Smart Villages News 138 – Is rural development “smart” enough?

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This past Tuesday, we gathered with 70+ people in Brussels to discuss the SDGs: major shifts have been underway for development in the EU. While we were at European Development Days, the New European Consensus on Development was signed, a major agreement that defines the European approach to implementing the sustainable development goals. And, on the very day of our event this week, European countries affirmed their support for the new consensus: embrace your inner policy wonk and read the Council conclusions. One of the most impactful features of the new consensus is its rights-based approach to development, meaning that human rights, inclusivity, and equality must remain at the heart of development work – and crucial to make sure that no one is left behind. We would definitely call that “smart”. From a critical perspective, there are civil society concerns about what the new consensus might mean for migration, which is a hot topic. Can development and migration mix in a positive way? We think so – but it’s crucial to get it right and to listen to civil society’s concerns. And as one person said on Tuesday, we can’t abandon civil society anywhere. Last but not least, we spoke a great deal about public-private-community partnerships and community leadership, including women’s leadership and an even stronger focus on gender equality.

Bringing the grassroots perspective: Tariq Zaman (Universiti Malaysia Sarawak) and Ezra Uda (P.A.D.E Penan Sarawak Organisation) speak about their work in Sarawak.

Between now and 2030: we all have a lot of work to do – and as another speaker said, we must have more partnerships! A special thanks to our co-host of the event, the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council, and to all of our panelists yesterday! Hailing from Sarawak, Indonesia, Senegal, Tanzania, the European Commission, European Parliament, FAO / UN, ARE, International IDEA, CTA, CONCORD / WWF, Oxfam, Hivos, Azuri Technologies, GSMA, Energy 4 Impact… and beyond! Check out the programme for the full list of speakers & a few pictures below. We’ll share a report on this event soon.

Chair of the European Parliament’s Development Committee, Linda McAvan (S&D) addresses the attendees and speaks with SVI’s Bernie Jones.

SVI’s John Holmes addresses a packed house about Smart Villages’ new Findings Report, 2014-2017.

Karine Genty (European Commission), Sarah Rinaldi (European Commission) and Natalia Alonso brought the global and European policymaking perspectives.

Top Stories

Dakar Workshop
If Tesla Takes Charging Off-Grid?
I have heard the casual refrain “electric vehicles will save the grid from the death spiral” too many times to count. The assumption is that people will charge their vehicles at home. That it would simply be too hard to supply the energy cheaply, in any other way, than via our century-old energy market. Given Tesla is saying almost all of its charging stations will go off-grid, is it time to revisit this assumption? Absolutely. […]

Tosh Szatow – RenewEconomy (14.06.17)

China Plans Biomass Leadership
The U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord this month has stirred speculation the decision will benefit China’s suppliers of environmental-related products and services. One of the country’s largest operators of power plants that run on biomass is trying to make that idea come true. […]

Russell Flannery – Forbes (17.06.17)

The Norwegian Paradox
OSLO — On an unseasonably warm day in May, Norway’s climate minister, Vidar Helgesen, strolled through a vast parking lot for electric cars, counting Teslas. “Two, three, four, five,” the minister marveled. And that was just one aisle. There are big perks to buying a Tesla — or any electric car — in Norway. The government waives the high taxes it imposes on sales of other cars. It lets electric cars cruise up bus lanes. Toll roads are free. Parking lots like this one offer a free charge, and new charging stations are being built on the nation’s highways. […]

Somini Sengupta – TheNewYorkTimes (17.06.17)

The Cost Of Extreme Heat
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Residents of Turbat, a remote town in southwestern Pakistan, have had to cope with punishingly hot weather for generations. But when the mercury climbed to 129.2 degrees Fahrenheit on May 28 — potentially the hottest temperature ever recorded in Asia — relief proved elusive, partly because Turbat suffers from regular electricity shortages. […]

Salaman Masood – NyTimes (17.06.17)

