First-ever Ugandan P-RECs provide funding for community streetlights
The regions of the world most affected by crises tend to be those most vulnerable to climate change, and are largely excluded from climate finance flows and related investment. In addition, conflict-affected communities tend to experience high levels of energy poverty and face issues like hunger, malnutrition, and lack of basic human necessities. Peace Renewable Energy Credits (P-RECS) have the potential to expand the renewable energy revolution to vulnerable regions, improve quality of life, and create economic opportunities. A P-REC is an International Renewable Energy Credit (I-REC) with an additional certification by Energy Peace Partners (EPP) of the social and economic co-benefits associated with the project.
Developers like Winch Energy are extending the benefits of solar energy to countries in Africa, where REC markets have yet to be fully developed. In Northern Uganda’s Lamwo district, Winch recently equipped 25 villages with 40kWp off-grid solutions, also known as Remote Power Units (RPU), all of which have been commissioned and are fully operational as of June 2022.
In a second phase, 6,000 portable batteries will be deployed for villagers that reside too far to gain direct access to the power unit. Developed specifically to broaden access to reliable, affordable clean energy in off-grid communities, Winch’s off-grid solutions enhance public services such as healthcare and education, create new economic opportunities, and improve overall living conditions.
Starting in 2022, approximately 900 P-RECs are projected to be issued each year, although energy production will be dependent on energy off-taker demand. These would be the first P-RECs to be issued and sold from Uganda. P-REC purchases from Winch’s off-grid plants in Lamwo will fund the phased implementation of a community solar project that will improve safety and security and support livelihoods.
Photo courtesy of Winch Energy
+ The solar mini grids reduce the need for carbon intensive forms of energy that are typical in Northern Uganda. This has a direct climate mitigation impact by reducing local air pollution produced by previous sources of energy (e.g., kerosene) and decreasing carbon emissions.
+ Winch’s solar sites are providing first-time electrification to underserved and underdeveloped rural communities. The solar sites are creating around 32 permanent jobs, with many more having been provided during the construction phase. As household connections increase, take-up of productive use appliances will stimulate the local economy.
+ The mini-grid and streetlight projects will provide cold storage for community health centers, allowing the storage of medicines and vaccines. Access to regular lighting will greatly increase the quality of maternal care.
+ The P-REC-funded community streetlights will increase safety and security and allow local businesses to stay open longer by operating night markets. The electricity connections enabled by the solar mini grids will increase overall quality of life for rural Ugandan households. For example, lighting will allow more children to attend school, while productive use of electricity will support socio-economic development, including women-led businesses.
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