mini grids

Mini-Grid Emissions Tool

The mini-grid emissions tool was originally designed to calculate the climatic impact of the Universal Energy Facility (UEF). The Universal Energy Facility is a multi-donor results-based financing facility that provides incentive payments to eligible organizations that deploy energy solutions and provide verified end-user energy connections. The facility's mission is to significantly speed up and scale up access to energy across Africa by providing results-based financing for verified connections for electricity and solutions for clean cooking. The facility was established by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), in collaboration with several other donors and partners, including The Rockefeller Foundation, Shell Foundation, Power Africa, Good Energies, UK Aid/Carbon Trust and Africa Minigrid Developers Association (AMDA).
This mini-grid emissions tool has been developed by SEforALL with development led by Naomi Wagura with contributions from Ruchi Soni and Sisana Farley from SEforALL. SEforALL would like to thank Sam Duby (TFE Energy) whose valuable expertise has ensured that the methodology is not only rigorous but can serve an array of stakeholders to encourage standardization of reporting protocols in the mini-grid sector.  SEforALL is also grateful to the following individuals and organisations for providing data, and for their valuable comments and advice: Perumal Arumugam (UNFCCC), Gajanana Hegde (UNFCCC), and Aaron Leopold (AMDA).

Why is the mini-grid emissions tool necessary?

Currently, the mini-grid sector does not have a standardized method of tracking the carbon emissions displaced by renewable energy mini-grids. Although there are current methodologies, most of these calculate the emissions avoided based on the energy generated by mini-grids and one default emissions factor. Usually, the default emissions factor assumes that the mini-grid consumers previously all used one fuel source, e.g. a diesel generator. However, the consumers connected to mini-grids typically use a variety of energy sources for lighting and other energy services. Additionally, for many mini-grids, 100 percent of the energy generated is not consumed, at least in the first few years, so basing emissions mitigated by the mini-grids using the energy generated over-estimates the mitigation impact.

SEforALL developed the mini-grid emissions tool to help the sector better estimate emissions avoided by taking into consideration:

  • different previous energy sources to calculate the baseline emissions
  • energy consumed by the mini-grid customers
  • different mini-grid generating sources including hybrid mini-grids

A harmonized and detailed approach to estimating the carbon emissions avoided by renewable energy mini-grids enables mini-grid developers, governments, investors, multi-lateral organizations and other sector stakeholders to better quantify the climatic benefits of mini-grids in a consistent manner and report on the sector’s contribution to climate change mitigation.

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