The renewable energy partnership programme was established in order to address the energy problems of the Horn of Africa. Especially in rural areas, there is a large dependence on biomass to satisfy the energy needs. Fuel wood, crop residues, charcoal, kerosene and dung are the popular choices to facilitate cooking and lighting in these areas. Houses are scattered across the landscape and this makes connection to the electricity grid a herculean task, not likely to be accomplished within the coming years. As a result, lack of access to affordable energy for households directly contributes to the depletion of natural resources, environmental degradation and health risks due to indoor pollution.
The Energy Programme focusses on the promotion and development of (locally available) alternatives, such as energy from renewable sources, waste-to-energy systems and energy efficient technologies. Through small and large scale project using locally available resources, such as plant oil from jatropha seeds or briquettes from coffee husk, alternatives to the default energy sources are explored and implemented. Energy efficient technologies are used as a first step to mitigating the overdependence on biomass.
Sustainability of projects is an important part. Where possible, a commercial approach is adopted, such that after a project is phased out, the established value chain can continue to function independently. Sustainability also includes providing training to producers and end-users, networking with local and international partners (for example NGOs, CBOs, MFIs and governments) and business development. In addition, an effort is made to access carbon credits for energy projects.
- EU Energy Facility project: An Integrated Approach to Meet Rural Household Energy Needs of Ethiopia
- Repi Landfill
- Dilla Briquette Factory
- To promote and develop (locally available) alternatives to biomass as a primary energy source
- To mitigate the effects of overdependence on biomass, such as environmental degradation, depletion of natural resources and health risks (due to indoor combustion)
There have been several achievements within the Energy Programme. Below is an overview of past and active projects and involvements:
- In 2009, a workshop was organized involving over 50 representatives from 7 countries to promote the introduction of and to discuss the challenges and opportunities related to Integrated Sustainable Solar Cooking.
- The Integrated Sustainable Energy Development programme addressed the development and promotion of alternative renewable energy sources and energy efficient technologies for household and productive uses in rural, peri-urban and urban areas. It sought to provide integrated sustainable energy options for cooking, lighting, heating and mobile charging, and water pumps for irrigation and drinking.
- HoA-REC has also engaged with private sector companies to develop plant oil cookers as part of corporate social responsibility programmes.
- Under the waste to energy area, from 2008, HoA-REC provided financial support to the demonstration phase of the Ethiopian National Bio-gas Programme. This programme brought together the Ethiopian Rural Energy Development and Promotion Centre and SNV, a Dutch development organisation, to develop and implement activities supporting the training of trainers in the construction and operation of domestic biogas plants which provide energy for cooking and lighting.
- HoA-REC also engaged with the Addis Ababa City government to oversee the extraction of gas from the Repi Landfill, power generation and carbon benefit for the city of Addis Ababa. Repi is the largest and the oldest open landfill site in Ethiopia, and the closure of the site is on progress in a socially, economically and environmentally friendly way. See also The Repi Landfill project page.
- Networking activities included initiating and jointly organising a platform for information exchange and networking in the Ethiopian energy sector called Talk Energy Ahead with GIZ, SNV and Forum for the Environment was initiated by HoA-REC. Meetings were organised on a monthly basis, with at least 15 rounds of meetings held by June 2011. Memoranda of understanding were also signed with other non-governmental organisations and government agencies for example to coordinate specific activities or develop modern city waste management systems.
- The renewable energy programme, in partnership with other organisations including network members, successfully won a project with the EU Energy Fund worth over 3 million Euros in a highly competitive process. This project entitled “Integrated Approach to Meet Rural Household Energy Needs of Ethiopia” will run for the next four years and will develop renewable energy technologies that will benefit 10,000 households in accessing with efficient cooking stoves and solar lighting through establishing 20 renewable energy centres in six Weredas in Ethiopia that are not connected to the electricity grid. See also The EUEF project page.