The second Micro-Grid Academy Young Talent of the Year Award today acknowledged energy innovation from across Africa that can accelerate the green transition and improve economic opportunities.
Backed by the RES4Africa Foundation, Enel Green Power and the European Investment Bank the yearly competition encourages young energy entrepreneurs from across the continent to develop projects that expand enegy access, enable greater use of renewable eneryg and accelerate sustainability.
Young finalists from across West, East and Southern Africa presented their innovative ideas to expert judges from the RES4Africa Foundation, Enel Green Power and the European Investment Bank.
The 2021 edition of the Micro-Grid Academy Young Talent of the Year Award has arrived to its final steps. Today, the eight young African innovators selected as finalists out of nearly 50 applicants presented to the international public their disruptive projects for the first time. The presentation took place during the event Public Competition for the MGA Young Talent of the Year 2021 finalists, and represents a preparatory step for the announcement of the three winners, that will be held the 28th of September in the framework of the Precop26.
The three entities strongly believe that renewables and innovation will be the response to the climate changes and energy deficit that Africa faces. In this deeply needed path towards its just energy transition, the continent can and must rely on one of its most precious resources : its youth. With this joint initiative, RES4Africa, Enel Green Power and the European Investment Bank put together their efforts to support those young people from all Africa countries who are committed and motivate to create a real change in their communities.
These are the finalists identified by the selection committee, who publicly presented their project ideas and among which there are the three future winners:
• Adekoyejo Ifeoluwapo Kuye, 26 years old from Nigeria, introduced a project focused on a sustainable cold chain for food;
• Alex Makalliwa, 31 from Kenya, presented his initiative of electrical tricycles for heavy loads in Nairobi;
• Benson Kibiti, 34 also from Kenya, performed an overview on an PV-powered trolley for heating up food and providing power;
• Lucas Filipe Tamele Junior, 24 from Mozambique, focused on waste management, biofertilizers and biogas;
• Matjaka Ketsi from Lesotho is 28, and presented an initiative aiming at building solar-powered Learning Centres for rural communities;
• Shedrack Charles Mkwepu is instead 26 and comes from Tanzania: he designed a system that allows farmers to control irrigation and other soil parametres from a mobile phone;
• Carol Ofafa, 32 from Kenya, proposed the installation of a PV system for health facilities;
• Kumbuso Joshua Nyoni, 34 from Zambia, envision an integrated Water-Food-Energy model for PV power and a water pumping system.
The webinar benefitted from the presence of Salvatore Bernabei, President of RES4Africa and Head of Enel Global Power Generation, as well as of Maria Shaw Barragan, Director of Lending in Africa, Caribbean, Pacific, Asia and Latin America, European Investment Bank. They introduced the objectives of the MGA Young Talent of the Year Award, while reflecting upon youth’s impact on the just energy transition.
Moreover, after the finalists’ presentation, a final feedback was provided, with closing remarks, by Roberto Vigotti, Secretary General at RES4Africa Foundation, Carmelo Cocuzza, Head of Corporates Unit, European Investment Bank, and Silvia Piana, Head of Regulatory Affairs Africa, Asia and Australia Area at Enel Green Power.
“The ability to generate innovation will be a fundamental driver to pave the way for a transformation that goes well beyond the dynamic of the Energy sector” commented Salvatore Bernabei “We are here give voice and visibility to young talents, innovators, entrepreneurs promoting the best innovative ideas to stimulate socio-economic progress from within and free the creativity of the younger generations in designing the Africa of tomorrow”.
“Increasing energy access and enabling more sustainable energy use is crucial to unlock opportunities for communities across Africa. The finalists in this year’s Micro-Grid Academy Young Talent Awards all demonstrate inspirational and innovative thinking that combined world-class energy expertise with unparalleled understanding of local energy needs and all deserve to win. The European Investment Bank is pleased to join RES4Africa and Enel Green Power to support talented young innovators and encourage them to become green energy leaders of the future.” said Maria Shaw-Barragan, European Investment Bank Director for Global Partners.
RES4Africa Foundation (Renewable Energy Solutions for Africa) envisions the sustainable transformation of Africa’s electricity systems to ensure reliable and affordable electricity access for all, enabling the continent to achieve its full, resilient, inclusive and sustainable development. The Foundation’s mission is to create favourable conditions for scaling up investments in clean energy technologies to accelerate the continent’s just energy transition and transformation.
Lack of Investment in Clean Energy Compromising Fight Against Climate Change and Poverty
New research highlights a chronic lack of finance that will leave billions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia without electricity or clean cooking by 2030; Urgent action to accelerate investment in clean energy for developing countries is needed from global leaders assembling at COP26 to ensure a just energy transition.
