On 14 December, the AMG-CoP in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) hosted a webinar on Assessing Agricultural Productive Uses of Energy for African Minigrids. This was first in a series of regional learning events focused on analysis of opportunities for agricultural productive uses of energy in mini-grids. The objective of this first session was to introduce the overall context and background of the project, outline the overall approach and methodology, and share some of the initial analysis methodologies that have been developed, including geospatial analysis approaches and estimation of monthly and annual electric load profiles for key agricultural applications.
Project Background and Objectives
Use of advanced energy technologies for agricultural production has multiple benefits including: 1) Intensifying production and reducing land-use pressure on related deforestation and biodiversity loss; 2) Strengthening agricultural income and employment in rural areas and allowing for more production near the home, which has particular value to women; 3) Enabling production of high nutrition and high value crops which tend to require more processing and irrigation supported by distributed renewable power; 4) Improving access to reliable energy sources to support irrigation and other productive uses such as cold storage or transportation of food; 5) Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) and other air pollutant emissions and their resulting impacts on the community and environment; and 6) Beneficial use of food waste products for energy generation.
Within this context, the U.S. Department of State is supporting the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to implement the Clean and Advanced Technologies for Sustainable Landscapes (CTSL) Program in Africa and Southeast Asia. This program seeks to:
- Increase access to advanced, clean, reliable, and affordable energy sources to improve agricultural productivity, food and water security, and enable resilience
- Accelerate progress toward development and economic growth and stability goals
- Increase in-country technical and analytical capacity to support transition to self-reliance
For the last six months this program has been providing technical assistance to three countries in Africa—Zambia, Kenya and Mozambique—to develop methodologies and approaches to assess opportunities for agricultural productive uses of energy to help improve viability of clean energy minigrids. The CTSL is now excited to partner with the Africa LEDS Partnership to odder regional peer learning on this project and the methodologies being developed to a broader network of interested country stakeholders.