Celebrating Ethiopia’s renewable energy businesses

September 23, 2021

The winners of the third and fourth round renewable energy technologies (RET) innovative ideas competition was announced this week.

The 25 entrepreneurs and enterprises will access a business incubation programme for investment in renewable energy technologies. In addition, each winner took home close to USD 31,500.

The award is part of a wider RET project launched in 2015 to target 800,000 households and promote innovative solutions on renewable energy technologies for household use, particularly in the rural areas Ethiopia. The project brought together UNDP, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Capital development fund (UNCDF) to support the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE) and the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MiNT).

The project seeks to accelerate the adoption of Renewable Energy Technologies (RET) through:

·         Strengthening regulatory and legal framework based on national standards;

·         Business incubator that will promote greater entrepreneurship for investment in RETs; and

·         Helping the energy sector access to sustainable financial mechanism for RETs, such as through establishing credit risk guarantee fund, by partnering with UNCDF clean-start initiative and Development bank of Ethiopia

·      Create public demand and utilization of these RETs through awareness campaigns.

The renewable energy project seeks to support Ethiopia to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 to ensure access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy by all.

56% of Ethiopia's population still do not have any access to electricity.

“The private sector’s engagement is a critical enabler in meeting Ethiopia’s growing clean sustainable energy demands” noted Cleophas Torori, UNDP Ethiopia’s Deputy Resident Representative, adding that, “UNDP has identified access to affordable, clean and renewable energy as the priority focus area in our new country programme strategy for the next five years.”

In addition to the GEF- supported renewable energy technologies project, UNDP has been supporting South-South trilateral cooperation bringing together Ethiopia, China, and Sri Lanka to promote the exchange and knowledge sharing in renewable energy technology transfer.

UNDP is also engaged in helping Ethiopia work with other countries in the region to formulate the Africa Mini-Grid Program and support clean energy access through increased financial viability and scaled-up commercial investment in mini-grids. 

Amsal Barega, owner of Lem Betret Alternative Energy enterprise, has improved cookstove and employs 3 permanent and 15 temporary staff.