Knowledge Exchange Forum in Johannesburg

EEP Africa hosted its 8th Knowledge Exchange Forum (KEF) on 28 March in Johannesburg, South Africa. The theme for this KEF was Productive Use and Drivers for Renewable Energy Uptake in the SADC Region.

EEP Africa promotes knowledge sharing through semi-annual Knowledge Exchange Forums. The event targets EEP Africa-supported project developers and other stakeholders in the sector. The main aim is encouraging practitioners in the sector to share experiences, brainstorm solutions, and build their networks. Close to 100 participants engaged in the Johannesburg KEF, making it a dynamic and productive day.

The full-day programme included speakers, panels, and roundtable discussions. The event was opened by Dr Thembakazi Mali, Interim CEO of the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI), who was speakingon behalf of the South African Department of Energy. The strategic vision of EEP Africa was outlined by Charles Wetherill, EEP Africa Fund Manager at the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), which contributes to and hosts the trust fund. The keynote address was given by Andrew M. Herscowitz, Coordinator of Power Africa, who reflected on developments in the sector and challenges going forward.

“EEP Africa has had a large impact in South Africa in terms of access to energy, waste management, job creation and SMME development. They have stepped in to the gap of financing small-scale independent power producers in this country.” -Dr. Thembakazi Mali, Interim CEO of SANEDI

Key Finding from the SADC Status Report on Renewable Energy were presented by Karin Reiss of SACREEEE. This was followed by a panel of EEP Africa National Focal Points from the region, who provided perspectives on how their own countries are supporting the promotion of private sector engagement in the energy sector and the policies that are being put in place to drive renewable energy uptake, both for electricity and clean cooking.

“The Nordic Development Fund is financing sustainable and low carbon economies. EEP Africa is a key programme for us to support innovative entrepreneurs on the ground that are driving the development of local green and inclusive economies.” -Charles Wetherill, EEP Africa Fund Manager at NDF

Each KEF includes “Communities of Knowledge” roundtables, which are a valuable opportunity for participants to share their own successes and challenges. Participants determine the direction of the discussions and tap into the expertise around the table to address barriers that they are facing.

The discussions on promoting the productive use of energy highlighted the role of the energy service provider in identifying the potential for productive use, offering energy efficient appliances for existing productive activities, and developing partnerships to facilitate end users in accessing markets to sell their products. However, the extent to which companies need to engage in building these value chains was debated.

EEP Africa looks forward to hosting the next KEF in the second half of 2019.

Sneak Peek to Market Insights from 2018 Call

EEP Africa received a total of 530 applications in the 14th Call for Proposals (CfP14) in 2018. The applications represent a wide variety of project types, technologies and geographical areas and amounted to a cumulative project value of EUR 1 billion. This far exceeded expectations and is five times the average number of applications received in the previous eight EEP Africa calls (2013 – 2016). 

The broad spectrum of applications received provides an interesting and useful overview of the current market situation and emerging trends in the renewable energy sector in Southern and East Africa. With CfP15 currently open until 2 April 2019, EEP Africa wants to highlight a few of the market insights from the previous call. A more comprehensive report on the market insights obtained from CfP14 will be published in the coming months.

High demand for early stage financing

The high interest in EEP Africa’s CfP14 suggests strong growth in the renewable energy sector in Africa. However, it also demonstrates a continuing need for concessional financing for early stage projects and business development.

EEP Africa aims to add value for start-up interventions and based on the response rate, it is apparent that financing for early stage projects is needed. EEP Africa also continues to support projects that are ready to scale up their business. Thirty-five percent of the applications under CfP14 were submitted by companies expanding the scale of their business to leverage other forms of investment financing, and buying down risks. Similarly, the applications demonstrated the differences in the renewable energy markets in the 15 EEP Africa countries in terms of development and innovation. EEP Africa aims for a diversified portfolio and the breadth of technologies, geographical focus, and business models proposed support us in achieving this goal.

Innovations in off-grid solutions

The range of stand-alone solutions and products is growing rapidly and consequently close to half of all applications in CfP14 included such systems. Solar PV technology is clearly dominating the renewable energy market with 38 % of all applications using solar PV as their primary technology. Hybrid models were included as the second largest group of applications and it is evident that the use of hybrid technology reflects the innovative combination of technologies to strengthen business models, ensuring continuous generation capacity and testing new technology adaptions. Noteworthy is also that battery technologies are more commonly being adopted in various types of projects.

