OFID and REEEP to fund rural energy access in Cambodia, Ethiopia and Tanzania

27-02-2012, Vienna, Austria

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) announced today that it will fund three additional projects to widen energy access and alleviate poverty in least developed countries, made possible by 488,768 in support from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).

Chosen from more than 50 proposals submitted in the OFID-REEEP funding cycle, these projects were all selected for their innovative thinking, solid financial backing, and scale-up potential.

Martin Hiller, Director General of REEEP (left) and Suleiman J. Al-Herbish, Director-General of OFID shake hands at the ceremony announcing OFID's support for three new projects to tackle energy poverty.

In Cambodia, where some 200 rural mini-grids are fuelled exclusively by diesel, two mini-grids will be upgraded to hybrid diesel-renewable energy systems to reduce generation costs and make access to electricity much more affordable.  In the village of Chamback, a hybrid solar PV-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 today. In the village of Charchuck, a biomass gasifier will be added to the local mini-grid, powering 500 households, a local hospital and 4 phone relay stations around the clock; a vast improvement on the current situation where just 400 households have 8 hours of electricity a day.  These pilots are being implemented by Innovation Energie Développement (IED) in close collaboration with the Cambodian Ministry of Mining Industry and Energy (MIME).

In Ethiopia, where the electricity access rate is around 2% in rural areas, most people depend on kerosene for lighting and open fires for cooking. This project will develop 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. Setting up these sustainable businesses will create a variety of local jobs while increasing productivity and reducing indoor air pollution and serious health issues associated with kerosene fumes.

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.  In parallel, four lodges will be built in the same village, for use by tourists visiting the nearby Gombe National Park, attracting new tourism revenue to the area.

“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 says: "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.”