On the occasion of the third anniversary of the launch of the United Nations Foundation’s Energy Access Practitioner Network, more than 100 members of the network and other invited guests met today in Kampala, together with event co-sponsor WWF, to showcase the work of the off-grid clean energy sector to deliver the ecosystem of solutions and services needed to achieve universal access to modern energy services by 2030, one of the global goals of the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.
Uganda, one of Sustainable Energy for All’s 14 African priority countries still faces challenges in providing access to energy for its entire population. Some 28 million Ugandans do not have the benefits of the electricity that powers homes, supports education, undergirds delivery of health care services, and supports economic development across commercial, agricultural and industrial sectors.
“Hosting our third anniversary celebrations in Uganda helps to highlight the work being done by so many great organizations within the Energy Access Practitioner Network to deliver energy services effectively, affordably and sustainably to households and communities around the world,” said Richenda Van Leeuwen, Executive Director, Energy Access, UN Foundation. “The gathering also serves as a reminder of the challenges to effectively scaling energy access solutions and the resources required to help achieve the global goal of universal energy access by 2030,” said Van Leeuwen.
Currently with more than 1,700 members in 191 countries, the Energy Access Practitioner Network includes a wide range of energy enterprises from start-ups to large corporations, as well as NGOs, investors and researchers. The network’s approach is technology-agnostic in focusing on the delivery of off-grid and micro-grid energy solutions and services, and includes a range of approaches – from small-scale solar lanterns requiring less than a watt of power, to household-scale solar home systems, from biogas digesters to large community-level solar-wind-diesel hybrid micro-grids.
Energy Access Practitioner Network member companies outlined the ways in which the Network has helped their businesses. SolarNow has installed more than 4,800 solar systems in Uganda, using a unique franchise model to address distribution challenges in Uganda and broadly in the East African region.
“One of the great things about working in the clean energy sector, addressing the needs of off-grid customers, is that practitioners are still willing to share information with others, as they realize everyone benefits from the growth of the sector. The Energy Access Practitioner Network offers an effective platform for the sharing of such information,” said Willem Nolens, Managing Director, SolarNow.
Network member Solar Sister has recruited, trained and mentored women entrepreneurs in Uganda, as well as Nigeria and Tanzania, who have, in turn, provided energy services for more than 115,000 people.
“The Energy Access Practitioner Network is an important partner in our efforts to advocate for gender-inclusive solutions across both the demand and supply side of the energy access value chain. It is a unique platform bringing together energy access practitioners worldwide to share best practices and to help us transition from an era of energy poverty to energy prosperity,” said Neha Misra, Chief Collaboration Officer, Solar Sister.
As it celebrates its third anniversary, the Network announced several initiatives designed to help achieve universal energy access through innovation, knowledge sharing, and partnerships:
- The Network announced its partnership in ‘Beyond the Grid’, an innovative program for decentralized energy under President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative that will help to channel USD 1 billion to off-grid and small-scale solutions in sub-Saharan Africa, delivering electricity to an estimated 20 million households.
- Working with the World Health Organization and UN Women, the Network is leading the first of several phases of an ambitious project to electrify health clinics and reduce maternal and child mortality in five priority countries in sub-Saharan Africa – including Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Uganda.
- The Network has launched its first country affiliate, Sustainable Energy Network Ghana (SENG), hosted through network member KITE, which now has some 120 members delivering off-grid energy services across the country.
- A second country affiliate, the Clean Energy Access Network (CLEAN), will be launched in India later this year in partnership with 9 other founding organizations.
- In a first-of-its-kind global survey released by the Network – Investment Directory 2013 – a range of opportunities were highlighted to fund off-grid energy access, and some $250 million in immediate investment and funding opportunities were showcased from among the network membership.
Energy solutions provided by members of the Network help electrify hospitals in hard-to-reach rural areas, improving maternal mortality outcomes; light up schools and improve educational outcomes for children; light up opportunity through clean reliable energy for households and communities; and – together – help make the difference in countries like Uganda in the effort to reach the goal of “Sustainable Energy for All.”
Phone: +1-202 864 5159
THE ENERGY ACCESS PRACTITIONER NETWORK:
As a part of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, the United Nations Foundation’s Energy Access Practitioner Network promotes universal access to modern energy services. With more than 1,700 members, the Network focuses on decentralized low-carbon household and community-level electrification. It supports innovative financial and business models in predominantly market-based applications that also help address development issues related to income generation, health, agriculture, education, small business, and telecommunications.