The full-scale impact of the conflict in Tigray is yet to be uncovered. However, it gets concerning for every sensible individual as time goes by. My only hope is that we all reach out to those at risk of starvation and health related emergencies to control and minimize the humanitarian damage.
Among others, this conflict clearly exposes the often lightly-discussed topic: Energy Security not just in Tigray but throughout the country more so in the urban centers. Leaving who takes responsibility to history, I cannot imagine staying in the dark for a quarter of a year after being fully dependent on grid power for almost every livelihood activity. During this testing time in Tigray, in most instances, no power directly translates to no water, no cooking, no grinding mills, no communication, no medication, no public services and many other basic needs. Worse, probably no kerosene or diesel fuel alternatives either due to the transport access limitation. Apparently, no basic light in towns even the dirty one throughout until the utility restored the grid supply. As I write this note, Humera and Welkait areas remain in the dark, and the utility just announced restoring the grid supply to Axum, Shire and the neighboring towns well behind Mekele areas.
As someone who has been working in the transmission, distribution and substation infrastructures, I am equally concerned to the safety and hardship the utility personnels and men in uniform have to go through to bring the badly needed power supply in such a dramatic speed.
After being resistive for energy security calls, Ethiopia realized the vulnerability of its hydro dependent grid when faced with climate induced droughts (happening every now and then), and there has been a relative policy changes to diversify the energy mix through complementary investments of geothermal, wind and solar resources. Yet, the current situation in Tigray is another indicator that the energy security is still at stake and it is in the country's best interest to reform the energy sector further; Putting decentralized/distributed energy solutions at the core.
Solarkiosk will select the most promising African off-grid energy Start-Ups and offer them the following to get funded:
Source: Solar Kiosk
The Universal Energy Facility, a results-based financing facility managed by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), has now opened a new window of financing for mini-grid projects in Benin.
The Benin window of the Universal Energy Facility is funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
As of 28 January 2021, companies seeking results-based finance for mini-grid projects in Benin can apply for pre-qualification to the facility. In Benin, the Universal Energy Facility will disburse grant payments to deliver over 7,000 electricity connections based on a results-based incentive of USD 433 per connection.
The opening of the facility in Benin is the next step in SEforALL’s push for catalysing faster progress on Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) through results-based financing. In October 2020, the facility opened to support mini-grid projects in Sierra Leone and Madagascar.
“A paradigm shift to results-based financing models can help put the world on track to achieve universal electrification and clean cooking access,” said Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy.
The four awardees, chosen from more than 70 project ideas submitted through SCCIF’s first financing window – a competitive call for proposals focused on energy — will implement activities that will benefit nearly 3,500 displaced and host community households:
Implemented by with Power Africa support, SCCIF is a financing mechanism of the Smart Communities Coalition, a network of more than 60 public and private sector organizations co-chaired by Mastercard and USAID that seeks to improve delivery of essential services to forcibly displaced individuals and host community members through energy, connectivity and digital tools. Worldwide, only 10 percent of households in refugee-hosting areas have access to electricity.
“Power Africa aligns its public and private sector resources to drive investment in some of sub-Saharan Africa’s most underserved energy markets,” said Mark Carrato, Power Africa Coordinator. “Our investment in the inaugural window of the SCC Innovation Fund captures the intent of the Power Africa partnership – together, we change lives. I congratulate each of the winners and applaud your work to bring life-changing electricity to these vulnerable communities in a commercially sustainable manner.”
“Globally, the number of displaced people continues to increase, with the majority of the world’s nearly 80 million forcibly displaced people currently hosted in low- and middle-income countries which already struggle to provide services to their populations. Private sector solutions will increasingly be necessary,” said Daniel Busche, EnDev Programme Manager. “The SCC Innovation Fund is designed to de-risk private investments in displacement settings, and for this reason, we are proud to collaborate with the Smart Communities Coalition.”