February 26, 2015, Sandton, South Africa
The Afribiz Foundation (TAF) and the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP), based at the University of Alaska, announce a strategic partnership for capacitizing indigenous project developers and sponsors, as well as others, in the renewable energy project development ecosystem in Africa. This initiative will serve as a key mechanism for creating a larger pipeline of bankable renewable energy projects that are led by African stakeholders.
The Africa Energy Outlook 2014 estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa’s electricity demand will more than triple in 2040 to 1.3 Terawatt hours (Twh). Meeting this future, and the current, demand is critical to the economic and social development of the region. Improving the capacity of indigenous stakeholders to develop renewable energy projects is a key mechanism to ensure that more projects become bankable and just as important as establishing the right policy environment.
“While there has been significant progress made with investment channels, technical assistance for renewable energy transactions, and transformative policy frameworks, little has been done to capacitize a much greater number of African constituents to drive renewable energy projects to bankability to take advantage of these new mechanisms,” say Lauri Elliott, Executive Director of The Afribiz Foundation. Without a sufficient pipeline of bankable renewable energy projects, some electricity demands will not be met, lessening the opportunity to capitalize on the transformations in the energy sector in terms of economic and social benefit.
“We feel this gap also provides an opportunity to create a framework that would be more inclusive of indigenous participants at all levels and looked for an institutional strategic partner who could support this vision. ACEP is a perfect partner as they have key technical, business, financial, and social expertise from working in both urban and rural settings in Alaska. ACEP‘s collaboration with other organizations on renewable energy projects, in many of Alaska’s multi-ethnic communities, has helped them to radically reduce their reliance on imported diesel fuel for the local, isolated energy grids. In Alaska, and in Africa, effective integration of locally available renewable energy can open transformative economic, education, and human health improvement opportunities,” says Elliott, “We think this experience will be extremely beneficial particularly for indigenous nations and developers/sponsors of small to medium size projects. We will tie this effort in with our African strategic partners, synergizing the expertise and capacity.”
ACEP’s director, Gwen Holdmann, expressed her organization’s strong interest in this transcontinental collaboration. “ACEP is looking forward to this opportunity to learn from one another’s experience – we share similar challenges of high energy costs, remote locations, widespread reliance on local power generation, and challenging operating environments with many parts of the developing world. Affordable energy is a key enabler for healthy communities, but the road to developing successful, sustainable projects can be challenging and long. Renewable energy sources are freely available, but capturing and integrating them can be costly and difficult. We are grateful for the opportunity to offer insights and best practices from Alaska’s experience in community energy systems, particularly hybrid renewables-diesel energy grids,” says Holdmann.
The first output from the strategic partnership is a 40-hour capacity building workshop, Developing and Structuring Bankable Renewable Energy Projects in Africa. It is offered online and face-to-face. The first online cohort is underway; the on-demand version is now available; and the first face-to-face workshop is being held in Johannesburg, South Africa from June 28-July 3, 2015.
The workshop is a part of the Developing & Structuring Bankable Projects in Africa project incubator. For further information, visit https://www.afribiz.org/programs-initiatives/developing-structuring-bankable-projects-in-africa.
VP Operations, South Africa
About The Afribiz Foundation
The Afribiz Foundation (TAF) serves a lead catalyst of people-centric economic ecosystems. It is a member of the Afribiz family of entities, which represent an ecosystem economy, including Afribiz Group, Inc., Afribiz Ventures, Afribiz Trust, Afribiz Accelerators, Afribiz Trading, and Afribiz Intellimedia.