By Kari Williamson
The funding has been made possible with US$488,768 in support from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), and the rural clean energy projects were chosen from more than 50 proposals submitted in the OFID-REEEP funding cycle.
“The three selected projects clearly emphasize OFID’s increasing commitment to bring energy to the poor,” says Suleiman J. Al-Herbish, Director-General of OFID, “and they also illustrate REEEP’s ability to identify clean energy projects in least developed countries that are both income-generating and self-sustaining. These are important considerations for us.”
Martin Hiller, Director General of REEEP adds: "The fact that OFID are trusting REEEP with the identification and oversight of projects that address energy poverty is a great vote of confidence. The selected initiatives are all what you could call ‘turning point projects’; ones that enjoy strong support on the ground and have a great potential for up-scaling. Funding them lays the groundwork for what we hope will be a long-term partnership between OFID and REEEP.”
In Cambodia, where some 200 rural mini-grids are fuelled by diesel, two mini-grids will be upgraded to hybrid diesel and renewable energy systems.
In the village of Chamback, a hybrid solar photovoltaic (PV) and diesel system will provide 24-hour service to 1000 households who currently only have 10-14 hours of electricity per day, and bring service to an additional 600 households without any access.
In the village of Charchuck, a biomass gasifier will be added to the local mini-grid, powering 500 households, a local hospital and four phone relay stations. Currently only 400 households have 8 hours of electricity a day.
The clean energy pilots are being implemented by Innovation Energie Développement (IED) in close collaboration with Cambodian Ministry of Mining Industry and Energy (MIME) and the Electricity Authority of Cambodia (EAC).
In Ethiopia, where the electricity access rate is around 2% in rural areas, the funding will enable local cooperatives in two southern off-grid rural districts to provide and to finance energy-efficient stoves and solar-powered lights.
The cooperatives will be trained by WorldVision and government agencies in bookkeeping, technology repair and stove production, creating local jobs.
In Tanzania, where a similarly small proportion of the rural population has access to electricity, a community utility will be established in the village of Mwamgongo on Lake Tanganyika, as a replicable pilot unit.
AEE – Institute for Sustainable Technologies is behind this initiative which will provide electricity and solar thermal energy, as well as sustainable water and sanitation services.
Jobs will be created for local people in maintaining and operating the facility.