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.

News Blog

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Smart Grids for Small Grids - Progress So Far

News from WISIONS posted on November 18th, 2021

You may remember from our last Newsletter that WISIONS is currently supporting the Smart Grids for Small Grids project. Co-ordinated by Green Empowerment, it aims to develop open source technologies for rural communities to improve the reliability of mini-grids. Read moreMinimize

Significant progress has been made since the summer and the Smart Grids for Small Grids project has announced that it has reached Phase 2. This means it is moving from planning the load-management technology to actually building and lab testing it with real-world appliances. To test the hardware, simulated consumption profiles were used to mimic peak and off-peak hours in energy demand. By developing and applying the hardware, the project was also able to evaluate the manufacturing costs more accurately. With that in mind, the main focus of the technology is shifting towards shared communal services, such as shared power tool workshops, shared refrigeration, ice-making facilities and self-service laundry facilities. Despite this focus, domestic appliances are still a major objective and the project will move to evaluate solutions to reduce the production and implementation costs of domestic appliances.

The next steps will be to test the technology in the field, meaning in and by the target communities. The advantages of working closely with partner organisations on-site (SIBAT and  TONIBUNG) and facilitating mutual knowledge exchanges will come into play here, as the experiences and feedback from intended users will be included in the systems’ development process.

If you want to delve deeper into the topic, take a look at the project website. Stay tuned for more updates about this exciting project!

COP 26 - Making the Last Mile the First Mile

News from WISIONS posted on November 10th, 2021

We are into the second week of the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, with many exciting side-events and expert discussions on just energy transition and universal energy access taking place. In cooperation with our partner ACCESS Coalition, WISIONS was able to co-organise a panel on November 4th, highlighting the aim to “Making the Last Mile the First Mile!” with Wilington Ortiz from the WISIONS team moderating the session. Read moreMinimize

picture: IIED

In the context of our approach to put people in the centre of efforts to deliver universal energy access to the Global South, we asked initiatives aiming to advance just energy transitions on how to best engage people as “co-creators of future energy systems”. What lessons have they learned? What practical challenges are they facing? To answer those questions, four panelists were invited to the SDG7 Pavilion: Angelica Shamerina (GEF Small Grants ProgrammeUNDP), Jacqueline Kimeu (ACCESS Coalition), Ben Garside (International Institute for Environment and Development) and Archieford Chemhere (Action 24).

During the discussion, the crucial role of universal energy access was established as an essential tool to achieve several sustainable development goals. But providing energy alone does not address all developmental needs. It has to be linked to sectors in which that energy is needed. Here, the involvement of communities comes into play. Their needs and priorities differ widely and therefore determine the shape of energy access efforts. To sharpen the understanding of what is needed in the communities, the importance of civil society organizations was highlighted by the panelists. CSO’s can act as a “missing link”: informing the national level of communal needs and bridging communities and governments. Peer-to-peer exchanges of the global south empower the communities to articulate their needs and share knowledge among each other.

We were able to sum up the panel on an optimistic note: just energy transitions are possible, if local needs and local knowledge are taken into account and communities are empowered  through mutual learning and knowledge exchanges.

f.l.t.r.: Solomon Yamoha (ACCESS Coalition member Ghana), Jacqueline Kimeu (International Coordinator, ACCESS Coalition), Dr. Willington Ortiz (Project Collaborator, WISIONS of Sustainability), Damilola Ogunbiyi (CEO, Sustainable Energy for All), Ben Garside (Principal Researcher, IIED), Umar Saleh (ACCESS Coalition member Nigeria), Anne Songole (Advocacy Manager, ACCESS Coalition)

We would like to thank Sustainable Energy for All and ACCESS Coalition for making the event possible, as well as our panelists for sharing their expertise with us and the audience!

13th Encuentro of RedBioLAC

News from WISIONS posted on November 3rd, 2021

Our regional partnership network RedBioLAC held their 13th Encuentro (Annual Meeting) from the 26th to 28th of October. It took place as an online event due to COVID and was broadcasted live. The goal was to share expertise as well as practical advice about the implementation, long term success and potential of biogas and biodigesters for Latin America and the Caribbean.Read moreMinimize
For more detailed information about the Encuentro visit their Website.

One aspect, that ran through the event was the question what role the local communities play for the long term success of biodigesters. It was stated that the active involvement of locals from the start is a necessary step to establish an acceptance of the technologies. This is vital, because the local communities are usually involved in maintaining the structures and therefore guarantee the longevity of the technologies. To achieve this acceptance, biodigester implementation must focus on the individual needs as well as the specific socioeconomic, cultural and technical conditions. This is especially relevant for the implementation of domestic biodigesters, who are a promising technology due to their relatively low consultancy cost.

At the same time, the empowering potential of biodigesters for women was highlighted e.g. by the good practice example of the implementation of more than 18,000 biodigesters in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda. Women played a vital role in the adoption and extensive training for users, technicians, masons and supervisors to ensure quality control of biodigesters. To fulfill the empowering potential in those technologies, it needs public policy support, which also allows for a wide dissemination.

Besides the socioeconomic aspects, the event also discussed the technical side of biodigesters. The intertwining of production processes and biodigesters, a revaluation of waste and wastewater treatment plants were highlighted cornerstones on the way towards a circular bio economy. Also highlighted was the technology of anaerobic waste systems that provide sustainable energy as well as nutrients, while being relatively low cost and therefore are a viable option especially in rural areas.

If you want to learn more about one of the topics, you can rewatch the entire Encuentro on YouTube!

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