[SE23-ENE] How Can Clean Energy-Based Innovations Boost Incomes in the Global South?

DAY 2 – Thursday 28 June – 14:20-15:50


Swiss Tech | Room 3C | Level Garden 


Session Leader
Abhishek Jain
Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW)
e-mail address : abhishek.jain@ceew.in
Abhishek Jain is an expert on energy access, working as Senior Programme Lead at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, an independent not-for-profit policy think-tank based in New Delhi. He leads the Council’s research on energy access for households, community services and productive use, with a focus on technology policy and innovation. Mr Jain has led the largest energy access survey of-its-kind in India, ACCESS. He has also conducted pioneering evaluations of various national programmes on energy access.
He frequently advices various national and state governments on issues of rural electrification and cooking energy access. He regularly speaks at various national and international forums, and writes in major national newspapers. He attended Tech4Dev 2014 and contributed a chapter for the Springer book towards conference proceedings.
Lucy Kathleen Stevens
Practical Action, United Kingdom
e-mail address: Lucy.Stevens@practicalaction.org.uk
Dr Lucy Stevens is the Senior Policy Adviser for Energy Access at Practical Action in the UK, where she has worked since 2002. She leads Practical Action’s policy and evidence strategies and in particular heads the team producing our flagship ‘Poor People’s Energy Outlook’ publication and associated briefing series. She is a geographer and social scientist by training, educated at Oxford and Sussex Universities, and has worked on both programme implementation and policy issues in areas of energy access and urban water and sanitation.
Over the last decade, clean energy innovations have significantly transformed the access to electricity and lighting for millions of households in Global South. However, we witness little impact of clean energy innovations on productive activities supporting income for the deprived communities. Severe lack of products and consequently customers, not merely indicate a major challenge, but also highlight a significant untapped opportunity.
Solar-powered sewing machines, milk-chillers, milking machines, pottery wheels, weaving machines, solar pesticide sprayers, biomass-based co-generation for energizing enterprises in rural areas, are some of the many possibilities which have started transforming lives in rural areas deprived of energy access – by either improving productivity, product value, reducing inputs costs, or reducing drudgery.
However, mapping the ecosystem for product and customer development highlights various gaps across the value chain of energy innovations for productive use. These range from lack of risk-free capital for prototyping, to challenges of technology transfer, to inadequate market research capacity, to poor support for pilot and post-pilot stages, to gaps in end-consumer financing, among many others. The biggest challenge among all is the sheer apathy of innovators, impact investors and policymakers to look at this potential opportunity of uplifting deprived communities across the world by boosting local economies. Despite such challenges, there are a few examples to learn from and reflect on – one such is the deployment of more than 100,000 solar pumps for irrigation in India.
The session aims to bring forward and weave-in views from each of the key stakeholders, policymaker, entrepreneur, innovator, investor and channel partner, to find-out potential pathways to unlock the potential of this sector through south-south and south-north collaborations.
Panelists and Abstracts
Energy Access: Mini-grid case study Changombe/Dongo, Tanzania – A Holistic Solution for Transforming Rural Village Economics
Daniel Becker1, Stine Carlé2
1Rafiki Power, E.ON Off Grid Solutions GmbH, Düsseldorf, Germany
2Rafiki Power, E.ON Off Grid Solutions GmbH, Düsseldorf, Germany
Presenting author’s email address: daniel.becker2@eon.com
Biography of Presenting Author: Daniel Becker has more than ten years of experience in finance, investments, and renewable energy. He holds a BSC in International Business and an MSC in Finance & Investments. In 2013, he founded the company Rafiki Power. The company operates as a mini-grid developer and operator in Tanzania providing clean and affordable energy as well as value added services to people and businesses without access to the national grid.
Abstract: Simply providing electricity to rural communities is insufficient. This case study shows in the concrete case of electrification in Changombe/Dongo in Tanzania, that electricity can only be one aspect of a successful energy business model in Africa to create a sustainable and ultimately profitable business model. To create this the mini-grids that Rafiki Power builds and operates are created as an energy service platform which enables finance, education and productive products. These enable customers in the villages to grow economically which in turn drive future revenue growth.
Harnessing the Sun: Malawi’s solar future
Hyton Lefu1, John Magrath2
1Oxfam Malawi, Malawi
2Oxfam GB, UK
Presenting author’s email address: Hlefu@oxfam.org.uk
Biography of Presenting Author: Hyton Lefu is the Livelihoods and Resilience Programme Coordinator at Oxfam Malawi.
Abstract: This abstract analyses the experience of a productive use of energy project in rural Malawi, in the context of severe drought. The project aimed at demonstrating how access to solar energy could increase incomes of women small-scale farmers through higher productivity, value-addition, and enterprise development – if the right conditions are put in place.
Solar Pumps for Irrigation Access in Ethiopia: Barriers to Diffusion and Suitable Business Models
Shalu Agrawal1, Yacob Mulugetta1
1University College London, London, United Kingdom
Presenting author’s email address: shaluagrawal.in@gmail.com
Biography of Presenting Author: Shalu Agrawal works as India-Research Associate with Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy at John Hopkins SAIS. She recently graduated in Economics and Policy of Energy and Environment from University College London, on UK government’s Chevening Scholarship. She also holds a BTech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Roorkee. For three years, she worked as a policy research at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water on issues concerning deployment strategies for renewable technologies, rural energy access and sustainable energy transition.
Abstract: Agriculture employs 1.3 billion people worldwide and its development is central to income growth in Global South. Solar pumps offer opportunity for expanding irrigation access, a critical pillar of agricultural development, but their dissemination in most countries has been slow. By looking at Ethiopia as a case study, this study investigated the factors behind slow diffusion of solar pumps and the role of different business models in the diffusion process.
Based on semi-structured interviews with 21 key informants, the study identified the key supply and demand-side barriers and argues for proactive policy support for facilitating technology availability in Ethiopian market and measures for demand stimulation. It also discusses how different business models could cater to varied customer segments. But given the existing barriers, these business models are unlikely to diffuse themselves and would require customised financial, technical and institutional support, besides participation of local intermediaries for last mile adoption.