This year’s Energizing Finance research series – developed by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) in partnership with Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) and Dalberg Advisors – shows the world is falling perilously short of the investment required to achieve energy access for all by 2030 for the seventh consecutive year.
In fact, tracked finance for electricity in the 20 countries that make up 80 percent of the world’s population without electricity – the high-impact countries – declined by 27 percent in 2019, the year before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The economic strain caused by Covid-19 is expected to have caused even further reductions in energy access investment in 2020 and 2021.
Energizing Finance: Understanding the Landscape 2021, one of two reports released under the series, finds committed finance for residential electricity access fell to USD 12.9 billion in 2019 (from USD 16.1 billion in 2018) in the 20 countries. This is less than one-third of the USD 41 billion estimated annual investment needed globally to attain universal electricity access from 2019 to 2030.
Meanwhile, there is an abysmal amount of finance for clean cooking. Despite polluting cooking fuels causing millions of premature deaths each year and being the second largest contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide, only USD 133.5 million in finance for clean cooking solutions was tracked in 2019. This is nowhere near the estimated USD 4.5 billion in annual investment required to achieve universal access to clean cooking (accounting only for clean cookstove costs).
These findings have been released just ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, where global leaders will focus on how to spark meaningful progress on fighting climate change. As part of this, they will need to consider how to reduce global emissions from the energy sector while also increasing energy access in developing countries to support their economic development.
“We are at a critical moment in the energy-climate conversation,” said Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy. “What is clear is that the path to net zero can only happen with a just and equitable energy transition that provides access to clean and affordable energy to the 759 million people who have no electricity access and 2.6 billion people who lack access to clean cooking solutions. This requires resources to mitigate climate change and create new opportunities to drive economic development and enable people everywhere to thrive. Energizing Finance provides an evidence base of current energy finance commitments and the finance countries require to meet SDG7 energy targets.”
In 2018, 50 percent of total electricity finance flowed to grid-connected fossil fuels in the high-impact countries compared to 25 percent in 2019. While this is a positive trend for the climate, tracked investment in off-grid and mini-grid technology also declined and represented only 0.9 percent of finance tracked to electricity.
Dr. Barbara Buchner, Global Managing Director at CPI, who partnered with SEforALL on Energizing Finance: Understanding the Landscape 2021, said: “Achieving both the Paris Agreement and universal energy access requires far greater investment in grid-connected renewables and off-grid and mini-grid solutions than what has been tracked in Energizing Finance. These solutions are essential to helping high-impact countries develop their economies without a reliance on fossil fuels.”
To better illuminate the challenges high-impact countries face, the second publication in the series, Energizing Finance: Taking the Pulse 2021, offers a detailed look at the estimated volume and type of finance needed by enterprises and customers to achieve universal energy access for both electricity and clean cooking by 2030 in Mozambique, Ghana and Vietnam. Importantly, it illustrates the energy affordability challenges people face in these countries and the need for financial support for consumers, such as subsidies.
The report finds that providing access to clean fuels and technologies, i.e. modern energy cooking solutions, in Ghana, Mozambique and Vietnam will cost a total of USD 37-48 billion by 2030; 70 percent of which will be for fuels (e.g., LPG, ethanol and electricity). A more achievable scenario would be for all three countries to deliver universal access to improved cookstoves at a total cost of USD 1.05 billion by 2030.
“Ghana, Mozambique and Vietnam each have unique challenges to achieving universal access to electricity and clean cooking,” said Aly-Khan Jamal, Partner at Dalberg Advisors, who partnered with SEforALL on Energizing Finance: Taking the Pulse 2021. “This research digs deep into these national contexts to identify solutions that can make Sustainable Development Goal 7 a reality.”
Providing results-based financing for energy project developers and exploring policies that facilitate demand-side subsidy support and reduce taxes on solar home systems are among several policy recommendations presented for Ghana, Mozambique and Vietnam.
Energizing Finance also advocates for increased innovation in financial instruments to reach the scale of finance needed for universal clean cooking access; for integration of electricity access, cooking access and climate change strategies; and for national governments, bilateral donors, philanthropies, and DFIs to all increase their efforts to mobilize commercial capital to Sub-Saharan African countries.
Global Energy Crisis is a Wake-up Call for Investors: deVere CEO
The deepening global energy crisis underscores for investors the undeniable value, necessity and rewards of sustainable investing, says the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory, asset management and fintech organisations.
The observation from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, which has $12bn under advisement, comes as consumers around the world face surging energy prices as demand rises as economies recover following the pandemic.
Mr Green notes: “The global energy crunch triggered by the world economy rebounding from the pandemic faster than was anticipated is impacting households and businesses across the world.
