It is estimated that by the year 2030, mini-grids will be providing electricity to as many as 500 million people around the world – a huge boost from the current 47 million people across 134 countries who are served by about 19,000 mini-grids. While most of the current mini-grids are deployed in Asia, Africa has the largest share of the 210,000 planned mini-grids by 2030.
In a new report, the World Bank concluded that subsidies per connection for small, private rural utilities called mini-grids are often significantly less than subsidies received by the large, public main grid.
James Ellsmoor writes on how delivering rural electrification using distributed renewable energy (DRE) can put a serious dent in joblessness, in particular for youth and women.
After almost a decade of struggling to hone business models, access finance and gain political backing, mini-grids appear to finally be ready for scale.
Green Aggregation Tech Enterprise aims to prepare off-grid energy financing for a self-sustaining future in Africa that involves all types of funding, including commercial lending.
If the world is to provide electricity to all by 2030, utilities and off-grid renewable energy providers must join forces
Should another ongoing cycle of utility bailout-bust and the election see a revival of India’s stalled mini-grid policy?
The remoteness and complexity of off-grid energy systems can pose substantial operational challenges. Implementing remote monitoring and management offers concrete cost reduction and reliability. IoT can enable electrification across rural regions with smart, renewable energy to support economic development.
The decentralized renewable energy (DRE) sector is entering a new phase, one that goes “beyond access” and instead focuses on co-benefits, dividends, outcomes, improved livelihoods, productive uses -- whatever term you prefer -- that both satisfy consumer aspirations, but also power rural economies.
Governments and donors in sub-Saharan Africa that adopt coordinated approaches to electrifying rural communities using distributed renewables can count on meaningful job creation, according to recent data from REEEP in Zambia.
Four organizations committed to accelerating universal electricity access – Hivos/ENERGIA, Power for All, Practical Action, and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation – recognize that the level of ambition and urgency for achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 is far from what's needed to deliver modern, affordable, sustainable and reliable energy for all before 2030.
Mee Panyar is helping villages in rural Myanmar transition from diesel to solar power through training programs to support electricians operating mini-grids. This decreases household electricity prices by up to 50%, reduces carbon emissions by 60%, and creates opportunity for productive uses.
The Solar Impulse Foundation, started by Dr. Bertrand Piccard following his successful round-the-world solar flight, has launched the #1000solutions challenge: to select, label and promote 1000 clean, efficient and profitable solutions to fight climate change.
Despite huge progress toward 100% electrification in India, a new study finds the reality quite different, with a huge need to focus on customer satisfaction
Power for All gathers together various predictions and trends that we see unfolding for electricity access and the distributed renewable energy sector in 2019.
Power for All is looking to spotlight the great work our partners are doing through story-telling. It can be visual -- through video, data visualization, or photo essays. It can be personal profiles. Stories about technology or business innovation. Or tales of improved livelihoods and jobs. You name it, we're probably interested.
Approaching 10,000 followers (with average 300,000 impressions per month), Power for All’s Twitter account is a window into the topics that most interest the distributed renewable energy sector. Twitter measures “Top Tweets” based of engagement and impressions. The themes that generated the biggest response in 2018? Mini-grids, and the jobs opportunity of energy access. Other topics of interest: consumer demand, market development, and data.
Should private off-grid solar companies continue to expand their user base? Or is the grid better suited for poor, rural consumers? [Spoiler Alert: Yes and No]
Over 100 years ago, women pushed for the right to vote. Today, they are pushing for the right to energy. Nowhere is this more important than in West Africa, where 100 million women and girls live in energy poverty.
Productive use is one of the hottest buzzwords in the world of energy access today, increasingly used by development banks, industry leaders, and civil society organizations (among others!) as the work to deliver energy to 1 billion people evolves beyond just lighting. But what does “productive use” of energy actually mean?
SDG7 — affordable, modern, reliable, sustainable energy for all — has two parts: providing access to electricity (for 1 billion people) and clean cooking (for 3 billion). But the two have always been on parallel tracks. It's time for them to come together
A team at the India Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai has pioneered a new solar electric cookstove for India. Can it bring the two sides of SDG7—clean cooking and electricity access—together? Power for All spoke with team leader, Dr. Chetan Singh Solanki, about a village pilot under way, and the potential to scale.
