Mini-grids ready for primetime, lack support: report

A new EEP Africa study of dozens of projects says renewable energy mini-grids in Sub-Saharan Africa are generating high-quality grid power, providing 24/7 electricity services, creating jobs and boosting local economies

NAIROBI, September 12, 2018 — Today, the Energy and Environment Partnership Trust Fund (EEP Africa) released a new report, “Opportunities and Challenges in the Mini-Grid Sector in Africa.”  It found that despite improved economics, mini-grids still struggle to receive the financial and regulatory support needed to scale.

 According to an analysis of EEP Africa-funded mini-grids in East and Southern Africa:

  • mini-grids on average create 306 new connections per project
  • connection costs are as low as EUR 200, much less than centralized grid extension
  • mini-grids deliver annual savings per household of EUR 93
  • an average of 36 direct jobs are created per mini-grid project

 “The continuous improvement of mini-grid cost structure presents an opportunity for financiers,“ said Wim Jonker Klunne, EEP Africas Lead Coordinator. “Mini-grids can also transform rural villages into local business hubs, and spur local economies by focusing load on agro-processing or social facilities such as schools or hospitals.“

Smart metering, remote asset monitoring and pay-as-you-go technology platforms have significantly improved mini-grid operational efficiency, the report said.

Despite the enormous potential, however, the report found that mini-grids still lack the regulatory and financial support needed to scale.

EEP Africa called on governments to include mini-grids as part of national electrification plans, establish clear permitting and licensing processes to reduce costs for mini-grids developers, and embrace public and donor capital such as results-based financing (RBF) and low-interest loan facilities to mobilize capital and spur mini-grid development.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that mini-grids have the potential to serve as many as 450 million people currently without access to electricity if supportive policies and finance are in place. Mini-grids and other distributed renewable solutions are the least cost option for three-quarters of all new connections needed in Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 600 million people still lack basic electricity, IEA adds.

Download the Full Report here >>

About EEP

The Energy and Environment Partnership covering Southern and East Africa (EEP Africa) is a multi-donor fund providing early stage grant and catalytic financing to innovative clean energy projects, technologies and business models. EEP Africa is hosted and managed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) and, since 2010, has received funding from Austria, Finland, NDF and the UK. The next major EEP event is a mini-grid-themed Knowledge Exchange Forum planned for Rwanda Energy Week in Kigali on November 9.

 Media Contact

William Brent, william@powerforall.org, +34 684 314 268

EEP Mini-Grid Study launch event on 12 September in Nairobi

Challenges and Opportunities in the Mini-Grid Market – Findings from the EEP Africa Portfolio

EEP Africa, in close collaboration with Power for All, will launch an in-depth study on mini-grids based on findings from the portfolio of pioneering mini-grid projects receiving support as part of the EEP Africa mandate to provide early stage grant and catalytic financing on competitive basis to innovative, private sector-led clean energy projects in Southern and East Africa.

EEP Africa has provided more than EUR 7 million in direct early stage and pilot financing to mini-grid projects in Southern and East Africa. The study highlights findings from these active projects and provides a key learning tool for the growing sector.

The context for mini-grid development varies between countries. The study identifies gaps in the policy and regulatory framework, highlights available support to the sector and specific successes from the EEP Africa portfolio, while at the same time cites persistent challenges to the growth of the sector including barriers to access to market data, lack of proven business models and insufficient coordination among key stakeholders in the power sector as well as with and amongst donors.

Launch of the study and an active panel discussion with key partners and project developers will take place during the Future Energy East Africa Conference in Nairobi on 12 September at 11:30-13:00. The event will take place in the Technical Workshop area on the exhibition floor and is accessible to all. See the updated list of panelists in the Technical Workshop Programme and register for a free visitor pass that gives you access to all of the technical workshops over the course of the two days, 12 to 13 September.

The report will be published on the EEP website after the launch. If you wish to receive a copy directly to your mailbox, please submit your contact details here.

 

 

 

EEP team spreading the word on CfP 14 in Nairobi and Lusaka events

EEP Africa hosted a Question and Answers session on the 14th Call for Proposals (CfP14) for over 30 people at the EEP regional hub office in Nairobi on Tuesday 12 June. The event was kicked off with the EEP CfP14 video and followed by an interactive questions and answers on the EEP Africa Innovation window. A lot of interesting questions were made by interested project developers and hopefully all questions were answered. You can check the FAQs of the call on the website for more information or reach out to the EEP team through cfp@eepafrica.org

In Lusaka, EEP joined the two-day Zambia Off-Grid Investor Forum organized by Alliance for Rural Electrification and GOGLA, and supported by RECP. On Wednesday 12 June, EEP Head of Portfolio and Finance participated in a panel discussing financing for off-grid solutions and was able to share information about the open CfP14 to the conference audience consisting of local and regional project developers as well as investors and other sector players. EEP also shared experiences on off-grid projects in the region focusing on the importance of developing successful business models and on the current critical barriers of the sector.

