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GVEP works with local energy businesses in developing countries to address the problem of energy scarcity and under-investment, particularly in rural areas where state or large utilities’ do not operate. They facilitate the implementation of sustainable energy solutions to provide reliable electricity for rural and peri-urban communities, stimulate energy markets, reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for millions of people in developing countries. GVEP supports the growth of small and medium size energy businesses in rural areas by linking them with the enabling resources they need to take off and become self-sustaining, such as access to new technologies, skills, capital, and delivery networks.
The Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP) was established at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Its aim was to increase access to modern energy services to reduce poverty in the world’s developing countries – this remains its objective today.
GVEP International's principles
GVEP International believes that business-led solutions are essential to meeting the energy needs of people living in developing countries.
While governments can help large utilities with effective policies and incentives, grid extension in rural areas is often not very cost effective. Only 40% of the new energy provision required for universal access is likely to be by grid extension and hence, the remaining 60% of the energy deficit must be met by small and medium enterprises. This is the sector in which GVEP operates. GVEP helps local businesses to harness the power of small stand-alone technologies to achieve lasting access to clean energy and improve the quality of the renewable energy market.
All GVEP International's beneficiaries are currently dealing in or are working towards developing energy products and services that have the potential to become a self-sustaining.
Supporting Energy SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa (ESME) is a programme carried by GVEP and the World Bank. It assists energy enterprises by offering business training, access to finance and investment. The programme is currently running in five countries: Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Senegal.
GVEP supports the implementation of the programme and is working closely with government agencies on ways to increase private sector involvement in meeting energy demands. ESME projects include small hydro schemes, electricity from biomass, the expansion of solar markets and productive use of energy. Current activities include: assisting developers of mini-grids and small hydro systems to finance and deliver their projects, supporting the development of the solar PV market and providing capacity building and technical assistance to government agencies.
Capital Access for Renewable Energy (CARE 2)
In low-income countries, access to finance and lack of capital are a major constraint to the growth of micro, small and medium sized enterprises. The CARE2 programme aims to improve capital access in the renewable energy markets of four African Great Lakes countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. This $7 million facility is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Launched in September 2012, the 3-year programme consists of a combination of interventions designed to increase both the supply of capital to businesses and their capacity to deploy that capital effectively. CARE2 consists of a Business Support Team providing advice to businesses seeking capital, as well as an extension of GVEP's Capital Access activities and several sector-focused enterprise development projects. This programme will focus heavily on women as one of its priorities is to address gender issues.
Kenya Climate Innovation Centre
GVEP is one of the lead members of the consortium selected by the World Bank to set up and run the world’s first Climate Innovation Centre (CIC) in Nairobi, Kenya. This $10 million initiative will provide business incubation services and early stage capital to young business in the renewable energy and climate adaptation space in the African Great Lakes region. The centre will also provide business and technical advice and services, access to facilities and small start-up grants, as well as access to seed capital investment.
Launched on 26 September 2012, the Kenya CIC is hosted by the Strathmore Business School, in collaboration with GVEP, PwC and the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI). The Kenya CIC is supported by infoDev (World Bank) in partnership with the Danish and British (via UKAid) governments. It will be seeded by a contribution of $15 million over five years.
GVEP International set up the Developing Energy Enterprises Project (DEEP) in 2008. Now complete, the project's aim was to support micro and small enterprises to provide modern energy services and products to 1.8 million people in rural and peri-urban areas in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The current figure now stands at 4 million according to an external final report. DEEP successfully incubated business proposals in many areas including: solar energy for phone charging in rural areas; improved cook stoves; briquette production;sustainable charcoal production; construction of biogas digesters; sales of solar lanterns, etc. Additionally, 2841 households were shown to be receiving income from employment in supported energy enterprises.
In the Caribbean
February 2012, the second round of the IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest was launched. Sponsored by UKAid with the support of the IDB and the South Korean Government, this round of the competition focused on innovative projects and ideas promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency and access to energy in the Caribbean. 189 applications were submitted from 15 eligible countries. The jury chose 8 winners who will receive awards totalling nearly £1 million. UK Aid has chosen GVEP as its implementing partner for IDEAS, providing technical advice, access to other experts and institutions and introductions to funders and investors. The monetary prizes, alongside GVEP’s support, allow winners to turn their ideas into commercially viable businesses.