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 Africa CfP14 attracted a record number of Concept Notes

CfP14 closed on 28 June and the EEP Africa team has been busy with the exciting task of reviewing the proposals. We appreciate the vast interest this call attracted – an amazing number of 530 Concept Notes were submitted!   

We received proposals from all 15 EEP countries and a great variety of renewable and energy efficiency sectors were represented. Overall, the submitted Concept Notes demonstrate a diversified portfolio of innovative early stage clean energy projects. The total value of the proposed projects amounted to more than 1 billion euros.

The highest number of proposals received were from Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Tanzania, similar to the geographical distribution of the current EEP portfolio. Among the energy sectors Solar PV was the most popular, including mini-grids, solar-home-system distribution initiatives, and other innovative projects providing solar energy services. Other technology sectors such as waste-to-energy, cookstoves, hydropower, biogas and solid biomass were also strongly represented.

Once again, we thank all of you for your interest in EEP Africa. All applicants will be informed about decisions on the Concept Note stage by the end of August 2018. More details on the next CfP15 will be shared on the EEP Africa website and through EEP communication channels in the coming months.

Austria confirms continued support to EEP Africa

3 July 2018 – The Austrian Development Agency (ADA) joined NDF and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA Finland) as a donor to the new Energy and Environment Partnership Trust Fund covering Southern and East Africa (EEP Africa) raising combined commitments to the Fund to EUR 28 million.

EEP Africa was first launched in 2010 under the leadership of MFA 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 region.

In January 2018, EEP Africa transitioned into a multi-donor trust fund hosted and managed by NDF and providing early stage grant and catalytic financing to innovative clean energy projects, technologies and business models.

The new financing commitment from Austria will support access to clean energy in 15 countries in Southern and East Africa and highlights a strong start for the Fund. Discussions are ongoing with additional donors with the aim of growing the commitments to the Fund by the end of the year.

EEP Africa increases energy supply and access to renewable energy for poor people and promotes energy efficiency by demonstrating and deploying new technologies in Southern and East Africa. EEP Africa targets the key barriers of access to finance and information in order to advance low carbon private sector development in a cost effective and evidence based way.

According to ADA Managing Director, Martin Ledolter, “Austria is convinced of the necessity to invest in climate change mitigation and thus driving forward the renewable energy agenda in the global fight to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This is why Austria explicitly supports renewable energy and low-carbon technologies such as solar, hydro, wind and biofuels. Hence the participation within this successful partnership with Finland and the Nordic Development Fund provides Austria a unique opportunity to contribute to our convictions in this area on a larger scale and to jointly be at the forefront of efforts to fast track clean energy access and sustainable and inclusive green growth across the region.”

 

NDF Managing Director, Pasi Hellman, noted, “Austria’s contribution has special significance as it is the first time that a non-Nordic partner commits funding under NDF management. This highlights Austria’s continued commitment to EEP Africa and our shared priorities for energy access and low carbon private sector development in Africa as well as trust in NDF to lead the programme into a new phase.”

Since 2010, EEP Africa has channelled more than EUR 57 million to more than 200 pioneering projects leveraging innovative clean energy technologies and energy access business models to transform lives and livelihoods with particular focus on the very poor.

EEP projects have improved energy access for more than 900,000 households and contributed to more than 8,000 new jobs, of which more than 3,000 accrued to women. EEP financing has also triggered direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions of more than 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent and leveraged more than €150 million in additional investment.

For more information, please visit www.eepafrica.org or get in touch at info@eepafrica.org.
Photo credit: Nuru Energy

 

 Austrian Development Agency (ADA)

Combating poverty, ensuring peace and preserving the environment: These are the three major concerns of Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation. ADA funds projects and programmes currently with a total of EUR 500 million to improve living conditions in developing countries. Together with the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (MFA), partner countries, public institutions, civil-society organisations and businesses, ADA seeks to ensure that sustainable development works to the benefit of all people in Africa, Asia, South-Eastern and Eastern Europe as well as in the Caribbean.

For more information, please contact oeza.info@ada.gv.at

Nordic Development Fund (NDF)

NDF is the joint development and climate finance institution of the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. NDF finances and facilitates climate investments in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In addition to managing EEP Africa, NDF finances clean energy development in Africa through a mix of innovative and complementary blended finance facilities with a range of other bilateral, multilateral and private sector partners.

For more information, please contact Jussi Viding, Project Officer at jussi.viding@ndf.fi.

Tanzania approves its first Wind Farm Project with EEP support

Windlab Limited and its local subsidiary Windlab Developments Tanzania Ltd has been awarded an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) Certificate for the construction of the Miombo Hewani Wind Farm and Transmission line project, located in Southern Central Tanzania. Miombo Hewani has been approved for up to 300MW of capacity.

 Windlab’s ESIA certificate is the first one issued for a wind farm in Tanzania. Once operational, the wind farm will provide electricity for over one million Tanzanians over the minimum of 25 years of operation.  The wind farm will be built in phases; the first phase of the project is expected to be around 100MW and include up to 34 wind turbines as well as electrical infrastructure connecting the wind farm to national electricity grid at the Makambako substations. The first phase alone will bring up to US$300M of investment to the country. 

EEP Africa supported Windlab’s project from 2015 until 2017. The grant was aimed to carry out a complete feasibility study for the wind farm, allowing it to move to a bankable position over its course. In addition, EEP provided business development support to the project by selecting Windlab to participate in the EEP Investor Forum and by sharing lessons from the project on the EEP website.

EEP is delighted by the groundbreaking news about the successful completion and outcome of the feasibility study. The project is a breakthrough and will have a significant impact on the entire energy sector in Tanzania. The process to obtain the certificate was challenging due to many external factors and changes in the government regulations. Windlab has been working continuously on the project for the past three years in Tanzania. The project has required an immense amount of commitment, wide range expertise and persistence to achieve the current stage.  

IT IS POSSIBLE!

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