Clean Energy Mini-grids

Clean Energy Mini-grids HIO Group

Join the group here

Read the membership invitation here

Read the Mini-Grids HIO document here

See the Strategic Action Plan here

See the Notes from the Strategic Planning Meeting here

High-Impact Opportunity: Mini-grids

Mini-grids can be a viable and cost effective route to electrification where the distance from the grid is too large and the population density too low to economically justify a grid connection. Mini-grids provide an enhanced service level compared with household systems and depending on local resources and technologies employed, can be comparable to a well-functioning grid.

The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2011 estimates that over 40% of all installed capacity to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030 will be most economically delivered by mini-grids. Given the remote locations of many of the communities and the cost reductions in renewable energy technologies, clean energy mini-grids can play an important role in meeting this objective. However, despite advances in technology and cost reductions, the pace at which clean energy mini-grids are being developed and financed remains slow, due to barriers, including:

  • Inadequate regulation, policy gaps or uncertainty
  • Early stage market fragmentation and unmade linkages
  • Capacity issues and lack of standardization
  • Lack of proven commercial business models
  • Lack of access to affordable longer term finance

In spite of these barriers, and recognizing the opportunity of clean energy mini-grids to deliver on SEforALL targets on energy access and renewable energy - an increasing number of national and international firms and agencies are developing projects aimed at both hybridizing existing diesel mini-grids with renewable sources, as well as installing green-field mini-grid systems to serve communities, businesses and community services.

Goals and Objectives

The Clean Energy Mini-grids High Impact Opportunity (HIO) will use the international framework of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) to further enable, enhance and promote existing and upcoming efforts in the sector, with a view to increasing rate of deployment and market transformation impact. The HIO will galvanize action on the five interlinked barriers facing the sector, with the engagement of public, private and civil society expertise and resources, and pursue the following five goals:

  • Support integration of clean energy mini-grids within national and international energy plans and regulations
  • Increase co-ordination and interaction in the mini-grids sector, drawing in new partners, enabling increased partnerships, joint ventures and cross-sectoral projects
  • Create agreement and knowledge of key concepts, techniques, technologies and approaches, supporting improved performance across the clean energy mini-grids sector
  • Increase development and testing of business models through High Impact Initiatives (HIIs), and increase visibility of outcomes via transparent evaluation and reporting
  • Increase visibility and recognition of clean energy mini-grids as a viable electrification approach with a view to increasing the availability of private and public financing

Membership and Co-ordination

The membership of the HIO is open to all organizations with interest and activities in the area of clean energy mini-grids.

A co-ordination group including Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility (EUEI PDF), United Nations Foundation (UNF), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the SEforALL Global Facilitation Team (GFT) will guide the activities of the HIO during the first year of its operations, engaging a wider membership and coordinating startup activities.

The HIO Secretariat will be hosted jointly by UNF and ARE and provide logistical and thematic support to the HIO membership.

For more information about this HIO, please contact


The work of the Clean Energy Mini-Grids HIO, as outlined in this Annual Report for 2015 , is making a significant contribution to the SEforALL objectives. CEMGs offer an excellent example of the linkage between energy access, renewables and efficiency, and the connection to other development challenges. This Annual Report highlights the activities of the HIO, helping SEforALL to share the progress made and the lessons learned in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and providing a foundation for the presentation of many more positive messages from the CEMG HIO in the future

High Impact Opportunity on Clean Energy Mini-grids Report for the period of July-December 2014


A Newsletter on Clean Energy Mini/Micro-grids is now available showcasing innovative business models, financing opportunities, tools and events in the clean energy mini-grids sector. The Newsletter is produced by the UN Foundation on behalf of the Sustainable Energy for All High Impact Opportunity on Clean Energy Mini-grids, with support from the World Bank and ESMAP.

Sign up to receive the Newsletter at and contact us at with any questions, comments or suggestions of items you would like to see covered in the Newsletter.

Mapping of Clean Energy Mini-Grid Support Providers and Programmes

The clean energy mini-grid sector is crucial in providing clean energy access and alleviating poverty in developing countries, but is hampered by a number of barriers such as early stage market fragmentation and unmade linkages. To address this issue, the Clean Energy Mini-Grids HIO set out to map public, philanthropic and commercial sources of funding, technical and other support available for the implementation of clean energy mini-grids.

To do so, the Alliance for Rural Electrification on behalf of the HIO collected information on the relevant activities of a broad group of stakeholders from the whole clean energy mini-grids value chain. The results of this project, made possible by the kind financial support of the Rockefeller Foundation and Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ,) as well as importantly by the input from a wide range of stakeholders in the mini-grid markets are reflected in a webtool, where users can filter on aspects relevant to their needs, and a publication, for the benefit of all stakeholders.

You can find the publication here.