We hit the ground running this month with the third Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) Forum, where we had the pleasure of seeing and highlighting the work of many of our Practitioner Network members. The forum served as a great melting pot of energy service providers and entrepreneurs, governments, UN representatives, civil society, and academia much like the Practitioner Network’s membership itself and led to not only lively and frank discussions on progress towards SDG7, but also served as a great matchmaking platform to encourage new partnerships, deals, and investments in the space.
The UN Foundation worked alongside and in support of the SEforALL team, both behind the scenes and on stage. We hosted three partner working sessions on superefficient appliances, energy and health, and mini-/micro-grids and our VP for Energy, Climate, and the Environment, Pete Ogden, moderated a “knowledge into action” session focusing on the deployment of renewables in the Latin America & Caribbean region. Our sister initiative, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, also participated in the clean cooking discussions - you can see a Facebook Live video featuring our Reid Detchon and Radha Muthiah, CEO of the Alliance, here. All sessions were covered by @energyaccessPN and @minigridsHIO on Twitter using #SEforALLforum.
The session on Powering Healthcare brought together energy and health specialists from the UN Foundation, UNICEF, UNDP, DFID, and the governments of Nepal and Zambia to discuss strategies for increasing the priority given to the electrification of health facilities as a means of improving maternal and child health. The session also highlighted one of the UN Foundation’s projects in this area, which seeks to power 62 “off-grid” health facilities across Uganda and Ghana, adding an estimated 240 kWp of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity to the health sector. The project is made possible by the support of the UK Department for International Development (DFID). A Periscope video of Jem Porcaro, our Senior Director for Energy Access, opening the session can be found here, and a press release further detailing UNF’s clinic electrification project can be found here.
Of course, the Practitioner Network’s moment of fame at the forum was the launch of the results of our 2016 survey. The survey included a new section on financing flows, in which we collaborated with SEforALL to better understand investor and practitioner perceptions of the potential to scale and barriers to do so in the distributed energy sector. The launch event, which was streamed via Facebook Live here and live-Tweeted via #EAPN2016survey, also featured three of our long-time members Nicola Armacost, Arc Finance; Allison Archambault, EarthSpark International; and Anya Cherneff, Empower Generation offering their reactions to the results on financing, mini-/micro-grids, and small scale distributed solutions respectively. It was a great pleasure for us to have many of our members join us in the audience as well as at our booth following the launch for those of you who were unable to join us in person, you can find the survey brochure here, and a press release detailing the launch here.
In addition to our sessions, it was terrific to see so many of our Practitioner Network members be highlighted in the main forum panels, partner working sessions, and Facebook Live interviews. Notably among these is an interview between our long-time member Dan Schnitzer, CEO of SparkMeter and Rachel Kyte, CEO of SEforALL, which you can watch here. Other great highlights include Facebook Live videos of our members SunFunder & Greenlight Planet; Abze Solar; Off-Grid Electric & PEG Ghana; and Schneider Electric & Hivos, among others. You can read testimonials from a number of our members who attended the Forum here.
The SEforALL Forum reminds us of the importance of peer-to-peer interactions and partnership building to catalyze action towards the achievement of SDG7. As the evidence from the SEforALL & World Bank Global Tracking Framework also launched at the forum demonstrates in this short video, we still have quite a way to go towards sustainable energy access for all, and we will need all of our Practitioner Network members and other stakeholders in the space to work together to achieve our collective goal.