renewable energy

Photo of an energy storage system

Opportunities Abound for the Government of Malawi to Attract Investment in RE+Storage Projects

Opportunities Abound for the Government of Malawi to Attract Investment in RE+Storage Projects 1024 512 KM

This blog post was written by Dr David Jacobs and Toby Couture, who supported the LEDS GP with this technical assistance.

View the full report here.

The market for grid-scale battery storage technologies is booming worldwide with the growing awareness of the many benefits and services that batteries can provide.

Many government and utility officials around the world continue to think of battery storage simply as a form of storage that can be “filled up” and “drawn down” as needed in order to adjust to changing patterns of power demand. However, as experience with battery storage systems grows in markets ranging from California and South Australia to India and China, a more multi-faceted view of the role of grid-scale battery storage is emerging.

Battery storage systems can help make the outputs of solar and wind powerplants more predictable and reliable, whilst also providing a wide range of services to the grid, including frequency response, voltage control, and primary and secondary reserve (see figure below).

Figure: Overview of the functions of battery storage (Source: Adapted from IRENA 2020. “Electricity Storage Valuation Framework: Assessing system value and ensuring project viability”, International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi.)

Moreover, battery storage can help reduce curtailment, providing benefits both to renewable energy (RE) producers, as well as to utilities (IRENA, 2019).

A flurry of recent auction results of solar+storage systems shows that the economics of combining renewable energy projects with storage (RE+storage) are now attractive in a growing number of countries around the world.

Recent auction results for RE+storage projects show unsubsidized prices for solar+storage in particular between USD 4-8 cents/kWh, as seen in India’s recent auction for “round the clock” power supply (see Table below) (Gupta, 2021).

Jurisdiction (Year of entry-into-service)Project DetailsPrice ($/kWh)Contract length
India “Round-the-clock” auction (2021-22)400MW firm capacity, including solar, wind, and storageUSD $0.04/kWh25 years
Australia (2017; expanded in 2020)Hornsdale Power Reserve: 315MW of wind power with 130MW/129MWh of battery storageUSD $0.055 – 0.066/kWh10 years
Florida (late 2021)Manatee Energy Storage Center: 409MW of solar PV + 900MWh of battery storageN/A (utility-owned)N/A (utility-owned)
Chile (2021 – 2023)Engie Chile:1500MW of renewables with storage in time-differentiated blocks with solar+storage:USD $0.024/kWh40-year concession agreement
Portugal (2021-2022)483MW of solar PV + storageUSD $0.04/kWh15 years
Israel (2022)168MW of solar PV + storageUSD $0.058/kWh23 years

As the economics continue to improve, some jurisdictions with high and growing shares of variable RE, such as Hawaii, have even announced that all future procurements of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy will be combined with storage (Colthorpe, 2021). While this may not be feasible or necessary for jurisdictions like Malawi, it underscores the scale of the transformation that has taken place in the costs of RE+storage in recent years.

A recent analysis, prepared for the Government of Malawi as part of the support provided by the LEDS GP, provides an overview of the main uses for which the Government of Malawi can procure battery storage systems. The analysis focuses on five main functions, or use cases:

  1. Replacing firm, fossil fuel-based generation capacity
  2. Delivering power during peak hours
  3. Reducing the curtailment of variable renewable energy (VRE) resources
  4. Providing ancillary services
  5. Deferring transmission and/or distribution grid investments

This analysis also highlights some of the key lessons in auction design from which countries like Malawi can draw in order to design and implement their own RE+storage auctions.

While auctions designed for battery storage share several features with regular RE auctions, there are certain aspects that need to be taken into consideration, including establishing clarity over what exactly is being auctioned, what level of availability the RE+storage installations need to provide, and whether any locational or other restrictions apply.

This brief report is intended to help governments like Malawi procure RE+storage projects in the coming years to help meet their overall energy access and climate-related objectives. This way, even relatively small countries with limited grid interconnections with their neighbouring countries can move towards high shares of renewables, thus paving the way for faster and more secure decarbonization of the electricity system in the coming decades.