The volume of mini-grid applications received in CfP14 appears to align with the recent keen interest from project developers, financiers and governments in developing the model as a financially viable off-grid solution. Mini-grid applications represented close to 25 % of all applications with almost half of the proposals planning to use solar PV. Mini-grid developers are putting increased efforts on productive use of energy, combining mini-grid development with the sale of energy efficient appliances or establishing local business hubs as means to improve financial viability. Based on the numerous applications from small-scale hydropower mini-grid projects, building the business case is fundamental. It has given rise to innovations by adopting a portfolio approach, stimulating community development, and increasing local productive use.

The business models in clean cooking are developing and adapting lessons learned from Solar Home System (SHS) business models. The main innovations are the introduction of PAYG solutions, smart metering and multiple services, including lighting and mobile charging.  

Women’s significant role

A key aspect of fostering sustainable and inclusive growth and contributing to the achievement of the SDGs is the promotion of gender equality in all projects and sectors of EEP Africa. The current CfP15 is gender themed and thus it is worthwhile to draw inspiration from the results of CfP14. The CfP14 applications indicated that the sector recognises the importance of women in participating as employees and as key users of energy services. Most of the applicants stated that 25-50 % of their project workforce are women. One third estimated a greater than 50 % share of women as employees, leaders and entrepreneurs in their value chains.

EEP Africa is looking forward to applications from CfP15 that take this trend further and hopes these brief market insights provide further motivation for you to apply.

Welcome to the Next Knowledge Exchange Forum!

EEP Africa will host its 8th Knowledge Exchange Forum on Thursday, March 28, at the Sandton Hilton in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The EEP Africa Knowledge Exchange Forum (KEF) is a dynamic event for project developers and other key players in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sector to discuss key topics in the field, share experiences, and build new business relationships.

The theme for KEF Johannesburg is Productive Use & Drivers for Renewable Energy Uptake in the SADC Region.

The full-day programme will include speakers, panel discussions, and roundtable discussions. The KEF roundtables, called “Communities of Knowledge”, are a valuable opportunity for participants to share their own successes and challenges. There is also ample time for networking at an evening reception following the main programme.

The current EEP Africa Call for Proposals (CfP15) will close on 2 April 2019. KEF Johannesburg offers potential applicants a final opportunity to meet our team and ask questions about the gender-themed CfP15.

To encourage broad participation, EEP Africa is organizing this KEF the day after the Power & Electricity World Africa conference and exhibition.

Registration
The KEF is open to all and free of charge, but advance registration is required. The final agenda will be shared with the registered participants closer to the event.

We look forward to seeing you in Johannesburg!

Join us for CfP15 Q&A Sessions

The EEP Coordination Office is organizing two opportunities for potential applicants to meet our team and ask questions about EEP Africa and the gender-themed call (CfP15) that is currently open.

On 5 March you can meet us face-to-face in Nairobi

On 12 March you can join us online for a Webinar

Before joining either event, please make sure to carefully read the Application Guidelines as answers to many of your questions may be found there. You can also submit questions to cfp@eepafrica.org. All email requests for clarifications must be submitted by 6 March 2019.

Nairobi Q&A on EEP Africa CfP15

5 March 2019 at 8:30-11:30 KPMG Kenya (12th Floor, ABC Place, Waiyaki Way, Nairobi)

  • 8:30 Registration and refreshments
  • 9:00 Welcome remarks
  • 9:15 Introduction to EEP Africa and overview of CfP 15
  • 9:45 Questions & Answers from participants
  • 11:30 End of session

Webinar Q&A on EEP Africa CfP15

12 March 2019 at 14:00-15:00 Helsinki time (GMT+3)

  • 14:00 Introduction to EEP Africa and overview of CfP15
  • 14:10 Key questions from Nairobi Q&A session
  • 14:20 Questions & Answers from participants
  • 15:00 End of session

And make sure to submit your CfP15 application for funding before the deadline of 2 April 2019 at 13:00 Helsinki time (GMT+3). Only applications submitted via the online form will be accepted.

EEP Africa to Open a Gender-themed Call for Proposals!