“From ongoing and increasing blackouts in China and India, to mass panic-buying in the UK and Europe, and urgent calls from the U.S. for OPEC nations to up oil production as fears continue to grow, the crisis is going to get a lot worse as the northern hemisphere moves into winter when energy demand is even greater.”
He continues: “The astronomical price surges are now in danger of pushing back the critical transition towards cleaner energy sources.
“However, savvy investors will be taking a wider, longer-term look at the situation.
“They will see that the current energy crisis is a combination of factors – including ongoing geopolitical tensions to which there are no quick fixes, and infrastructure and supply issues – and that these problems are not going away.
“It will bring into sharp focus that rather than staying with fossil fuels, the longer-term answer to this and future energy crunches is ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing.
“They will be moving quickly to have an early advantage, foreseeing the undeniable value, necessity and rewards of sustainable investing.”
The ESG umbrella term covers three main factors. E is for the environment and includes issues such as climate change policies, carbon footprint and use of renewable energies. S is for social and includes workers’ rights and protections. Finally, G is for governance and includes diversity of the board and corporate transparency.
In June 2020, around 26% of deVere clients around the world were eyeing exposure, or already had exposure, to ESG investments. This has now increased to 44% over the past 12 months.
This trend is set to gain further momentum, says Nigel Green, with three key factors pushing the movement.
“First, governments and regulators are becoming increasingly supportive of ESG criteria which boosts investor confidence. For instance, despite recent alarm over energy prices, the United States is putting climate concerns temporarily on the back burner, yet the Biden Administration is overall taking a tougher approach on the use of fossil fuels and is promising swift action to tackle climate change.
“Additionally, the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S.’s financial regulator, Gary Gensler, is a proponent and is likely to strengthen investment and disclosure rules to help the U.S. catch up with Europe.
“Second, as millennials who are more likely to seek responsible investment options, become the major beneficiaries of the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth—an estimated $30 trillion in the next few years—we can expect both retail and institutional investors to continue to pile into ESG.
“And third, the pandemic has focused minds on the fact that the health of our planet directly affects human health which, in turn, affects the way we all live and work.
“What is perhaps more impressive is that those investments with robust ESG credentials are continuing to outperform the market and experience lower levels of volatility.”
deVere has recently highlighted its own commitment to back ESG values by being one of 18 founding signatories of the UN-backed Net Zero initiative, the international alliance of powerhouse global finance companies that will help accelerate the transition to a net zero financial system.
The membership means the organisation is committed to aligning all relevant products and services to achieve net zero greenhouse gases by 2050 and to set meaningful interim targets for 2025. These commitments are in addition to the members setting Science Based Targets to reduce operational emissions in line with limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Centigrade.
The deVere CEO concludes: “It’s becoming increasingly clear that the best way and most sustainable way to solve this and future energy crises is to accelerate the transition towards cleaner power.
“Investors, keen to get ahead of the curve as well as earn profits with purpose, will be more keenly seeking out the opportunities as the world scrabbles to mitigate the environmental, economic and social fallout of the current situation – a situation which is likely to be a constant risk.”
Ikeja Electric Introduces SingleView For Prepaid Meter Management
In line with its ‘customer first; technology now’ mantra, Ikeja Electric Plc (IE), has announced the introduction of Singleview, an interactive platform designed to enable prepaid meter customers to access their vending pattern and consumption.
At the launch of Singleview at its Headquarters in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos on Friday, October 8, 2021, Ikeja Electric explained that the platform serves as a major touchpoint where prepaid meter customers can access personal information such as energy vending records, consumption history, month-on-month energy consumption, account number, account status, tariff class and rates.
The Singleview platform also enables customers to make energy payments, check energy consumption and balance, lodge service inquiries, requests, or complaints and the Business Unit and Undertaking Office covering their location will respond promptly.
Speaking on Singleview, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Folake Soetan, noted that as a customer-centric organization, Ikeja Electric is always forward-thinking, innovative and committed to its customers in order to enhance their experience. This solution offers convenience and prompt service. According to her, “with Singleview, we have further given them power in their hands”.
She noted that the platform will enable customers to access the necessary information with ease. With the ability to track and understand their consumption and vending patterns, they are able to plan their energy need efficiently.
SinglevIew is targeted at only prepaid meter customers within Ikeja Electric network. Customers can use it by logging into www.ikejaelectric.com/single-view to learn more about the solution and register with their meter number.
The company noted that the creation of the SingleView platform is a testament that the Management and Staff of Ikeja Electric continuously yearn to deliver quality services and ensure direct access to it through various channels in line with its mantra “Customer first; Technology now.”
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