The 4th Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) Energy Access Investment Forum hosted over 200 participants gathered in March 13-15, 2018 in Catania, Italy. This Forum consisted of three flagship events: the ARE Energy Access Investment Conference Day (13 March), the ARE Awards and the Business Matchmaking Day (14 March). This Forum was organised in partnership with RES4MED & Africa and the RECP.
The ARE Energy Access Investment Conference Day on 13 March 2018 provided participants with a comprehensive view of the clean-energy sector policy framework and key industry trends to foster the integration of remote communities into emerging economies around the world. The event, including the European Commission’s Workshop on the Energy Digital Nexus, gave the opportunity for investors, project developers and other stakeholders to learn more about upcoming support schemes, innovative products and new business models to accelerate rural electrification.
Through the Awards ceremony, ARE recognized companies and organisations that have made special contributions to advance the rural electrification sector. In its third year running, this year’s ARE Awards were discerned to:
- EUEI PDF (Multilateral / International Organisations)
- Shamwana Hospital (NGOs and Foundations)
- Autarsys (Private Sector in Developed Countries)
- Rift Valley Energy (Private Sector in Developing Countries)
- Sarawak Energy (Government in Developing Country)
- Ensol and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (Best Off-grid Project)
- ColdHubs (Best Start-Up; new category)
The Business Matchmaking Day on 14 March featured a series of panel discussions on off-grid data collection and investment, project financing tools and new initiatives, including a presentation on the deployment of renewable energy tender programmes in Africa. The Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) organised an interactive session on the current status of data monitoring of off-grid customers. In the afternoon, 135 participants took part in more than 450 B2B meetings where participants had the chance to meet with potential business partners.
During the “Data of Off-Grid Customers and Projects: Foundation for Future Business?” session, Mr. Vivian Vendeirinho, newly elected chair of ARE, made a call for established minigrids developers and metering companies to publish anonymised customers data profiles, possibly by means of an ARE interactive platform.
The potential impact of this form of data sharing is that emerging early stage off-grid solution providers can be instrumental to better load and revenue forecasting as well as creating better proposals. However, panelists concluded that collecting data of customers and projects is not an end in itself and needs to feed into the standard operating procedures to add value. In addition, there may be privacy issues of customers, whose data must be respected and protected.