Solar energy for Myanmar
Thanks to the contributions from EKOenergy users worldwide, we are able to finance renewable energy projects that wouldn’t take place without our help. Earlier this year we launched a call for projects and we are now selecting the most promising and impactful proposals with the help of an independent jury.
One of the newly selected projects is an initiative to scale up renewable energy mini-grids in the Rakhine State, Myanmar, a project of the Italian NGO Istituto Oikos. EKOenergy’s Climate Fund will grant 22,000 euros for its implementation, which will be supplemented by further grants from other donors.
In brief, the project will make it possible to install solar mini-grids in two remote communities in the Thandwe District, in the southern Rakhine State. The project is, in fact, a follow up of the earlier solar project financed by consumers of EKOenergy-labelled electricity and will build upon previously established relationships with local providers and local authorities (Kyeintali Township Office of the Electrical Power Corporations).
The project will guarantee equal access to reliable and renewable energy for 50 households in 2 villages. The villages are rural communities, where the main source of income derives from agricultural activities (average size of cultivated land by household is 2-5 acres), seasonal works, and fishing activities (subsistence). The community does not have any access to energy sources. Candles and kerosene lamps are the only lighting devices available.
Cooperation and expertise
Before the activation of Myanmar’s National Electrification Program 2015-2030, only 6% of the population in Rakhine state had access to electricity. The selected intervention area and the proposed clean energy solution are in line with this National Electrification Program and it is based on an accurate need assessment conducted with the support of the Town Officer of the Electrical Power Corporations (EPC).
The historical presence of Istituto Oikos in the area of intervention allows for the use of knowledge from the local society, of the local dynamics and of the potentialities. The project will be based on participation and ownership by the local community, involving them in the installation works, delivering them technical training and engaging and supporting them to develop a participatory management of the plant aimed at reducing energy waste. The hope is also that the actions could be replicated in the neighbouring villages to achieve similar successes.
Contribution to several Sustainable Development Goals
The project also aims to contribute to the fulfilment of the SDGs, particularly focusing on poverty alleviation, by providing access to sustainable energy services for poor un-connected rural communities.
- SDG No.7 (affordable & clean energy): The project promotes the electrification of rural communities through renewable energy solutions and reaches remote areas where the infrastructure of the national grid is not present
- SDG No.5 (gender equality): Improving access to energy services significantly impacts women’s livelihoods by reducing the time spent on household tasks, improving the quality of their health and allowing them time to engage in other activities such as income generation, education, time with children and leisure.
- SDG No.13 (climate action): The use of renewable energy reduces the need to resort to traditional energy sources (wood, kerosene,etc.) and, in turn, reduces deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions; representing itself as a powerful tool in the adaptation and resilience to climate change
- SDG No.10 (reduced inequalities): The electrification of remote areas helps in reducing the gap between urban and peri-urban areas
- It also contributes in a less direct and visible way to many of the other SDGs such as SDG No. 1 (reduction of poverty), SDG No. 2 (improved nutrition) and SDG No.4 (quality education).
Published on 13 May 2020