RESOURCES

WEBINAR: Assessing Agricultural Productive Uses of Energy for African Minigrids: Clean and Advanced Technologies for Sustainable Landscapes Regional Learning

WEBINAR: Assessing Agricultural Productive Uses of Energy for African Minigrids: Clean and Advanced Technologies for Sustainable Landscapes Regional Learning 2762 1324 KM

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. 

View presentations here. You can also watch a recording of the webinar via this link.

New Policy Guidebook: Advancing Markets for Interconnected Renewable Energy Mini-Grids

New Policy Guidebook: Advancing Markets for Interconnected Renewable Energy Mini-Grids 820 616 KM

Renewable energy-based interconnected mini-grids (IMGs) are a technical solution that has the potential to directly contribute to achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7: ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. IMGs can also play a key role in facilitating a “green recovery” during and after the global COVID-19 pandemic.

This guidebook, by authors Uni Lee, Alexander Ochs & Maria van Veldhuizen, summarises a broad range of policy and financial instruments that governments can implement to foster the development of the IMG market, driven by the private sector. They have been divided into five categories: broad strategy and target-setting, policy and regulation, administrative processes, financial instruments, and other supportive measures.

Institutions Involved:

  • SD Strategies
  • Africa LEDS Partnership
  • LEDS Global Partnership

To view and download the guidebook, click here.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Jadon Kelly, Unsplash

Workshop Series: Strengthening the case for Mini-grids in Africa

Workshop Series: Strengthening the case for Mini-grids in Africa 1024 576 aflp

The LEDS GP is pleased to invite you to join the Africa LEDS Partnership virtual Workshop Series on “Strengthening the case for Mini-grids in Africa: Connecting the dots across rural electrification, climate resilience and sustainable development”. 

This is part of a four session virtual workshop series to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing on African mini-grids. 

16 April | 15:30 – 16:30 SAST/ 16:30 – 17:30 EAST 
Session 1
: Introduction to the workshop and 2020 work programme (60 mins).

A private session for AMG-CoP members to catch up, introduce our general work programme (WP) for the year, discuss the current situation, our concept for the workshop, its shift to the virtual space and the planned programme. The AfLP used this opportunity to discuss and consult with members on the current Covid-19 pandemic, its impact on the AfLP work programme for 2020, as well as the emerging regional and country needs. 

16 April | 16:40 – 17:30 SAST/ 17:40 – 18:30 EAST 
Session 2: Making energy access through mini-grids affordable: The role of governments and international climate finance (60 mins).

This session explored the current mini-grid climate finance landscape in Africa and how tapping into available climate finance can strengthen both rural electrification and climate action. We looked at the financing landscape assessment that has been developed by the Finance Working Group, and heard from selected AMG-CoP members, as well as a Climate Fund representative.

Facilitator
Josh Ogada (SouthSouthNorth ) 

Speakers 
Alexia Kelly (Electric Capital) 
Alexander Obiechina (ACOB Lighting) 
Geoff Sinclair (CAMCO Clean Energy)
Alexander Ochs (SD Strategies)

Watch the recording below:

Download the presentations: Introductory Presentation (Josh Ogada); Alexia Kelly Presentation; Geoff Sinclair Presentation.

30 April | 15:30 – 17:00 SAST/ 16:30 – 18:00 EAST
Session 3: Exploring the rural electrification – climate resilience – sustainable development nexus (90 mins).

This session assessed the role of mini-grids in the current NDCs of Sub-Saharan African governments and discussed how a stronger focus on mini-grid-based rural electrification can increase climate ambition while delivering multiple sustainable development co-benefits. The session also delved into the co-benefits of mini-grid-based rural electrification, we heard from NREL about the landscape assessment of mini-grids in NDCs, in addition to perspectives from the ground on the integration of electrification, sustainable development and climate action at project level.

Host
Josh Ogada (SouthSouthNorth ) 

Speakers 
Alexander Ochs (SD Strategies) 
Franz Kottulinsky (Rift Valley)
Ieva Indriunaite (SD Strategies)
Dr Victor Osu (Rural Electrification Agency Nigeria)

Watch the recording below:

The Q&A list can be downloaded here.

