Category Archives: energy access

Ministers: ‘IRENA/ADFD Plays Key Role Advancing Renewables in Developing Countries’

At IRENA’s seventh Assembly, held in Abu Dhabi in January 2017, renewable energy projects from the Marshall Islands, Niger, Seychelles and the Solomon Islands were selected to receive a total of USD 44.5 million in funding through the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility. The Facility is a unique partnership between the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), set up to identify and partially finance promising renewable energy projects in developing countries.

At the Assembly, energy ministers from the four selected countries explained how this partnership will bring about a positive change in their respective countries.  Continue reading Ministers: ‘IRENA/ADFD Plays Key Role Advancing Renewables in Developing Countries’

Ministers Gather to Discuss Development with Off-Grid Renewables

Over a billion people in rural and peri-urban areas live without electricity, and another 2.9 billion rely on traditional fuels (like firewood) for cooking and heating. The Sustainable Development Goals recognise that bringing affordable electricity access to these people will enable increased productivity, higher incomes, improved food and water security, enhanced access to healthcare and education, and a host of other benefits towards developing communities and raising people out of poverty.

But what’s the best way to sustainably bring electricity access to people and gain this myriad of benefits in a timely manner? Off-grid renewables offer one approach that fulfils these needs and is both economical and good for the environment. Continue reading Ministers Gather to Discuss Development with Off-Grid Renewables

Pay-As-You-Go Solar Systems in Rural Senegal Give Access to Electricity

In the rural village of Salémata, located in the Kédougou region of southern Senegal, 10-year old Omar and his parents used to spend money on costly kerosene and low quality solar torches for basic lighting needs in their house. The kerosene and torches did not provide light for the whole evening, making studying at night a challenge for Omar. Omar’s parents then purchased a pay-as-you-go solar system in hopes that it could solve their lighting and energy problems. Since then, Omar is able to complete his homework every night and has improved his performance at school. And when his homework is done, now he can even watch some football games on TV.

The pay-as-you-go system Omar’s family purchased is made by Touba Solar Rama, a company that is supported by an Entrepreneurship Support Facility established by IRENA and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. Based at the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering in Burkina Faso, the facility provides advisory assistance to small and medium-sized renewable energy entrepreneurs in West Africa. Continue reading Pay-As-You-Go Solar Systems in Rural Senegal Give Access to Electricity

Renewable Energy in Burkina Faso: Improving Living Conditions and Alleviating Poverty

Burkina Faso’s economy is heavily reliant on energy imports. In 2013, 92% of the country’s electricity was imported or produced from imported oil and the country’s economy is particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in the price of oil. Burkina Faso is simultaneously facing challenges of energy access, energy security and climate change mitigation.

With no growth in electrification rates over the last few years, less than 5% of the rural population have access to electricity and many schools and hospitals lack supply. Rural communities rely on expensive and harmful kerosene, batteries, and candles to meet their basic energy needs and have no access to electricity to meet these needs or support income generating activities. Continue reading Renewable Energy in Burkina Faso: Improving Living Conditions and Alleviating Poverty

Solving the Energy Access Problem with Renewable Mini-Grids

Until recently, renewable-powered mini-grids were viewed as capable of delivering only basic energy services – for single houses or small communities – but recent technological innovations are changing that perception. Increasingly, renewable energy mini-grids offer a means to meet much larger power needs, including for industry.

Since 1990 energy access has improved and nearly two billion more people have gained access. However, more than a billion people still lack electricity access and another billion have only an unreliable supply. To achieve universal electricity access by 2030, the pace of expansion needs to at least double, and estimates suggest that off-grid solutions will provide roughly 60 per cent of the additional generation needed. Continue reading Solving the Energy Access Problem with Renewable Mini-Grids

Renewables for Growing Food and for Growing the Economy

Agriculture and related agri-food activities are at the heart of the rural economy, with a large percentage of households employed in harvesting, agro-processing, transporting and selling produce. Yet, rural communities often struggle with the lack of access and affordability of resources, and they can be limited to producing low-quality goods with little variety. This traps rural economies in poverty.

Affordable energy services were recognized as essential ingredients of economic development in the Millennium Development Goals, including the eradication of extreme poverty. More recently, access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy has been included as one of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Increasing access to cost-effective and environmentally sustainable energy services can have a broader development impact through better livelihoods, improved health, gender equality and enhanced education..

Released this weekend at the International Off-grid Renewable Energy Conference and Exhibition, IRENA’s first interactive digital publication, Renewable Energy Benefits: Decentralised Solutions in the Agri-food Chain, highlights the socio-economic benefits of using decentralised renewable energy to deliver energy for activities in the agri-food chain in rural areas. Continue reading Renewables for Growing Food and for Growing the Economy

International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference Highlights Changing Energy Access Narrative

Nearly 600 off-grid renewable energy practitioners and leaders from the public and private sector are gathering in Nairobi, Kenya this weekend for the third International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference (IOREC). Organized by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in partnership with the Kenya Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and the Alliance for Rural Electrification, the objective of IOREC is to boost electricity access through the development of off-grid renewables. Continue reading International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference Highlights Changing Energy Access Narrative