The Powering Jobs 2021-2022 survey has been well received by all partners and stakeholders. It will run until the end of February across the five countries (India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria). The objective of the study is to provide a continued understanding of the human resource status in the sector. In 2018, the Powering Jobs inaugural census captured decentralized renewable energy (DRE) company employment data, to establish a baseline that explores the linkage between clean, universal energy access, Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7), and decent work (SDG 8), with a particular focus on the role of DRE technologies in Kenya, Nigeria, and India. The second census has been expanded to include Uganda and Ethiopia. It will provide a vital understanding of the jobs' potential and gaps in the availability of a skilled workforce, to deploy and service DRE systems in these countries.
We expect the survey to provide rich insights into these five markets, particularly in a post-pandemic scenario. The report will specifically look at capturing employment data for direct, indirect, and induced jobs as well as Productive Use of Energy (PUE) jobs.
In-country partners are currently assisting the campaign with the selection of the steering committee members to represent a variety of DRE sector stakeholders. Planned events for March will include a series of focus group discussions revolving around data validation, gender, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) skills, sector resilience, and Productive Use of Renewable Energy (PUE) job creation.
In India, Kristina Skierka, the CEO of Power for All, spoke as an esteemed speaker at the recently concluded Economic Times’ “Energyworld Solar Power Congress” on “Solarsing healthcare infrastructure In India” on February 18, 2022. Kristina spoke on the importance of integrating the Health and Energy sectors in India. She added that as the world tries to deal with the difficulties of COVID-19, the global health sector has been thrust under the spotlight to adapt rapidly and provide new strategies and solutions to counter the pandemic. The outbreak has exposed several service-related structural flaws, notably in providing health care to the rural poor. Strengthening public health infrastructure has never been a more critical need of the hour. The role of DRE, especially on the impact of solarizing healthcare, on primary healthcare, storage and delivery of vaccines and other medications, the provision of clean water and sanitation facilities, and the provision of essential services to meet the needs of children and their families during the day and night all necessitate the availability of reliable electricity. Solarising healthcare can help in providing better health services to the people.
We also provided communications support to CLEAN Network's State of the Sector report. The report aims to showcase the developments in the DRE sector in 2020. The year had been a very difficult year for the DRE sector in India. Just as it was showing signs of expanding its product portfolio beyond lighting and reporting small successes in penetrating into livelihoods, agriculture, and health sectors, the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The findings in the report show the DRE sector has shown great resilience and adaptation to the catastrophe. Power for All, as the communications partner for the event, supported in coverage and dissemination.
The Utilities 2.0 project has delivered its first interim report to funders and now a series of stakeholder engagement meetings are planned in March. In the report, we focussed on answering key questions with regards to mini-grid integration, appliance finance, and business models. Some of the key takeaways from the findings were
An integrated energy approach achieves accelerated energy access than the grid extension method. Kiwumu achieved 351 connections within its first 6 months of operation whereas Nyenje achieves 319 connections in 5 years' time and Kyampisi achieves 251 connections after a decade of receiving access. Customers are satisfied with the quality of overall customer service provided by the mini-grid in Kiwumu. integration offers benefits to the consumer in terms of easing the burden of reaching out to the electricity provider to deal with power outages
Despite the majority interest in acquiring appliances, over half of respondents have no interest in appliance financing as they either do not see the purpose for it or prefer to avoid accumulating debt from formal institutions. Loan repayment periods and default rates appear to be closely tied to poor business management practices, requiring more financial literacy and debt management advice.
Business training for small business owners may increase business profits and their ability to maintain their monthly loan repayments, as well as drive a new appetite for appliances, increasing energy consumption and PUE.
The opportunity to extend existing subsidy mechanisms—traditionally reserved for grid-centric electrification—to integrated energy systems(to both DRE and the utility) can reduce costs, enable scale, support the utility’s profitability, and contribute to accelerating universal energy access.
DRE and utilities working together offer a better, more sustainable business opportunity and lead to higher Customer Lifetime Values (CLV) when offered the same incentives as the traditional energy player.
Power for All also published the Jharkhand state health factsheet in our last newsletter and based on this factsheet, we are starting our Powering Health work in the state of Jharkhand. We kick off with a webinar on March 3, 2022. The webinar has a lineup of key speakers from the Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency and Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency and our partners Solar Electric Light Company (SELCO), World Resource Institute (WRI), Center for Environment and Energy Development, and Asar Social Impact.
In Zambia, Power for All along with our strategic partner, the UK Government Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) funded program, Africa Clean Energy (ACE) Technical Assistance Facility (TAF), and Coalition Members has submitted the final Action plan and call to action to the Ministry of Health for their inputs. The Action Plan is part of an initiative that the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy, is undertaking to help bring electricity to the country’s unelectrified rural healthcare facilities. It identifies barriers and challenges to the universal electrification of health facilities in Zambia and proposes their solutions. A High-level Dialogue is planned for in March which will be officiated by the Government (Ministry of Health) to provide a spotlight on the issues facing the electrification of rural health facilities and outline the way forward for implementation
Power for All is planning to host a meeting of key stakeholders in the Agriculture and Energy nexus to chart a vision for the Productive Use of Renewable Energy ecosystem on March 16, 2022, in Kampala, Uganda. Our CEO, Kristina Skierka will take part in this meeting as well. A key takeaway will be a preliminary draft document on a Call to Action for greater institutional and financial support to productive use of renewable energy for agriculture in Uganda.