Alumni Sustainability Talk in Ethiopia
How to reach the goal of Affordable and Clean Energy in Ethiopia
The first of the “Alumni Sustainability Talk-Energy ” series was held on Friday, August 17, 2018 afternoon and there were around 55 participants mostly Germany-Alumni. The panelists and audience brought their experience and expertise into a very lively discussion.
After the introduction of the Alumniportal Deutschland by Ms. Iman Wondwossen, Mr. Stefan Schulze, head of Administration and Finance at GIZ, addressed the Alumni emphasizing the importance of networking and its implication to the development of the country especially on the Energy sector, which is one of the most important Sustainability Development Goals with impact on almost all of the other goals.
Mrs. Julia Hüttenrauch, Attachée for Economic, Press and Cultural Sections at the Embassy, admired the enthusiasm of the Alumni to come together to discuss about the situation in the Energy sector in Ethiopia. She noted that the Embassy has strong connections with the Germany-Alumni and even intends to strengthen these bounds in the future.
Expertise on Energy
Dr. Berhanu Gizaw, a graduate of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, former Senior Energy/Geoscience Expert at the Geological Survey of Ethiopia and currently Executive Director of the Association of Ethiopians Educated in Germany (AEEG) gave a general introduction into the different types of Energy sources as well as an introduction of the road map of Ethiopia’s energy development in the past and present. At the end, he explained the details of the Ethiopian energy policy and the constitutional set up that influences the Energy sector in the country.
The second presentation was done by Mr. Melis Teka, a graduate of the University of Oldenburg and Senior Institutional Development Expert (Deputy Team Leader) for the Biogas Programme at Netherlands Development Organization (SNV). He emphasised the importance of Biogas/biofuel energy for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 in Ethiopia. In his presentation, he described some of the energy challenges seen in Ethiopia especially as the production is not sustainable and effects the health of women, children and men. Different efforts have been undertaken to make Biofuel the most sustainable energy source in the country.
Mr. Samson Tolessa, also a graduate of University of Oldenburg and Deputy Director of Energizing Development Programme (EnDev) at GIZ Ethiopia presented the topic of accesses to modern energy services for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 in Ethiopia. He stressed that the access to energy is very crucial and it is a decisive driver and ingredient for any socio-economic transformation. He also explained that Ethiopia faces some challenges achieving universal access to energy for all by 2030. Some of these challenges are poor policies, inadequate regulations, lack of planning and institutional support, lack of financing for off-grid entrepreneurs, and affordability for poorer households (for off-Grid Electrification).
For Grid-based electricity, the challenges are: Lack of sufficient power generation capacity, poor transmission and distribution infrastructure, high costs of supply to remote areas, or simply a lack of affordability for electricity. These challenges can be overcome with the opportunities such as plummeting costs for renewable energy and storage technologies, along with increasing efficiency of end use equipment and appliances.
He concluded his presentation pointing that both the grid and off-grid solutions are vital but that they must be supported by an enabling environment with the right policies, institutions, strategic planning, regulations, and incentives as the way forward to achieving universal access in Ethiopia.
The first three presenters gave an overall description of the different energy activities and potentials of the country to rely on the Renewable Energy; the two presenters who followed showed the practicality of producing and using the different forms of Renewable Energy and how they are presenting it to the market in general.
Ms. Rekik Bekele, who is CEO of Green Scene Energy, established in 2017, presented the pay-as-you-go solar products. Almost 65% of Ethiopians live off-grid and her company is working towards contributing to the energy supply that is very much needed. Green Scene sees the market potential for its products as the country has a huge potential customer base. The goal of Green Scene is to provide Energy access to customers with an average of 6 Ethiopian Birr per day (0.2Euro) as compared to the average of 8 Ethiopian Birr per day that many who live on the off-grid spend to fulfil their households’ energy needs such as lighting, charging mobile phones etc..
The fourth presenter was Mr. Melaku Hailu, who is the Partner of (B)Energy, Making Biogas Accessible and Profitable. (B)Energy mainly works on producing biofuel (biogas) kitchens and fuel saving stoves. With their products, both the indoor and outdoor air pollution is highly reduced, contributing positively to the environmental protection. These new kitchens reduce workloads for those who use traditional fuels and reduces deforestation. He also described that by using these biogas stoves, the daily costs of using fuel would almost be cut in half.
The following panel discussion was facilitated by Ms. Wengel Tessema who is coordinator for the Migration for Development programme implemented by GIZ. The presenters were the panellists and many interesting topics were raised and forwarded to them. Having this diverse team of experts was very motivating to the audience as it led to a very rich discussion session.
Some of the points raised were, for the private sector working on Energy to be encouraged and for policies to be developed by the government to not only encourage the governmental and non-governmental organizations working on Energy but also the private sector as well, as it is very evident that the fate of renewable energy is clearly falling mainly on the private sector. Some suggestions were also forwarded to the non-governmental organizations working on Energy, such as GIZ. The overall suggestions to these organizations were for them not to only be involved in supporting the governmental organizations but also to be involved in supporting the private sector.
Many suggested that in future sessions, concrete proposals could be developed to be forwarded to the responsible government body/minister so that the regulations and policies regarding Energy can be shaped on the basis of expert ideas forwarded by Germany-Alumni.
Many were encouraged to create a group focusing on energy on the Alumniportal as it provides a very good space for sharing information, creating working groups for future collaborations, staying connected with fellow Alumni who are working on Energy.
The liveliness of the discussion session showed that the Alumni are very interested to contribute directly to the SDGs. It goes without saying that they appreciated and applauded the panellists.
The networking continued on the reception on which many formed a group to get to know each other and further discuss on the issues raised. As this is just the first of such series, many are very much enthusiastic to be part of the future sessions in order to contribute to the realization of the goal of “Affordable and Clean Energy for all”.