Tag Archives: Renewable Energy

Manufacturing small wind turbines in Benin: is it feasible?

On November 30th and December 1st, over 40 stakeholders gathered in Cotonou to discuss the role small wind turbines can play in the electrification of Benin. Partners for Innovation presented its feasibility study and outlined an action plan for sector development.

The government of Benin is looking for ways to provide its population with the energy needed for socio-economic development. Especially in rural areas, electricity provides a clear pathway to expanded and sustainable energy access. Renewable energy technologies can play a key role in this. Small wind turbines are part of this renewable energy technology.

In a feasibility study, Partners for Innovation found that potentially more than 30.000, currently unelectrified, households can gain access to electricity generated by turbines in the range of 1 – 10 kW. In addition, we found that within a 5-7 year horizon, more than half of the economic value of the turbines can be created through local assembly, manufacturing and construction taking place in Benin itself. In the manufacturing and construction sector alone this would create 50 to 150 jobs annually.

These results, together with an outline for a small wind sector development roadmap, were presented to over 40 local stakeholders on November 30th and December 1st in the Beninese capital of Cotonou. The participants included ministry representatives, private sector representations, academia and a variety of NGO’s (including NGOs focused on youth and female empowerment). Through this session and the incorporation of feedback from the participants, it will become possible to formulate a clear and thought-through strategy.

Want to learn more?


Mainstreaming gender in energy projects: training

Partners for Innovation and MDF offer a free of charge train-the-trainer course for organizations in ECOWAS countries involved in gender mainstreaming in energy projects. This three day course will be held in Accra, early 2018.  We are looking for NGOs or training institutes that have experience with gender and energy-related capacity building. The course, travel and accommodation will be paid for by UNIDO-ECREEE.

Find more details on the training here: ECOWAS Training announcement – incorporating gender-sensitivity in energy practices.

For more information on the project, please contact Stan van den Broek.


RECP Finance Catalyst

Sinds 2016 helpt Partners for Innovation ondernemers om hun duurzame energieprojecten in Sub-Sahara Afrika financieel sluitend te krijgen door het uitvoeren van de RECP Finance Catalyst. De Finance Catalyst biedt directe ondersteuning bij de ontwikkeling, structurering en financiering van projecten en stelt daarmee projectontwikkelaars in staat hun projecten financierbaar te maken en concrete investeringsmogelijkheden te bieden. Voortbouwend op het succes van de afgelopen 1,5 jaar worden deze diensten doorgezet in 2018.

Ondernemers die een nieuw duurzame energieproject in Afrika willen opstarten, kunnen al snel tegen problemen aanlopen die daadwerkelijke realisatie bemoeilijken. Vanwege de relatief beperkte omvang van het project, een gebrek aan ervaring of beperkte connecties van de projectontwikkelaar, blijkt het regelmatig lastig om de financiering te vinden die nodig is om een project van de grond te krijgen. Vice versa zijn ook investeerders niet altijd in staat om veelbelovende projecten te identificeren of verder te brengen, waardoor zij hun impact niet kunnen optimaliseren.

Het project
De RECP Finance Catalyst helpt ondernemers die bezig zijn met het opzetten van kleine tot middelgrote duurzame energieprojecten in Sub-Sahara Afrika door ze ondersteuning te bieden bij en advies te geven over projectontwikkeling, -structurering en -financiering. De afgelopen anderhalf jaar heeft de Finance Catalyst vele privaat-gedreven duurzame energieprojecten geholpen om toegang te krijgen tot verschillende bronnen van vreemd vermogen, eigen vermogen en subsidies. Hierin wordt een diversiteit aan technologieën en businessmodellen meegenomen, waaronder waterkracht en afvalenergiecentrales die op het elektriciteitsnet worden aangesloten alsook losstaande solar home systemen en kookfornuizen.

Initiatiefnemers kunnen hun project indienen via de website van de RECP Finance Catalyst. Projecten die voor advisering in aanmerking willen komen moeten aan een aantal criteria voldoen, die hier worden genoemd. Zo worden alleen projecten geaccepteerd die een cumulatieve generatiecapaciteit van 0.5-50 MW beogen, of een totale investering vragen van tussen de € 1 en 70 miljoen (decentrale energieopwekking wordt ook meengenomen). Kijk voor meer informatie op de website van de RECP Finance Catalyst.

Lees verder:
Finance Catalyst

De Finance Catalyst wordt uitgevoerd binnen de RECP (de Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme). De RECP is een multi-donor programma dat de markt voor duurzame energie in Afrika verder wil brengen. Het is door meer dan 35 landen in Europa en Afrika in het leven geroepen als onderdeel van de AEEP, het partnerschap tussen Afrika en de Europese Unie rondom energie.

Stan van den Broek

Peter Vissers

RECP Finance Catalyst

Partners for Innovation has been assisting renewable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa to reach financial close through implementation of the RECP Finance Catalyst since 2016. By providing support and advice on project development, project structuring and access to finance, project developers are enabled to make their business bankable and create concrete investment opportunities. Building on the success of the past 1,5 year, these services are extended into 2018.

