WISIONS of Sustainability

Our mission is to empower individuals and communities to transform the production and use of energy so that it effectively enables sustainable development. Read more about WISIONS activities, goals and background.

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11th RedBioLAC Annual Conference 2019

News from WISIONS posted on August 6th, 2019

RedBioLAC will hold the 11th edition of their annual conferences series and it will take place between 14 and 18 October 2019 in Varadero, Cuba. The topic of this year's conference will be „Biodigesters: An agroecological option in the rural context“. Register here!Read moreMinimize

RedBioLAC (short for Red de Biodigestores para Latino América y el Caribe) is 11 years old since its creation and represents a large group of professionals working in different fields on biodigestors in the region. It has been consolidated at the regional level, and has become a space for virtual exchange as a very relevant form of presentation for biodigester technology.

As a framework for the work that the network promotes, an annual face-to-face meeting is held in different locations. The spirit of the conference is to exchange knowledge in the broad sense of the word (from the vision of the users, of those who install the digesters, of those who research and develop, and of forms of financing, and implementation, etc.), to connect participants from various sectors related to biodigester technology and to be able to show some examples of research and implementation throughout the region, as well as sharing lessons learned.

Find more information about the conference and registration here!

Spanish Version: 

La Red de Biodigestores para Latino América y el Caribe (RedBioLAC) tiene 11 años desde su creación y representa a un gran grupo de profesionales trabajando en diversas escalas de biodigestores en la región, desde diversos puntos de trabajo. Se ha consolidado a nivel regional, y se ha convertido en un espacio de intercambio virtual como presencial muy relevante.

Como marco del trabajo que la Red promueve, se realizar anualmente un Encuentro presencial en diferentes locales. El espíritu del Encuentro es el de realizar el intercambio de conocimientos en el amplio sentido de la palabra (desde la visión de los usuarios, de quienes instalan los digestores, de quienes investigan y desarrollan, y de formas de financiamiento, e implementación, etc), de conectar a los participantes de diversos sectores relacionados a la tecnología y el de poder mostrar algunos ejemplos de investigación e implementación a través de la región, compartiendo lecciones aprendidas.

Encuentre más información sobre la conferencia y la inscripción aquí!

Our 4th Newsletter is out now!

News from WISIONS posted on September 23rd, 2019

The autumn edition of our newsletter is just out and tells you eight different stories about WISIONS activities, announcements, events, webinars, project news and our partnership networks activities! Enjoy the reading! WISIONS Newsletter 4 / 2019Read moreMinimize

Highlights in this edition: 

  • 11th RedBioLAC Annual Conference in Cuba and accompanying online course on Biodigester technology by CIBiogás and RedBioLAC
  • Open Source Technology for Hydropower Electronic Load Controllers, making the technology more efficient for rural communities and optimizing the energy supply. 
  • Making Biodigesters fit for service in rural communities in Southeast Asia
  • Recordings of HPNET webinars and Deep Dive Workshop at ACEF 2019 in Manila
  • Promotion of renewable energy opportunities in rural Argentina by a local NGO supported by WISIONS

Find many more stories about our activities here!

The recording of the latest HPNET Webinar is now online!

News from WISIONS posted on September 18th, 2019

Our partner HPNET hold a webinar on 17 September as part of the Mini-Grids Webinar Series 2019. This was the third part of the series and this edition is was all about the very crucial part mini-grid energy projects: financial sustainability. Under the title "Mini-Grid Sustainability: Transitioning to Social Enterprise for Energy and Economic Development" three invited speakers gave insights from their experiences and shared their knowledge in this webinar. Watch the recording here!Read moreMinimize


Risha Piya: Program Specialist at Winrock International Nepal

Ayu Abdullah: Co-Founder and Regional Director for Southeast Asia at Energy Action Partners

Iskander Kuntoadji: Founder of IBEKA, the People Centered Business and Economic Institute Indonesia


Collective research and hindsight within the Hydro Empowerment Network  reveal that the long-term sustainability and impact of hydro mini-grids is dependent on how well the project is run as a viable and inclusive enterprise. This webinar featured mini-grids practitioners in South and Southeast Asia who are leading the transition from grant-dependent to enterprise-based micro and mini hydropower projects. The webinar was in particular highlighting the following points: 

  • The linkage between enterprise-based approaches and long-lived hydro mini-grids; 
  • Best practices to transition from grant dependent to local social enterprise models, based on micro hydro experience in Nepal, Malaysia and Indonesia; 
  • Solutions to scale their efforts to more micro hydro communities, including how to make better use of funding resources that currently go toward grant-dependent projects. 
In contexts where small-scale, community-based hydro mini-grids have been scaled to thousands of communities, projects typically have been funded by grant or subsidy programs, e.g. Nepal and Indonesia. The Primary ownership and management structure in these projects has been user-based groups, e.g. village electrification committees (VECs), which can be inclusive but are challenged in achieving financial sustainability. Most projects operate only for night-time use, although electricity is available 24 hours, leading to minimal revenue generation. Due to limited revenue, there are no savings. So when repair and maintenance is required, the VECs raise funds through door-to-door collection. This is time intensive and a heavy burden for VEC leadership. 

However, there are other contexts wehre scaled implementation of hydro mini-grids has occurred without grants and subsidies, e.g. Afghanistan and Myanmar. In these cases, projects have been driven by enterprise development that has enabled revenue-generation sufficient for micro hydro O/M, repair, and capital costs in some projects. Because the project has included self-financing, ownership and management structures have varied from VECs to cooperative-owned, developer-owned, and hybrid community-private models. A common factor among the different model has been the presence of an entrepreneurial individual or organization. This entrepreneur is keen able to identify, establish, and incentivize productive end use that generates local economic value-add, and ultimately run the micro hydro as a sustainable enterprise. Over the last year HPNET has facilitated a closer look to understand the factors for sustaining hydro mini-grids over the long-term. In comparing the above two scenarios it has become evident that: 

  • Grant and subsidy dependent projects often lead to projects with poor load factors and therefore inadequate revenue generation to enable long-term financial sustainability. 
  • Ownership models of grant-dependent projects tend to be inclusive but typically are not conducive for enterprise development, simply because user-based groups funded by grants were not required to perceive the need or knowhow to establish financial sustainability. 
  • While self-financed enterprise-driven projects have strong financial viability, they require more time to develop inclusive affordability and equitable benefits among factions of the community. 
  • To achieve both revenue-driven and equitable hydro mini-grids, a transition is needed toward local social enterprise, brining economic value-add to the mini-grid, village enterprises, local social services, and households. 
  • A high impact end use for value-add of electricity is local agriculture and agri-processing; however tapping it requires energy practitioners to work with agri-value chain practitioners. 

To support local practitioners and micro hydro communities in this transition, HPNET has established the initiative "Social Enterprise for Energy and Economic Development" (SEEED). One if its initial objectives is to identify and highlight the work of practitioners who are already paving the path toward long-lived mini-grids anchored in social enterprise. This webinar will help to do so. 

Further Links and Downloads: 

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