Renewable energy is a key cornerstone in ensuring energy access for all especially for the last mile electrification for rural areas, to diversify the energy mix of the grid and to reduce a country’s combined grid emission factor. It is in this light that 14 Asian policy makers attended the 2nd Sustainable Energy Centre of Excellence (SECOE) workshop. The speakers at the workshop were from organisations such as the ADB, DNV GL, Standard Chartered Bank and Scottish Development International (SDI) which shows the diverseness of speakers coming from all around the world sharing their knowledge and expertise with the participants.
Each day focused on a different theme and covered a wide variety of topics:
- Day 1, 26 October: Overview of renewable energy and perspective of renewable energy financing from financial institutions.
- Day 2, 27 October: Asia Clean Energy Summit
- Day 3, 28 October: Asia Clean Energy Summit
- Day 4, 29 October: Financing of renewable energy mini-grids and group discussion on lessons learnt, and networking Session with industry players.
- Day 5, 30 October: Site visit to REC Solar manufacturing facility
There were many good presentations and as the participants learned from the speakers, the speakers also gained some country specific insights from the participants. Bobby Naimawi, Chief Financial Officer of the Fiji Electricity Authority said, “(It was an) excellent workshop with balanced hands on “classroom” learning to outcome driven filed trip to REC. My sincere appreciation to the sponsors, the facilitators and moderator for a job well done”.
At the end of the workshop, the participants came away with some key takeaways in order for them to draft and implement renewable energy financing policy in their respective countries:
- They need to set and implement Renewable Energy policies which support the long term implementation of renewable energy generation facilities.
- Knowledge in Financial institutions is lacking in renewable energy thus education in this sector is required to meet policy with financing.
- They need to convince their respective governments that renewable energy needs to be one of the priorities in the budgeting of the country, as it is a solution to some of the major issues they need to deal with.
Site Visit to REC
The site visit was carried out on the last day of the SECOE workshop whereby participants made the trip to REC solar manufacturing facility in Tuas. This is a highly automated plant which is the largest in Asia.
The participants were given a first-hand experience of how solar panels were manufactured in the facility and the stringent quality controls which ensured each panel were of the highest quality. Participants were shown REC Solar Box solution whereby it’s a modular system which can be deployed in post disaster areas for relief efforts. An example of this was post Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Feedback & Conclusion
Many participants felt that by conducting the workshop in line with ACES, it enhanced the lessons taught by the resource speakers. The site visit to REC was an eye opener to all participants as none have been to a solar panel manufacturing facility prior. From the site visit they were able to see the quality control and research which goes into the technology thus reinforcing the implementation of renewable energy and to have policies which are able to assist in the deployment.
The participants highlighted at the end of the workshop that they would be pleased to have more support for policy capacity building workshop in this space for their governments as they are able to see the benefits of renewable energy. Other interests included hybrid systems and mini-grids for last mile electrification which proves to be the key challenge for large archipelagos such as Fiji, Philippines and Indonesia.
Many look forward to future topics of the Sustainable Energy Centre of Excellence on renewable energy and Energy Access, and appreciate the training and knowledge assistance that the centre will be able to provide them.