When starting a new renewable energy business in Africa, many entrepreneurs run into challenges that inhibit their project from materializing. Due to the relatively small size of the project or limitations in the developer’s network or experience, it can prove very difficult to identify the sources of finance that the project needs before it can be realised. Vice versa, investors can experience difficulties in identifying and connecting with promising projects, preventing them from optimizing their impact.

The project
The RECP Finance Catalyst provides support and advice on project development, structuring and finance to small- and medium-scale renewable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. For over 1,5 year, the Finance Catalyst has been assisting numerous private sector-driven renewable energy projects to access debt, equity or grants in order to reach financial close. In doing so, a variety of technologies and business models are being covered, including grid-connected hydro and waste-to-energy plants as well as standalone solar home systems and cookstoves.

Project proposals can be submitted online through the website of the RECP Finance Catalyst. The advisory support is available to all proposals that meet a number of criteria, listed here. For example, only projects with a cumulative generation capacity between 0.5-50 MW or aggregated investment in the range of € 1-70 million are eligible (which can include distributed generation). For more information, have a look on the RECP website.

Read more:

The RECP Finance Catalyst is a service of the RECP (the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme), a multi-donor programme that supports the development of markets for renewable energy in Africa. It was launched by more than 35 African and European Ministers and Commissioners under the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP).

Stan van den Broek

Peter Vissers

Subsidy for innovative renewable energy projects – with export potential

From the 1st of July a funding program is open for innovative renewable energy projects. It’s aimed at supporting Dutch entrepreneurs who intend to demonstrate a new renewable energy service or product. Applicants have to present a solid business case and show a potentially high contribution to a sustainable energy system. The product or service has to be passed the prototype stage and be ready for first market introduction.


The budget of the call for proposals is 20 million euro, and will be granted in a tender. Proposals are ranked on basis of quality and receive a subsidy in order of this ranking until the budget is fully allocated. Financing of the applicant’s share needs to be demonstrably arranged at the time of submission. Considered eligible  activities are experimental development (max. 30% of a project) and  demonstration (min. 70%).

Example projects

Examples of projects that are considered eligible are coming from Dutch companies producing new equipment / technologies for converting biomass to electricity / heat, for example biogas digesters (small/medium/large), waste-to-energy installations, pyrolysis installations, biomass gasification or other renewable energy innovations.

Important dates

Project proposals can be submitted from July 1st. The DEI call for proposals closes on October 24th 2017.

  • For more information please contact

Thomas Dietz t.dietz@partnersforinnovation.com

Elke Roetman  e.roetman@partnersforinnovation.com

Partners for Innovation member of the Climate Technology Centre & Network

Partners for Innovation has become a member of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). The network brings together stakeholders engaged in a wide range of activities related to climate technologies.

Climate technology centre and network

The main goal of the network is to promote technologies for low carbon and climate resilient development at the request of developing countries. It provides “technology solutions, capacity building and advice on policy, legal and regulatory frameworks tailored to the needs of individual countries.”

The network can support your climate mitigation and adaptation ambitions and activities, by funding technical support. For questions how to get this support, please contact Emiel Hanekamp. 


Renewable energy in Africa – 12 years of experience

Two pupils of a secondary school in Roermond ask if they can visit Partners of Innovation in Amsterdam. They are writing a paper on renewable energy in South Africa and are eager to ask Emiel some questions. Having twelve years of experience in the field, Emiel is  happy to share some of his experience and inside information.

¨My work on renewable energy in Africa started when we conducted a research for the European Commission in 2005. We wanted to know more about market opportunities for European companies to invest in renewable energy in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Our involvement was surprising to begin with, because no one of our team had ever been there. But we worked together with 15 local advisors.

The European Commission elected our project proposal because of our approach: not only did we want to explore investment opportunities for companies in Europe, we also focused on the people in the countries there. If we want to make a change for the long term, we need to consolidate activities for and with the people living there.

We selected 5 countries in each continent, 5 from Asia, 5 from Latin America and 5 from Africa. Using data from the World Bank, we could extrapolate our findings from these 15 countries to countries we hadn´t researched. In this way, we were able to provide useful information about more than 100 developing countries.

Core of our approach was the contact we had (and made) with local organizations and experts. We found them by searching the internet. Some people came up more than once in our searches and we knew they played an important role. We asked these experts if they wanted to cooperate and get involved in our project.

Key things we wanted to find out was the do´s and don´ts of renewable project investments by looking at the existing ones. What was working well and what was causing problems? This is vital information for new project ideas. To our surprise, we saw that the majority of projects were donor driven, supported by foreign NGO money. Once the money supply stopped, the activities came to an end too. People were unsufficiently attached to the activities to be able to carry them forward without (financial) help from abroad.

Another thing that led to problems were cultural differences. In a project of Solar Home Systems in Indonesia, we saw that the collection of money from the homes with solar panels installed was a problem. The families didn´t trust the guy who was sent to collect the money. The reason, so it turned out to be, was the age of the young man, an older man didn´t have any problems earning the trust and receiving the money.

