A lot has happened in our worldwide activities since the last newsletter. As usual, our WISIONS Summer Newsletter includes an overview of WISIONS activities, news, publications and events. If you have any questions about specific content, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
With best regards,
Your WISIONS Team
The focus of our Deep Dive Workshop (DDW) on the first day of the Asian Clean Energy Forum in Manila on 17th June 2019 was on “Scaling Inclusive Enterprise-Based Approaches” in relation to hydro mini-grids in the Asia-Pacific. With the Hydro Empowerment network team – our core network partner in Asia who was in charge of the session – we were able to draw on the wealth of expertise within the network and feature key experts experienced in enterprise-based hydro mini-grids drawn from a cross-section of government, private sector, NGOs, civil society and investors.
The experiences shared demonstrated that in recent years there has been a transition to innovative ownership, management and financing models for mini-grid development – with sufficient income generated to ensure the financial viability and sustainable operation of small-scale hydro projects.
In the first of the two panel sessions, moderated by Divyam Nagpal at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) venue, the presenters provided two examples from Nepal. Bir Bahadu Ghale is a self-made entrepreneur who installed a small micro-hydro plant in his village in the early 1990s. With a focus on productive use from the outset, he now has more than 60 enterprises and offers services across Nepal. Further contributions to the discussion and examples from Indonesia and Myanmar came from Sandra Winarsa of Hivos and Dipti Vaghela from HPNET, as well as from Meherban Khan who described the broad experiences of public utility companies under the Rural Support Programme of Aga Khan in Pakistan.
In the second panel session, the speakers discussed how to accelerate the transition to enterprise-based hydro mini-grids. One focus of the session, moderated by Bikash Pandey from Winrock International and advisor to HPNET, was on theopportunities for scaling enterprise-based hydro mini-grids in terms of transitioning grant-dependent models to credit-financed enterprise models and also establishing new projects with enterprise-based approaches. Contributors included Tri Mumpuni of IBEKA/Indonesia and Senator Adrian Banie Lasimbang of the Malaysian Government, as well as Sherzad Ali Khan from AKDN (the Aga Khan Development Network in Pakistan) and U Aung Myint from REAM/Myanmar.
Solutions discussed for overcoming barriers to scalability included building local institutional capacity and accessing both local finance and development finance. In summary, the DDW provided development partners and professionals with the opportunity to understand recent innovative approaches to sustainable small-scale hydropower in terms of economic viability and social impact.
Find out more about the workshop here: Deep Dive Workshop
More information about the conference at the Asian Development Bank: Asia Clean Energy Forum
More information about HPNET
After a short introduction by Willington Ortiz from WISIONS, the webinar started with a presentation by Lucie Pia Pluschke from “Powering Agriculture/GIZ”. Lucie gave an overview on solar-powered irrigation and outlined the general benefits and risks. Lucie and Powering Agriculture have extensive experience in irrigation systems from different countries and environments, and based on this experience they have developed an extremely helpful and free to use tool – the Toolbox on Solar Powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS). The tool features modules guiding the user through important steps and decisions for starting an irrigation system.
Pooja Sharma, from Practical Action Nepal , then presented the results of the WISIONS supported CeVEM Project in Nepal, showcasing an innovative best-practice business model of solar water lifting technology in agricultural farmlands. The innovative and more holistic approach in this project was the focus on the whole agriculture farmer value chain. This included training farmers on commercial vegetable farming and providing links between farmers and the market, which resulted in a three-fold increase in farming and hence income for the farmers.
Irrigation is also possible using hybrid or combined systems, as shown by Jorge Ayarza from MinVayu and Wind Empowerment. Drawing on his experiences from Argentina and India, he addressed the technical issue of turning a regular PV-pump system into a hybrid system. This solution has potential in regions with dry, cloudy seasons with sufficient wind levels – as was the case in recent years in India. He also demonstrated options for using open source load controllers (ELC), highlighting how more remote areas can become more independent.
The examples showed that innovation based on decentralised renewable energy can help tackle crucial agricultural needs and technical challenges faced by family farmers worldwide – but it also made clear that in regions affected by climate change, irrigation needs to be done in a non-harmful and efficient way, taking into account environmental effects, to avoid the over-exploitation of water.
We would like to thank our moderator Jessica Rivas, coordinator of Wind Empowerment, for steering the webinar.
You can watch our Webinar here: Energy for Water from “Sun & Co”- Renewable Energy Innovations for Irrigation
You can also find the slides of the webinar here.
If you missed the webinar on 28th June, you can listen to the recording here at Energypedia. The webinar featured banking and finance specialists from South and Southeast Asia who are enabling local banks in the region to make finance available for small-scale hydro mini-grids.
The content covered:
- Incentives for local banks to lend to RE mini-grids
- Challenges for local banks and how development partners can alleviate these challenges
- Example of a 7-bank programme (!) lending to RE mini-grids
- Checklist for mini-grid developers to access local bank financing.
Dipti Vaghela from HPNET introduced the topic by providing a good overview of the financing situation and challenges faced in recent years, showing that renewable energy mini-grids are a proven and cost-effective solution for sustainable energy access. To date, the scaled replication of mini-grids has largely depended on international development aid, most commonly as concessionary loans or grants to national governments which are then distributed as grants or subsidies to beneficiary communities. However, in the case of hydro mini-grids, access to credit can play a significant role in accelerating their implementation.
Kapila Subasinghe from DFCC Bank in Sri Lanka gave insights into the right mix of strategies for overcoming funding barriers for small-scale projects. There is a clear need to have an integrated approach among multi-actors as well as flexibility to adjust according to the local conditions.
The second speaker, finance specialist Margarita Manzo, put forward ideas about what enterprises can do to make their projects appeal to local banks and other funders, and gave examples of the key simple questions that enterprises must be able to answer clearly. She also stressed the fact that data is critical to prove the viability of a project to potential funders.
The third speaker, Dinesh Dulal, Head of E&D Organisation Department with NMB Bank Ltd. Kathmandu, presented several examples of the long-term experiences of NMB as market leader in mini-grid project finance in Nepal. He stressed that government and international development partners can also play a critical role in enabling local banks and mitigating risks.
Stay tuned for our next quarterly webinar in September in cooperation with HPNET and Energypedia: “Mini-Grid Sustainability: Transitioning to Enterprise-based Micro Hydro”.
You can watch the webinar here: Mini-grid Financing: Enabling the Role of Local Banks”
More information here: Energypedia.info
or visit HPNET
The current total consumption of firewood by the Cambodian garment sector is estimated to be over 300,000 tonnes per year. As it is critical to find alternative biomass fuels – and Cambodia produces around 1.5 million tonnes of rice husk each year – this WISIONS-supported SEPS knowledge exchange aimed to highlight and showcase the use of rice husk briquettes (RHB).
To complement a peer-to-peer exchange that took place in September 2018 to leverage successful technologies and best practices from the region, GERES organized a Capitalization Conference, which took place on 19th March in Phnom Penh.
The Capitalisation Conference was a clear success and met the expectations of both the participants and the organisers. The 94 participants had the opportunity to learn about the findings and experiences from previous GERES activities and to gain insights into solutions for sustainable thermal energy generation through round table discussions, as well as sessions with professionals and experts. GERES brought together 14 invited experts from seven different South East Asian countries for the round table discussions. The conference also provided networking opportunities for the various stakeholders. Two objectives were set and met:
(1) To disseminate knowledge and raise awareness through sharing GERES’ findings and distributing information materials.
(2) To create networking opportunities and business contacts for rice millers and garment factory representatives.
Find more information on this SEPS knowledge exchange project
Find out more here about and the Cambodia Climate Action Alliance)
On 9th May 2019, prior to the World Hydropower Congress in Paris, MISEREOR and GegenStrömung gathered international experts, proponents and critics of hydropower in Berlin to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of hydropower in relation to the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.