Save the Date! EEP Africa is excited to open a new gender-themed Call for Proposals on 20 February 2019. The deadline for submitting applications is 2 April 2019 at 13:00 Helsinki time (GMT+3).

See the details below or download as a pdf . Check back here for the full guidelines once the call is open.

This call is focused on promoting leadership and economic opportunities for women across the clean energy sector. We are seeking applications that propose innovative approaches to gender inclusion while also supporting core business objectives and growth. Projects will be evaluated based on concept innovation, development impact, business model and financial sustainability. Applications from women entrepreneurs and women-led organisations are strongly encouraged.

Applicants can apply for early-stage grants and repayable grants between EUR 200,000 – 500,000. The minimum required co-financing is 30% of the total project budget. All applications need to demonstrate clear additionality of EEP funding.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS: 

Companies (including start-ups), Non-profit Organisations and Social Enterprises

PROJECT SECTORS:

Biofuels Liquid, Biogas, Cookstoves, Energy Efficiency, Geothermal, Hydropower, Solar PV, Solar Thermal, Solid Biomass, Waste to Energy, Wind power, other RE/EE technology or combination of technologies (including productive use of energy)

PROJECT TYPES:

Feasibility Studies or Pilot, Demonstration, Replication, or Scale-up Projects

ELIGIBLE COUNTRIES:

Botswana, Burundi, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe (include map) 

Questions about this call? Contact us at cfp@eepafrica.org 

EEP Africa has a new look!

Last year the Energy and Environment Partnership covering Southern and East Africa transitioned into a multi-donor trust fund. The EEP Africa Trust Fund is hosted by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), with funding currently from Austria, Finland and NDF. This new chapter combines a proven model for delivering results with an evolution of the facility.

The EEP Africa Fund includes new financing mechanisms for innovative clean energy projects, closer engagement with the downstream investor community, and a strengthened focus on achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. The Fund aims to support countries in the region toward the realisation of a climate resilient, zero-carbon future, with particular focus on progress towards: No Poverty (SDG 1), Gender Equality (SDG 5), Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), and Climate Action (SDG 13).

As part of this evolution, we are pleased to launch a new logo for EEP Africa. The logo is designed to reflect our focus on clean energy, climate action and Africa, as well as our emphasis on partnerships and connections. The logo evokes the dynamism and innovation at the core of our mission. EEP Africa supports the testing of new technologies and business models that are expanding clean energy access and driving climate resilient economic growth.

EEP Africa is more than a collection of grant projects. Our added value is the early risk we take on innovative technologies and businesses, and the linkages we build among project developers, investors, energy experts, policy makers and other stakeholders. The new logo reflects our active approach to financing and our focus on the positive connections among clean energy, climate action and green growth in Africa.” Charles Wetherill, NDF Program Manager for EEP Africa.

EEP Africa is a proven leader in supporting innovative clean energy projects, technologies and businesses across Southern and East Africa. Since 2010, our combination of early-stage financing, business development support, knowledge exchange, and investment opportunities has had a demonstrated impact on lives and livelihoods.

To date, EEP Africa has:

  • Supported 250 early-stage clean energy projects;
  • Provided clean energy access to one million households;
  • Created over 8,000 jobs;
  • Reduced 1.3 million tons of CO2

EEP Africa will continue to build on this success to further advance clean energy access, development and investment in the region. Our diversified portfolio will stimulate sustainable and inclusive economic growth and job creation, as well as advance gender equality, health and education.

The first call for proposals under the new trust fund structure was held in 2018 and received 530 applications covering a diverse range of countries, technologies and business models. This high demand for early stage financing confirms the need for funds like EEP Africa that are willing to take a risk on innovative new projects and companies. In February 2019, we are excited to open a new gender-themed call for proposals aiming to create leadership and economic opportunities for women in the clean energy sector.

Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media to learn more about the continuing evolution of EEP Africa.

About EEP Africa
EEP Africa is a multi-donor trust fund providing early stage grant and catalytic financing to innovative clean energy projects, technologies and business models in 15 countries across Southern and East Africa. EEP Africa is hosted and managed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) and is currently funded by Austria, Finland and NDF. Implementation support is provided by KPMG.