IRENA, FAO And IEA Developing Sustainable Bioenergy Brief
The brief finds that large amounts of bioenergy can be produced while the world meets its food needs and climate goals and that bioenergy can also promote development, create jobs, enrich the land and improve livelihoods. Bioenergy is key to sustainable development, since it enhances energy access and reduces reliance on fossil fuels, thereby helping to mitigate climate change. It currently makes up a large share of the cost-effective options for increasing renewable energy use. […]

Robin Whitlock – RenewableEnergyMagazine (19.06.17)

The Race To Solar Power Africa
The cacao-farming community of Daban, in Ghana, is seven degrees north of the equator, and it’s always hot. In May, I met with several elders there to talk about the electricity that had come to the town a few months earlier, when an American startup installed a solar microgrid nearby. Daban could now safely store the vaccine for yellow fever; residents could charge their cell phones at home rather than walking to a bigger town to do it. […]

Bill McKibben – TheNewYorker (26.06.17)


New Publication

The Smart Villages Initiative: Findings 2014-2017
Smart Villages

 Today’s webinar

22 June: Reaping the benefits of energy access: Gender, policy, and practice
Smart Villages

Energy Entrepreneurs

Doing rural energy in ‘rugged and inhospitable’ places
Smart Villages

Agenda of our latest event

Smart Rural Development: the SDGs and the New European Consensus on Development
Smart Villages


Going Beyond Energy Access: How to ensure their long term sustainability
Smart Villages


China Lends $123 Million For Rural Electrification In Cameroon
Emiliano Bellini – Pv-Magazine (14.06.17)

Microgrids Impacting Kenyan Rural Economies
Anmar Frangoul – Cnbc (15.06.17)

Zimbabwean Government Urged To Consider Renewable Energy
New Zimbabwe (16.06.17)

Sudan Prepares To Launch Fit Programme For Renewables
Emiliano Bellini – Pv-Magazine (16.06.17)

Nigerian Utilities To Sell Off-Grid Power To Boost Profits
Miriam Malek – InterfaxEnergy (15.06.17)

Germany Provides Funds For Madagascan Hydro Projects To Cut Fuel Consumption
Ecofin Agency (16.06.17)

Record Leves Of Green Energy Create Strange New World In UK 
Adam Vaughan – TheGuardian (17.06.17)

Nigeria To Root Out Independent Power Operators
DailyTrust (20.06.17)


Why One Part Of Kentucky Loves Solar
James Higdon – Politico Magazine (18.06.17)

DOE Provides $67 Million For Advanced Nuclear Research (14.06.17)

Solar To Provide 80% Of Ohio’s School Power
US News (17.06.17)

10% Renewable Record Set In US 
Katy Evans – iflScience (19.06.17)

Science & Technology

Chester University Installs ABB Micro-Grid For Energy Management Research
Ian Clover – Pv-Magazine (16.06.17)

GOGLA Symposium Review Latest Off-Grid Market Research
GOGLA (13.06.17)

Off-Grid Energy Storage System Market Set To Grow At 6.6% Cagr 2016-2020
OpenPR (16.06.17)
New Book On Biomass Challenges Published
Daniela Defavari do Nascimento, William A. Pickering – Bentham Ebooks

Solar Water Harvesters Developed For Saharan Use
Emma Tucker – Dezeen (19.06.17)

Wisconsin Researchers Combine Solar Cell With Storage
Eric Butterman – ASME


Trouble Brews Over VAT On Energy In Bangladesh
Aminur Rahman Rasel – DhakaTribune (16.06.17)

Bigger Is Better For Rooftop Solar Say Australian Experts
Sophie Vorrath – OneStepOffTheGrid (16.06.17)

Philippines’ Neda Urges More Rural Power Investment
MtnvNews (16.06.17)

Longhouse Electrification Hold-Ups In Borneo
Peter Boon – Borneo Post (18.06.17)

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