According to the UN, the “deployment of decentralized renewable energy is fueling a disruptive transformation of the energy sector”, by providing a fast, cost-effective and sustainable approach to universal energy access. Yet we at Power for All, our partners and stakeholders agree that many actors with the influence to accelerate decentralized renewable energy (DRE) growth.
Sub-Saharan Africa utilities run huge deficits. Distributed renewable energy can help them extend service in a more cost-efficient way, say Rebekah Shirley of Power for All and GTM Research’s Ben Attia.
The founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Michael Liebreich, recently launched the Project Bo crowdsourcing campaign, triggered when he saw a tweet last year from Dr Niall Conroy of University College Dublin.
Chances are that if you live in a remote part of sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia and don’t have access to electricity, you also don’t have access to clean water. That’s hundreds of millions of people.
Innovative financing proposals and local media support for energy access were the outcomes of two workshops held in Sierra Leone to propel the Energy Revolution. At the events, Power for All brought together stakeholders to drive engagement and collaboration in support of the country’s efforts to help families and businesses gain energy access.
“The Future of Energy”—also known as “The Energy Transition”—has been contemplated, discussed, and written about ad nauseam by nearly every scholar and consulting firm working in or around the power sector today.
For countries with a federal government, policy implementation and change frequently happen at the state level. Nigeria, with 36 states, is no exception. As part of the Scaling Off Grid Energy (SOGE) project, Power for All has kicked off a 6-part workshop series in low energy access states to ensure that decentralized renewable energy (DRE) solutions are fully baked in to local electrification plans.
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
Recognition of energy access impact on women is growing, and nowhere is this shift more evident than in Sub-Saharan African countries. Women are emerging not just as consumers of a new wave of innovative energy access products and services, but also as leading entrepreneurs and leaders shaping the industry.
In our ongoing series with GTM Research on energy access, GTMR's Ben Attia and our PEAK research team uncover the untapped opportunity for decentralized solutions to serve "under-the-grid" communities, which total 110 million people, or one in every six African people without electricity access.
A Policy Roadmap for Clean, Rapid Rural Electricity Access
The buzz around decentralized renewable energy has so far mostly been in East Africa and South Asia, i.e. high-flying Kenya and massive India and Bangladesh. 2017 will see growth of decentralized energy into new frontiers. And thanks to Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll), we now have a clearer picture of where the biggest opportunities for renewable energy to close the access gap are. The SEforAll “Heat Maps” identify the countries where the electricity deficit is highest, as well as the countries of high-impact for renewables penetration. If you overlay those, factor in which national governments are embracing decentralized renewables, then account for countries where finance and businesses are ready to scale, we have a pretty solid idea of what’s coming in terms of potential “new wins” for the sector in 2017, including:
No influencer is an island. It takes leadership across a sector to create a movement for change. Given the wealth of stakeholders who play key roles in the decentralized renewables sector, this list is by no way exhaustive, but it highlights a few of the individuals and organizations that will help to shape 2017
Kenya’s market for decentralized renewables is the fastest moving in Africa. Already 15-20 percent of Kenyan households use solar lighting and the country is home to a pioneering green mini-grids program, thousands of biodigesters and 3,000MW of micro-hydro systems. I was recently invited to share Kenya’s experiences on this rapid expansion with policy-makers in Zimbabwe, as both our countries work to achieve universal energy access by 2030.
More than 600 million people in Africa live without electricity, and in just 15 years energy will be needed for another 500 million more as the population soars. Nigeria alone could be home to nearly 1 billion people by 2100, with Africa home to five billion.
With over one billion people living without clean, safe power the issue of energy poverty could not be more urgent.
Today, April 14, Power for All launched a Call to Action at the World Bank Spring Meetings urging multilateral development banks (MDBs) to help radically accelerate the pace of energy access for the 1.1 billion people living in energy poverty.
Every day that families are trapped in energy poverty, there is a huge cost; a billion people lose out on the health, education, and opportunity that comes with access to clean, affordable power. Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) have much needed goals to end energy poverty but still focus most of their energy funding on projects that take many years to complete. Rapidly deployable decentralized renewables can bring energy access to millions much quicker.