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Symposium 2010

Implementation - Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE)

The Challenge

In principle, solar and wind are more than enough to deliver any amount of energy that the world’s population might need. But these sources are usually best exploited in areas that are far from ce ...

In principle, solar and wind are more than enough to deliver any amount of energy that the world’s population might need. But these sources are usually best exploited in areas that are far from centers of demand. It is technologically challenging to transport electricity over large distances and even more to store it. As a consequence, electricity markets have tended to develop as regional markets.

Alliance for Rural ElectrificationThe Alliance for Rural Electrification is the only international business association in the world focusing on the promotion and the development of off-grid renewable energy solutions for rural electrification in developing countries. ARE serves as a platform for sharing knowledge and best-practices and is a privileged partner of stakeholders in the energy field who want to engage the private sector.

Its mission is to

  • attract and unite all relevant actors in order to speak with one voice about rural electrification with renewable energies;
  • produce and disseminate information about technical and financial solutions for rural electrification;
  • communicate and advocate for rural electrification to all relevant stakeholders, namely governments, donors, financial institutions, NGOs, international organizations and the broader private sector;
  • support its members in the field of CSR projects.

ARE develops content and materials that built upon the experience and expertise of its members and for the benefit of rural electrification. These are initiated and coordinated by different working groups.

These working groups are coordinated and fully supported by ARE and work to identifying the technological and financial gaps in the rural electrification process in order to generate appropriate answers to fill in these gaps. Therefore, their objective is to generate a common approach to the challenges faced by the industry in the field of rural electrification. The Working Groups also help to stimulate the creation of beneficial synergies for all the participants and to innovate in creative and suitable solutions for rural electrification, which contain recommendations for decision-makers as well as technical and financial solutions for stakeholders.

In 2011, ARE published a report on “Best practices of the Alliance for Rural Electrification”[1] where it explains that “In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 31% of the population has access to electricity, with only 2–5% in many rural areas. Electrical infrastructure remains largely centralized; yet grid extension to remote regions is far too expensive as populations are dispersed and cannot afford to finance the connection fees upfront.” ARE further explains that political will, as well as financial and technical capabilities are often lacking to extend services in rural areas. It is thus “vital that the limited financial resources that are available are used in the most effective way and propagate private investment.” ARE represents companies and organizations who believe that renewable energy technologies, utilized in off-grid and mini-grid power systems, can sustainably meet the energy needs of rural communities at an affordable price. Further, “the low operation and maintenance costs of renewable energy power systems offset the initial capital costs, which makes them more efficient and cost competitive solutions. Renewable solutions offer energy independence and security as well as the inherent environmental benefits of using clean and sustainable solutions.”

The report presents a number of concrete projects successfully implemented by ARE’s members and that can be seen as replicable solutions.



[1] Available online: http://www.ruralelec.org/fileadmin/DATA/Documents/06_Publications/Misc/ARE_Best_Practice_2011.pdf

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