The project developers participating in the forum were highly interested in the open CfP14. During the two days EEP held one-on-one discussions with countless project developers and answered questions on eligibility and application procedures. Many projects had already started their application process and wanted to ask details on the process going forward.

EEP wants to thank all project developers for their interest in both events. We are looking forward to receiving high quality applications from Kenya and Zambia. A big thank you to the organisers of Zambia Off-Gird Investor Forum who created a successful event that provided relevant information about the Zambian off-grid market that is developing rapidly at the moment.

The interest for CfP14 has been significant and the EEP team is doing its best to answer all questions.  We encourage all interested project developers to visit CfP14 page to learn more about the call for proposals and application procedures. Please read the application guidelines and other relevant documents carefully before you apply to make sure you qualify.Interested applicants have until June 28 at 13h Helsinki time to submit proposals.

Join our online webinar or Q&A sessions in Nairobi and Lusaka

Interested in taking part in EEP Africa’s Call for Proposals 14, but still having some questions? Join our team on Tuesday 5 June from 3 to 4 pm Helsinki time in a webinar to get your question answered! In this webinar we will discuss frequently asked questions on the call and provide the opportunity to participants to ask specific questions to the EEP team directly.

Register here for the webinar >>
Please feel free to send your questions, comments and feedback in advance to cfp@eepafrica.org.

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Are you in Nairobi or Lusaka and want to meet our team face-to-face? Please joins us for a Q&A session on Tuesday 12 June from 10 to 11.30am in Nairobi (KPMG Office, 8th Floor, ABC towers, Wajyaki Way) or on Wednesday 13 June from 2 to 4 pm at the Zambia Off-Grid Investor Forum 2018 (Radisson Blu Hotel Lusaka).`

Register here for the Nairobi Q&A session >>

Register here for the Zambia Off-Grid Investor Forum to join our Lusaka Q&A session>>

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The 14th EEP Africa Call for Proposals invites applications from early stage off-grid and on-grid clean energy projects in active development phase in Southern and East Africa. We are looking for projects with strong Concept Innovation, Development Impact and Business Model & Financial Sustainability. Find more information and guidelines here >>

EEP Africa CfP14 Goes Live in Cape Town

A new video release and a panel of past EEP Africa grant recipients mark the launch of the latest EEP Africa Call for Proposals

With a well-attended event on the first day of Africa Utility Week (AUW) in Cape Town, the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) and the EEP Africa team officially opened the EEP Africa Innovation window for new proposals. Guidelines and a launch video for the latest call can be accessed here. Interested applicants have until June 28 at 13h Helsinki time to submit proposals.

The Energy and Environment Partnership covering Southern and East Africa (EEP Africa) is a multi-donor fund hosted by NDF and providing early stage grant and catalytic financing to innovative clean energy projects, technologies and business models. It operates as an open, competitive challenge fund through regular rounds of Calls for Proposals (CfPs). Current funding partners include Austria, Finland and NDF.

Kicking off the event, Wim Jonker Klunne, Lead Coordinator for EEP Africa told the audience, “Coming straight from a panel on minigrid development just prior to this launch where two of the other panelists came from the EEP Africa portfolio, it is very clear that we have been able to advance projects on the ground with real impact, and we see a very clear signal that EEP Africa financing remains critical to the development of the clean energy sector in the region.”

“We have been working toward this day for more than 18 months. Thanks to so many people and partners for bringing us here,” said Charles Wetherill, NDF Manager for the EEP Africa Fund. “The next step is up to you in the audience, the project developers. Bring your best ideas, and let’s get to work on the next generation of innovative clean energy businesses, projects and technologies supporting sustainable and inclusive green growth in Southern and East Africa.”

EEP Africa was first launched in 2010 under the leadership of Finland with co-financing from Austria and the UK. It has been at the forefront of efforts to fast track clean energy access and sustainable and inclusive green growth across the Southern and East Africa region, channelling more than EUR 57 million to 200+ pioneering projects leveraging clean energy technologies and business models to transform lives and livelihoods for the very poor.

 EEP projects have improved energy access for close to a million households, contributed to more than 8,000 new jobs, of which more than 3,000 accrued to women, resulted in more than 1.3 million tonnes of direct CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions and leveraged more than €150 million in additional investment.

 The event also saw the release of a new EEP Africa video and featured a panel of past recipients of EEP Africa financing including Marius Hugo, Managing Director at Mean Sea Level, a wave energy developer in South Africa, Dan Klinck, CEO at East Africa Power, a hydro power developer in Rwanda, Prosper Magali, Director for Business Development at Ensol Energy, a minigrid developer in Tanzania and Rehema Nakyazze, CEO at UgaStove, a clean cook stove manufacturer in Uganda.

 The event came one day after the latest EEP Africa Investor Forum which put investor representatives together with EEP Africa project developers for an afternoon of pitches, matchmaking and deal flow identification.

For more information and updates on future EEP Africa CfPs and investor events, please follow this space or get in touch at info@eepafrica.org.

Photo credit: True Story Studio

   

EEP Africa Investor Forum in Cape Town spotlights deal flow

EEP Africa hosts investor representatives and EEP Africa project developers for a matchmaking session at the start of Africa Utility Week in Cape Town

14 May 2018, Cape Town, South Africa – A group of clean energy sector investors representing venture capital, impact finance, private equity, DFIs and financial institutions came together with EEP Africa project developers one day before the start of Africa Utility Week (AUW) in Cape Town for an afternoon of pitches, matchmaking and deal flow identification.

The Energy and Environment Partnership covering Southern and East Africa (EEP Africa) is a multi-donor fund hosted by NDF and providing early stage grant and catalytic financing to innovative clean energy projects, technologies and business models.

The Investor Forum is an EEP Africa flagship event. Investors looking to identify deal flow opportunities can access a pre-screened pipeline of clean energy projects stemming from the EEP Africa portfolio. EEP Africa project developers with proven clean energy business models and projects poised for construction have a chance to start a conversation with potential investors.

“EEP Africa is more than a series of one-off projects that start and stop with a grant,” touted Charles Wetherill, NDF Manager for the EEP Africa Fund. “Our added value is taking the first step, bearing the early risk and developing a pipeline of investible clean energy businesses, projects and technologies. We know there is impact capital looking to identify opportunities in clean energy. We have the pipeline and are looking to make actionable connections for investors and developers in one stop.”

Lauri Tuomaala, Head of Portfolio and Finance for EEP Africa, added, “when projects come through EEP, we get to know them in detail. We know how they operate, we see ideas tested, we know the management and at the end of the day we have a lot of confidence putting them in front of the investor community.”

EEP Africa was launched in 2010 under the leadership of Finland with co-financing from Austria and the UK. It has been at the forefront of efforts to fast track clean energy access and sustainable and inclusive green growth across the Southern and East Africa region, channelling more than EUR 57 million to 200+ pioneering projects leveraging clean energy technologies and business models to transform lives and livelihoods for the very poor.

NDF launched a new phase of EEP Africa in 2018 with the facility restructured as a multi-donor trust fund, fully aligned with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. The new phase also opens up a new financing window for EEP Africa with EEP Catalyst, a blended finance investment window providing follow-on financing to select EEP projects stemming from the grant phase.

 EEP Catalyst provides concessional co-financing in the form of loans and subordinated loans to catalyse and unlock new investment in EEP projects and close gaps in financing plans. Project selection focuses on cases which can demonstrate a clear rationale for additionality, crowding-in new investors, commercial viability, development impact and sustainable business practices.

For more information and updates on future EEP Africa investor events, please follow this space or get in touch at info@eepafrica.org.

Photo credit: True Story Studio

EEP Africa at African Utility Week 15-17 May

We warmly welcome you to join the EEP Africa Call for Proposals Launch at the African Utility Week in Cape Town on 15 May. The event takes place at 16:30 in the Workshop area 1. Please see more information here and remember to register for a free exhibition pass to enter the event. At the Launch you will have an opportunity to meet the EEP team, learn more about the application process and hear first-hand experiences from former EEP project developers.

In addition to the official Call for Proposals Launch, the EEP team is hosting an exhibition stand at the African Utility Week during the three days of the expo. Please come visit us at stand J11 to discuss the financing opportunities and details of the Call for Proposals and hear more about EEP. On Wednesday 16 May from 9:00 to 12:00 the EEP team has specifically reserved time to answer questions on the Call for Proposals.

EEP Africa joins a road show with NDF around the Nordic region

EEP Africa, along with the Nordic Climate Facility (NCF) will be featured by NDF in a series of climate and development finance road show events around the Nordic region during the month of May. Both funds offer early-stage project financing for projects with a climate focus. On the road show EEP will be introducing the next Call for Proposals which opens on 15 May 2018.

The schedule below presents the events where NDF will be participating in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. By clicking on the links you will find more information on the events, including agendas and instructions on how to register.

We strongly encourage Nordic renewable energy businesses to join the events and learn more about the upcoming EEP Africa Call for Proposals as well as other climate and development financing opportunities.

The EEP Africa Call for Proposals will be officially launched at African Utility Week on 15 May at 16:30. Please find more information on the event and welcome to join us in Cape Town!