One of the three panels focused on “Alternative energy solutions, development concepts and criteria for hydropower”, with Carmen Dienst of WISIONS as one of the panellists.
These key questions were at the centre of the discussion:
· How can the energy needs of the global South be met without destroying the ecological livelihoods of the population?
· What are the alternatives to large dams?
· What are the minimum criteria for the construction of hydropower plants?
During the discussion it soon became clear that it is important to differentiate between "big dams" and "small/micro hydropower plants”, rather than to equate the two. While the first two panel sessions focused on human rights and on the social and ecological issues of big dams and their negative effects on affected regions, the third session highlighted the potential positive impacts and co-benefits.
WISIONS’s lighthouse examples are the projects conducted by practitioners in the HydroEmpowerment Network. These projects directly serve the communities in need of energy by implementing micro-hydro systems using a holistic approach that includes the importance of sustainable watershed management and improvement of livelihoods in the water catchment areas.
In addition to Carmen from the Wuppertal Institute/WISIONS, Heike Drillisch from Gegenströmung and Sebastian Helgenberger from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)/Co-Benefit project were part of this interesting panel, moderated by Kathrin Schröder, Misereor.
Click here for further information: MISEREOR Conference: Hydropower, Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals (German Description)
WINROCK International, one of our SEPS cooperation partners, is currently implementing solar water pumping (SWP) projects in Nepal and making these affordable for small farmers. After the completion of workshops and knowledge exchanges in February 2019, they hosted orientation and demonstration programs for the farmers.
A total of eight orientation and demonstration programmes on SWP technology for small farmers were held in February and March 2019. Supported by the Renewable Energy for Rural Livelihood Programme, the sessions took place from 23rd to 26th February 2019 and 26th to 29thMarch 2019.
The main objective was to promote SWP systems and raise awareness amongst rural farmers by showcasing the practical and affordable nature of the technology. There was an impressive total of 406 participants, with farmers and representatives of eight cooperatives, farmers affiliated to a local development bank, municipality representatives, SWP supplier representatives and the project team.
As well as giving insights into technical aspects of SWP systems and information on subsidies and business models, a field visit took place where pumping systems were shown in operation.
In addition, WINROCK’s efforts in the SEPS exchange led to the creation of several networks involving municipalities, Small Farmer Agricultural Cooperative Limited (SFACL), farmers and SWP suppliers. Multiple network events took place between November 2018 and March 2019, giving stakeholders the opportunity to learn from each other, exchange contacts and SWP technology knowledge, and to learn more about its implementation and benefits.
WISIONS News Blog: Click here
Find out more about the project here: Exchange: Knowledge Exchange to Make Solar Water Pumping (SWP) Systems Affordable for Small Farmers (SEPS16)
Since 2019, WISIONS has been an active member of ACCESS Coalition and we welcomed the opportunity to play an active role in their first webinar on 30thApril. As well as presentations on ACCESS Coalition’s strategy for 2019-2021 and two case studies highlighting experiences from Kenya, the webinar featured Julia Terrapon-Pfaff from WISIONS/Wuppertal Institute who presented our research results on the productive use of energy. This research is based on the post-evaluation of 30 small-scale energy projects supported by WISIONS in the global south.
The Kenyan example from Practical Action focused on milling and ice-making to increase the financial viability of a mini-grid and the Rainforest Alliance presented their experiences of promoting the local manufacture of briquettes in the tea industry.
This webinar was the first in a series designed to target knowledge-sharing between civil society organisations operating in energy access and beyond.
Watch the webinar here: ACCESS Coalition Webinar Series 2019
Download the slides here: Webinar Slides
For more information: Additional Resources
Wuppertal Institute for Climate,
Environment and Energy GmbH
Postbox: 10 04 80/ D-42004 Wuppertal
Tel: +49 (0) 202. 2492 252
Telefax: +49 (0) 202. 2492 198