Download the presentations: Josh and Alex’s combined slides; Franz Kottulinsky presentation; Ieva Indriunaite presentation

7 May | 15:30 – 17:00 SAST/ 16:30 – 18:00 EAST
Session 4: Exploring the rural electrification – climate resilience – sustainable development nexus (90 mins).

A private session for the AMG-CoP members to discuss their key take-aways from the virtual workshop and share experiences from their countries on how integrated rural electrification-climate-sustainable development planning can be put into practice. The session will conclude with a joint discussion on the next milestones for the CoP and a member survey of key topics of interest for their respective countries and regions.

This is a private session for AMG-CoP members only 

Facilitator
Josh Ogada (SouthSouthNorth ) 

Speakers 
Ieva Indriunaite (SD Strategies) 
Alexia Kelly (Electric Capital) 
Alexander Ochs (SD Strategies) 
Tim Reber (NREL) 
Additional Speakers and contributors TBC 

AMG-CoP members: You will receive a separate invite for the closed Sessions. However please do register for the open sessions using the links provided above

About: 
The African Mini-Grid Community of Practice (AMG-CoP) – a collaborative network of 16 African country governments – has identified mini-grids as a central element of developing a decarbonised, climate-resilient energy services sector for the nearly 600 million people across Africa who lack access to affordable, safe and clean energy. Mini-grids answer the call for solutions that deliver climate change mitigation and resilience, while also advancing economic and social development benefits. In 2020, governments around the world are required to submit their revised Nationally Determined Contribution strategies for reducing global carbon emissions. This creates a unique opportunity to strengthen the rural electrification – climate resilience – sustainable development nexus. 

Starting 16 April 2020, the AMG-CoP will convene a virtual 4-session workshop for its members and the broader community of energy access practitioners. This unique event will bring together (in the virtual space) African government leaders, climate finance experts, financial institutions and investors, as well as mini-grid developers and operators. The virtual workshop will assess the role of mini-grids in the current NDCs of Sub-Saharan African governments, discuss how a stronger focus on mini-grid-based rural electrification can increase climate ambition while delivering multiple sustainable development co-benefits, and identify the role of governments and international climate finance in this regard. 

This workshop will explore questions such as: 
• How can the sustainable development objectives of electrification, economic development and climate change mitigation and resilience be more effectively integrated? 
• How can energy access in Africa be advanced through climate finance? 
• How can public-private partnerships deliver enhanced electrification and other key community benefits, while also contributing to a stronger bottom line (economic performance) and more attractive investment environment for the private sector? 


The workshop will be co-convened by the Africa LEDS Partnership (AfLP) as well as the Finance Working Group and the Energy Working Group of the Low Emissions Development Strategies Global Partnership (LEDS GP) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). 

Photo credit: bbc.com

Watch this Webinar: Powering Jobs

Watch this Webinar: Powering Jobs 607 384 aflp

Watch this Webinar: Powering Jobs

The off-grid renewable energy industry not only has the potential to connect close to one billion people to clean energy sources and unlock socio-economic potential in so doing, but is also expected to create approximately 4.5 million jobs globally by 2030. Job creation is critical, especially at a time when unemployment has reached record highs across the African continent. To create this magnitude of job opportunities, informed policy interventions are needed. We must better understand the skills required for delivering energy access and leveraging this access for productivity.

In this webinar, Rebekah Shirley from Power for All takes us through the findings from the Powering Jobs campaign, which analyses the energy workforce of the future.

This webinar took place on Tuesday, 6 October 2019.

Speaker biography

Named Africa Utility Week’s 2018 Outstanding Young Leader in Energy, Dr. Rebekah Shirley is the Chief Research Officer at Power for All, where she works to improve access to high-quality data and insights for the energy sector. Her work explores models for integrated energy planning and opportunities for catalyzing decentralized energy markets in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Rebekah earned her PhD from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley, where she also obtained her MSc in Civil Engineering. She has over 11 years of experience in research, analysis and knowledge management. Rebekah is a University of California Chancellor’s Fellow and has won grants from institutions such as the Department of Energy, the Mott Foundation, and the Rainforest Foundation. She currently resides in Nairobi, Kenya, where she is a Visiting Research Fellow at Strathmore University.

Download Rebekah’s presentation