After reviewing some of the outlines of the clean energy enterprise space, becoming familiar with the major topics, and studying several cases, one might might feel overwhelmed by the seemingly large number of variables that must be managed in order to produce quality outcomes. For this reason, the following section is meant to re-simplify the process from start to finish and produce a neat typology of all the possible ways in which concerned 3rd parties (neither entrepreneurs nor customers) can get involved in meaningful and productive ways.

Possible Avenues of Intervention

  • Informational involvement
    • Information collection
    • Analysis
    • Information dissemination
  • Market readiness measures
    • Training
    • Advocacy
    • Awareness raising
  • Participation in transactions
    • Project implementation
    • Business, project or end-user finance
    • Other?

Informational involvement - refers to the collection and dissemination of best practices in planning & implementation, case studies, policies and regulations. The intent is awareness building within markets regarding the options available. Analysis can attempt to measure, monitor and verify of inputs, outputs, processes and outcomes with the intent is to create and support a level playing field and objective decision-making among choices.

Market Readiness Measures -

Training, or otherwise building the capacity of:
  • entrepreneurs,
  • policy-makers,
  • financial, development and other professionals, and
  • educators.
The intent is to increase performance on all levels (technological, policy-making, financial, social and environmental) and to explicitly increase the quality and quantity of transactions, projects and programs under consideration. A good example of this was the joint effort of the UNDP, GEF and Government of Tanzania in providing solar PV training to individuals who were later hired by Zara Solar to work as technicians.

Advocacy involves actively promoting of a combination of “what works” and incremental innovations for which there is substantial, objective support. Advocacy may apply to:
  • technologies
  • business models, or
  • overall planning and implementation by the
    • private sector,
    • public sector,
    • civil society or
    • combination thereof.
The intent of advocacy is to directly influence decisions regarding the allocation of resources and attention, as well as the underlying business and regulatory framework that underpins success.

Awareness raising seeks to promote the use of certain technologies and/or practices above others and is important for stimulating consumer demand.

Participation in Transactions - involves direct intervention at the transaction, project or program level through the provision of financial or non-financial resources. The intent is to provide the incremental resource that accelerates a desired transaction resulting in the dissemination of improved energy access. Support of Informational and Market Readiness Initiatives certainly involves the provision of resources to accelerate change in one way or another; but transactional participation refers to a specific project, set of projects or transaction. One type of participation in a transaction could be though program implementation - this is examined below in the case of the MFP program. Another type of transactional involvement could be the provision of finance to either enterprises or customers of those enterprises.

Case Study: Hypothetical involvement in the Multi-function Platform Program in West Africa

Ways to be involved:

Informational –
  • documenting the almost one thousand multi-function platforms that have been installed in West Africa;
  • describing the technologies and implementation techniques employed and data collected;
  • quantifying the various inputs and outputs of the multi-function platform experience;
  • classifying the various types of experiences and interventions;
  • presenting quantitative as well as qualitative observations and recommendations regarding the operation or expansion of such a program through the lenses of financial, economic, social and environmental returns, costs and benefits.

Market Readiness -
  • Training – bringing together women’s organizations to learn about the multi-function platform, its costs, benefits and operating requirements, as well as the commitments involved by community groups who decide to undertake such an initiative. Also providing artisan training for periodic machine repairs.
  • Advocacy – from the experience gathered, arguing for a particular approach or approach, ie the re-allocation of resources and responsibilities, perhaps to suggest alternatives to community-based ownership and operation or perhaps to suggest optimization through a series of experiments to increase throughput and market access for multi-function platforms.

Involvement in the transaction –

Is it possible that a largely capital subsidized experience base can be continued on a community-by-community basis? An optimized model might be encouraged where “output-based loan forgiveness” rather than outright subsidy is related to throughput and efficiency.

A multi-community SME model might be activated by offering working capital or equipment financing to an SME as well as equity, using the equity stake to vest the various customer-communities in the success of the SME. Specific transaction, project or program costs could be funded but done in a way that a reasonable return on investment can be quantified rather than simply funding “this” or “that” cost (whether hardware, software or project management).

Such an analysis can be purely financial (“We believe that such projects will be self-sustaining when they can achieve between a 5% and 10% IRR. We believe such an IRR will be achieved when the following experience base has been achieved—or we believe such an IRR will never be achieved by the non-financial benefits are worth X% in addition to the financial IRR. We are therefore prepared to fund the difference between the nominal financial IRR and Y% as a temporary or permanent subsidy). More here from the UNFCCC “To Whom?” analysis…