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PUE working group meeting 22 February 2024

Update on the HSFG

This meeting of the working group on PUE continues the discussion on PUE in Uganda that was started in our last meeting in November.
Wim explained the agenda of the meeting and he again requested members to send him information on PUE in Uganda for inclusion in the overview he is preparing. Any (link to) reports and other publications, descriptions of projects and programmes and information on any coordinating activity (incl. scope and contact details) is welcome.

Wim reminded members on the upcoming HSFG plenary meeting, planned for Thursday March 21st.

Please find Wim's presentation here.

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GET.invest Market Insight Package on Uganda

Divya Balakrishna of GET.invest explained about their Market Insight packages in general and the Uganda package specifically.
After an introduction of the GET.invest programme, Divya explained about the Market Insight packages they developed as part of their market information mandate (starting at 3:30 of the recording).
Each market insight package consists of a developer guide and two model business cases. The developer guide is basically an encyclopaedia of all the information one would need to either set up a business in the sector or to understand what the different stakeholders that you want to collaborate with and to understand what are the different innovators and business models out there.
All packages are available at the GET.invest website.

The Market Insight Package for Uganda looks at renewable energy cooling and processing for the food industry.
The developer guide is like a manual for the private sector on how to set up a business and includes overviews of market barriers, market players, financiers, rules and regulations, market size, etc.
The guide identified the following areas that could quite extensively catalyse or accelerate the growth in the sector:

  • Increased availability of concessional debt, equity, grants and local sources of capital.
  • Enabling smallholder farmers through increased participation of SACCOs for improving affordability.
  • Improving internal financial management capacity of local off grid and PUE companies to meet investor and lender requirements.

The model business cases for Uganda looked at

  1. Standalone Solar Cold Storage Business: selling and renting space in solar powered containerized cold storage units comparing direct (cash) sales versus Pay As YouStore (PAYS).
    It concluded that the PAYS opportunity is more attractive due to continuously generated cashflows. However, under both models, the company will require grant funding, to be viable as cold storage for local farmers. It also concluded that renewable energy cold storage can dramatically change the economics for smallholder farmers and fisherfolk, but the choice of business model is critical.
  2. Fish Cooling Under the KeyMaker Model: Mini grid developer additionally produces and sells ice to local fishing industry comparing direct (cash) sales versus the KeyMaker Model (KMM). It concluded that the KMM opportunity is very attractive, however, it is vulnerable to multiple factors (minimum amount of produce processed, cost of produce etc.). Predictable power demand and stable revenues from PUE users make mini grids more commercially viable.

In the following discussion (starting at 15:15 in the recordings) collaboration with other initiatives was discussed, the impact of tax reduction and how M&E is typically been done for PUE projects.

Update from GOGLA

Carlos Sordo of GOGLA updated the meeting on recent activities:

  • The next Global Off-Grid Solar Forum and Expo will take place in Nairobi second week of October and will include substantial attention to PUE
  • GOGLA recently signed partnership agreement between USEA on PURE specifically and they are jointly recruiting an officer in Kampala who will work on PURE data gathering and convening (i.e., convening of 4 PURE private sector working groups every year).
  • GOGLA will be working with government stakeholders to see whether the current tax exemption for solar irrigation can be extended to cooling devices.
  • GOGLA will be presenting at the high-level EU-Ugandan Business Forum on 5-8 March on PURE and participating in the TEA Forum mid-March.
  • GOGLA has been invited by MEMD to the ongoing conversation on the development of a PURE strategy.
  • The Community of Champion will focus this year on PUE through a series of webinars and an in-person meeting at the sides of the GOGLA forum in Nairobi in October.
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Additional resources:

website of the Uganda - EU Business forum

Update on Power for All

Brian Kawuma of Power for All updated the meeting on their recent activities:

  • In a recent meeting with the Minister of State for Fisheries in Uganda, Power for All presented a policy brief on the use of solar fishing lights, but also lobbied for a lift of the ban on using those lights for fishing. This was well received by the Minister.
  • Power for All is carrying out their Powering Job census. Their main focus will be on the skills gap in the dairy sector, particularly for women (both at technician and entrepreneur level).
  • Together with CLASP Power for All is looking at PUE in the dairy sector in Uganda, in Kenya in the French beans sector and cassava in Nigeria to assess whether PUE is either displacing jobs or creating new ones. The resulting report is expected early April.

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USAID / Power Africa update

Update by Oscar Ankunda of USAID / Power Africa: They have done research on how improving energy access is impacting on woman owned businesses and are providing support for the uptake of energy efficient appliances for PUE.
They are also working with the Ministry of Energy on an overarching plan for PUE, both off and on-grid. Oscar promised to inform the WG members once the kick off meeting for this initiative is scheduled.

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New REEEP PURE Growth programme

Teresa Oberascher introduced a new programme by REEEP on productive use of energy in the agricultural value chain. In this programme, they want to apply a holistic approach of combining results-based finance, technical assistance, financial instruments for local banks (e.g. credit guarantees), and also establishing platforms to bring together different stakeholders in the market.
REEEP will build upon their work with the Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa, the Southern Africa Renewable Energy Investment and Growth Programme where they also work with productive use technologies in Tanzania and Zambia and other programmes like the Private Financing Advisory Network and Nepal Blended Finance programme.
For this PURE GROWTH programme they are currently doing the market scoping to determine where and how they will run the programme.

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