In the years after 2005 I focused more and more on Sub Saharan Africa. In both Asia and Latin America there was already much work in progress in renewable energy. In Sub Saharan Africa there´s almost nothing, most of the people don´t even have electricity and use traditional fuels like charcoal and fire wood for cooking.

One project that became a success is Bio2Watt in South Africa. Bio2Watt is aimed at producing biofuels using animal (cow) manure. In 2009 I worked on a project proposal to find suitable fiancial funding for the initial idea. At this moment, it´s the largest producer of biofuels in South Africa and probably the whole of Sub Saharan Africa, supplying the BMW factory.¨

What do you think has the most potential in Sub Sahara Afrika?

¨After having experience with all types of renewable energy projects I believe bioenergy has the best chances of financial viability. In this part of the world people are still very dependent on agriculture. It´s the largest economic sector and therefore has the most potential to get results. Now, a lot of organic waste streams and residues are not being re-used but are potentially a great source of energy. The companies that are successful often grow a combination of crops, and don´t just grow one product.

Currently I´m working on a feasablity study on converting household waste to energy in Ogun State in Nigeria. This is a very interesting project, since it´s a new approach for that region. In many places people still use diesel generators, our project aims at replacing them in the future with more sustainable alternatives.¨

Our new colleague Stan on Innovation Sciences

Our new colleague Stan van den Broek has recently graduated in Innovation Sciences. Now that he’s part of Partners for Innovation, he tells us a bit more about what his studies entail.

Stan: ‘In my studies I learned to analyse technological innovations and developments. What makes an innovation successful? To understand the complexity of that, you need to look beyond the technological aspects. That means paying attention to social-economic aspects, governmental policies and psychological factors, like consumer acceptance and relevant patents.

energy transition

In my Master’s, I focused on the energy transition. This is a fundamental change in our society; so I wanted to consider small scale projects as well as the bigger trends. The rise of small, residential energy companies fit in the bigger trend of decentralised energy production: producing energy close to where it is used.

Did you research the energy transition for your thesis?

For my thesis I researched the ways in which the governments of Germany and the US tried to facilitate energy innovations in their country. This varied from funding radical new technologies like electrofuels to establishing large-scale networks in order to make the national energy system more flexible. I looked at the different policy instruments that these countries use – or not use – and how that matched the national culture and belief system.

For example, the US is a very competitive country, whereas in Germany people are generally more inclined to cooperate. These culturally ingrained beliefs are reflected in the way renewable energy innovations are (financially) supported. In Germany you’ll find more opportunities for public participation than in the US.

innovation sciences

-How do you see the link between your studies and your work for PfI?

I have a wide interest in technological innovations and current developments. Innovation processes are often complex and require a multi-layer approach. In analysing the rise of the private use of solar panels, we need to take into account its technology, its aesthetics (how they look on the roof) and the financial return. At Partners for Innovation, I get the chance to help companies and governments achieve their sustainability goals, using this multi-layer approach.

-Your personal mission is ‘accelerate towards a sustainable and fair future, by helping small scale innovations’. Explain.

Individual projects and complex changes influence each other. A lot of small changes will lead to a big one, but this also happens the other way around: a system can make small projects possible. What I mean by this is if we want to make the world a little better, we need to put our efforts in small scale projects, with keeping our eye on the bigger picture. That’s what I’m doing at Partners for Innovation.


Stan van den Broek s.vandenbroek@partnersforinnovation.com

The Finance Catalyst – open for project proposals

From September Partners for Innovation is welcoming project proposals on renewable energy in Sub Saharan Africa. Working for the Finance Catalyst, we offer support & advice on project development, -structuring and finance. The Finance Catalyst links small-and medium-scale renewable energy projects to finance opportunities.

Africa-EU Energy Partnership

De Finance Catalyst is carried out through the RECP (the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme). The RECP is a multi-donor programme that supports the development of markets for renewable energy in Africa. It was launched by more than 35 African and European Ministers and Commissioners under the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP).


Project proposals can be submitted online through the RECP website. The advisory support is available to all proposals that meet a number of criteria. Only projects with a cumulative generation capacity between 0.5-50 MW or aggregated investments in the range of € 1-70 million are eligible (this can include distributed generation). Also, projects must be situated in sub-Saharan Africa. The remaining criteria are found on the RECP website.

Read more about the Finance Catalyst

Read more about the RECP


Thomas Dietz t.dietz@partnersforinnovation.com

Peter Vissers p.vissers@partnersforinnovation.com

Renewable energy in Zimbabwe: opportunities for Dutch companies?

In the face of an energy crisis worsened by El Niño droughts, the government of Zimbabwe has been directing its efforts towards renewable energy sources. As such, it’s providing investment and tender opportunities for companies that have the  expertise  to  set up, structure   and   implement  projects that contribute to the generation of renewable energy in Zimbabwe.

Knowledge & skills

Dutch companies are known to have relevant knowledge and skills in this regard, providing opportunities for the expansion of their activities to the Sub-Saharan market. To better support them in seizing these opportunities, the  RVO and the Dutch Embassy in Harare are keen to learn which companies would be interested in this new market.

Is your company involved in renewable energy and potentially interested to do business in Zimbabwe?  Please contact us: