the exact point of need,” Malo wrote. She added that Power for All through the Scaling Off-Grid Energy project which it is implementing in Nigeria on behalf of the USAID and Power Africa is working with state and regional governments in developing policies, plans and projects to drive investment in DRE as well as create jobs.
Clear evidence on how DRE can contribute to achieving the SDGs in Nigeria
Power for All’s Nigeria Country Director, Ifeoma Malo, and Lead, Stakeholder Engagement, Teina Teibowei, co-authored an article on how decentralized renewable energy can help Nigeria can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. “Decentralized renewables have a bright future in Nigeria,” they wrote. “Providing access to modern energy services, and connecting people to electricity is important in ensuring a satisfactory quality of life and promoting development. However, the true impact arises from the associated services, development and quality of life that energy access will provide.” They also provided examples of how the SDGs have been impacted by DRE solutions in the country so far, and proposed a strong alignment between the SDGs and the contributions and benefits of energy access to poverty reduction. “DRE adoption will enable more Nigerians to climb the energy ladder, and ensure sustainable development across the board. An integrated approach towards its implementation must, therefore, recognize the importance SDG 7 plays as the pillar to make these other SDG targets a reality,” they concluded.
Nigeria Country Director speaks at Power Dialogue
Power for All’s Nigeria Country Director, Ifeoma Malo, was a panelist at the Nextier Power Dialogue, a monthly event that brings together experts in the Nigerian electricity industry to discuss issues in the sector. Malo was part of a four person panel discussing the power sector from the perspective of the consumer, and what they need to know. “Customers want power they can rely on, and they are willing to pay for it. Even more importantly, customers want clean energy,” Malo said. She pointed to evidence from customer engagements from programs and projects by Power for All, which showed that customers even in last-mile communities recognize the need for clean power. The Nextier Power Dialogue is organized by Nextier Power Limited, and supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.