The International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference (IOREC), organized by IRENA along with the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), was held in Accra, Ghana on 1 and 2 November 2012.
IOREC brought together and promoted dialogue among stakeholders from across the rural electrification value chain, in particular between the public and private sector, with a focus on Africa. The conference was attended by over 350 delegates from 80 countries, including representatives from Rural Electrification Agencies and Ministries in charge of renewable energy development from around 30 African countries. The event convened speakers from 23 countries, from public and private sector, including the most successful stories worldwide in terms of off-grid rural electrification through renewables.
IOREC focused on policies, regulations, financing and technologies conducive to the scaling up of off-grid renewable energy-based rural electrification, in particular through the involvement of the private sector.
The conference deliberations presented the following key outcomes:
1. Off-grid renewables have the potential to fill the demand-supply gap in the form of distributed generation and can supplement the grid supply for achieving rural electrification goals. Hence, off-grid renewables should be brought out into the mainstream electrification strategy rather than being treated on the side lines.
2. The importance of target driven growth strategy was highlighted, but targets have to be pragmatic and aligned to socio-cultural and economic conditions of local communities.
3. Enabling regulatory frameworks or "ecosystems" were identified as the most important drivers to scaling up rural electrification. Hence, there is a need for specific off-grid support policies.
4. Among the key challenges identified have been the market distortions in place, for example due to kerosene subsidies which make it difficult for off-grid renewables to displace kerosene despite being more cost-effective on a life-cycle basis. In addition, the promise of grid extension often inhibits investment in electrification through off-grid solutions.
5. The conference illustrated that there are several innovative business models which have been successful in adapting to the off-grid market. The private companies strive to supply energy services with off-grid renewable energy and not just be restricted to being technology providers.
6. Local banks can play a significant role in extending access to credit for households and businesses. The accessibility to credit incentivizes the adoption of cleaner forms of energy for rural electrification and in turn, supports businesses providing the related services. The need for building capacities on renewables within the financial institution was highlighted.
7. The governments should work towards creating awareness on the benefits associated with off-grid renewable technologies, not only for lighting purposes but also for productive uses. In addition, awareness in regards to relative life-cycle costs of off-grid renewable energy when compared to other options should be disseminated.
8. Capacity building must be encouraged along all segments across the rural electrification value chain - public institutions, financing agencies, communities, private sector etc. Regional capacity building and increased awareness among communities and businesses facilitates uptake of off-grid renewable energy systems.
IRENA is an intergovernmental organisation dedicated to renewable energy. IRENA’s mission is to promote the widespread and increased adoption and the sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy. IRENA was founded on 26 January 2009 in Bonn, Germany, and became a fully established international organisation headquartered in Abu Dhabi at its inaugural Assembly on 4-5 April 2011. As of July 2012, the membership of IRENA comprises 158 States and the European Union (EU), out of which 100 States and the EU have ratified the Statute.
A unique regional renewable energy and energy efficiency promotion agency in Sub Sahara Africa, ECREEE aims at the establishment of regional renewable energy and energy efficiency markets by supporting various activities to mitigate existing barriers for the dissemination of these technologies.
The only international business association in the world focusing on the promotion and the development of off-grid and mini-grid renewable energy solutions for rural electrification in developing countries. As of today are comprised around 80 members, including many market leaders.
In parallel with the Conference, starting from 31 October, the Alliance for Rural Electrification is organising an Exhibition, to give the private sector the opportunity to further present its products and projects, and offer general stakeholders ample networking opportunities.
The exhibition is open to all interes ...
Press Releases IOREC
Conference Presentations have been uploaded ...
[No.1] IRENA announces the International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference and Exhibition
Off-grid renewable energy system deployment: regulations, support policies and financing
Off-grid renewable energy systems: technology, design and innovation