EEP and AECF bring together investors and renewable energy businesses

PRESS RELEASE 

11th December 2018, Nairobi, Kenya – The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) and the Energy and Environment Partnership Trust Fund (EEP Africa) are hosting an investor forum that brings together financiers and companies from across the world to find investment opportunities in renewable energy businesses operating in Africa. The forum is an investor to business (I2B) match-making platform that assists small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) broker deals that will expand and grow their businesses and contribute to the transformational agenda in Africa.

World’s economy is driven by SMEs, entrepreneurs and start-ups. Most financiers and donors recognise the importance of the early-stage investment market in the creation of new jobs especially for women and youth and the development of the private sector in the clean energy sector in sub Saharan Africa“ Christian Fellner, Ambassador of Austria.

The private sector is the key engine for job creation accounting for 90% of all jobs in the developing world with SMEs accounting for the majority of these jobs. Despite the important role they play, SMEs cite access to affordable financing as a major hindrance in their operations and growth.

“Financing energy programmes is limited by domestic constraints and more comprehensively by context challenges that hinder an enabling private sector investment. Currently, energy access financing is beginning to penetrate the hard to reach markets – in rural, transitioning and fragile markets. Businesses working in such markets need to mobilise additional financing to sustain growth. Development capital blended with commercial funding can therefore provide the total financing needed by the projects to create transformative impact,” Paula Kermfors, Senior Programme Manager, Embassy of Sweden.

“From our experience the main gap in accessing finance for most SMEs is mainly due to the limited scope of financial products available that are suitable for businesses targeting the rural communities in Africa. This has meant that at their growth stage most businesses struggle to get financing for their businesses,” Daniel Ohonde, CEO, The AECF.

At the same time, investors have indicated difficulties in finding businesses that they can invest in.

“There is limited information available on the renewable energy sector at the country level and existing pipeline ready for investment. Platforms like our Investor Forum are needed to provide investors the opportunity to meet potential businesses face-to-face, make real connections to companies and the people driving the businesses and assess prospective returns for renewable energy projects across the African continent,” Lauri Tuomaala, EEP Head of Portfolio and Finance.

The Investor Forum is a one-day workshop that brings together over 40 investors and project developers from across the world to unlock additional investments in the renewable energy sector. The investors are provided access to a selected and pre-screened pipeline of clean energy businesses that have been funded by the AECF and EEP. The businesses present at the forum were selected based on technology and readiness for follow-on investment.

About Energy and Environment Partnership (EEP) Trust Fund
EEP Africa is a multi-donor trust fund providing early stage grant and catalytic financing to innovative clean energy projects, technologies and business models. Since 2010 EEP has channelled more than EUR 57 million to 200+ projects with positive impacts on lives and livelihoods in 15 countries in Southern and East Africa. EEP is hosted and managed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF). Funding partners for EEP are Austria, Finland and NDF. Implementation support is provided by KPMG.

For more information:
Lauri Tuomaala
Email: info@eepafrica.org

About The AECF
AECF is an Africa-based USD $356 million Enterprise Challenge Fund that works with the private sector on a risk sharing basis across 26 African countries to reduce poverty. It provides catalytic funding as grants or zero interest loans to private sector businesses that have a positive impact on the rural poor in Sub-Saharan Africa. The fund awards grants and/or loans to businesses focused on agriculture, agribusiness, renewable energy and adaptation to climate change with the aim of improving household incomes and reducing rural poverty. The fund is supported by Australia, Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden and United Kingdom governments, international financial institutions, Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and IFAD.

For more information:
Linda Odhiambo
Email: lodhiambo@aecfafrica.org

NDF publication: Spurring climate innovation through challenge funds

Nordic Development Fund (NDF) launched a new publication on the role of challenge funds in spurring climate innovation at COP24 in Katowice, Poland, on Tuesday 11 December in an NDF-organised side event at the Nordic Pavilion.

NDF’s publication Spurring climate innovation through challenge funds explores innovation spurred by two challenge funds that are managed by NDF, EEP Africa and the Nordic Climate Facility (NCF). It is the first time a systematic approach has been used to assess how NDF fosters innovation through these challenge funds. The focus of the study was on the EEP Africa and NCF applications that have a Nordic partner.

One of the findings of the study is that innovations can take many forms and there is space for innovation on a number of fronts. Technological innovation was seen only in a small portion of all project applications.

Read the publication here.