Stimulating Demand and Economic Development with Electrification

Electrification’s ultimate measure of success—and its real contribution—is to both meet basic humanitarian needs and underpin economic development. There is no benefit to electricity access unless affordable, reliable electricity supply is accompanied by the means to use that power. At the same time, customers who use increasing amounts of electricity drive financial viability for the system by spreading high fixed costs over more electricity sales. Stimulating end-use consumption is both an end and a means of the energy access agenda.

Electrifying productive uses is critical to enabling access to sustainable, commercially -led electricity in un- and under-served rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Agricultural activities are the bedrock of the local economies in these communities. Yet, agriculture and electricity actors rarely coordinate to understand which agricultural activities to electrify (and where) to generate win-win opportunities for both sectors.

Many commercial electricity providers lack the knowledge of and linkages to the agricultural sector or the necessary financial resources to develop productive uses.

As a result, most investments in rural electrification are not accompanied by a surge of income-generating activity. To address this gap, RMI is working with partners in Nigeria and Ethiopia to develop and pilot innovative productive use business models that meet the needs of local entrepreneurs, their communities, and minigrid operators.

To learn more about RMI’s work focusing on productive use, view the blogs and reports below.

Articles on Productive Use

Powering Electric Two- and Three-Wheelers with Rural Minigrids in Nigeria and India

A growing renewable minigrid industry and a booming market for two- and three-wheeled electric vehicles opens the door for minigrid-powered EVs to become the option of first resort for families and businesses with the ability to invest in motorized transport.

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REA Launches New Program to Boost GDP, Accelerate Renewable Energy and Unlock Agricultural Productivity in Nigeria

The Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency, in collaboration with RMI and supported by the GEAPP, launches the Energizing Agriculture Program to catalyze economic development and improve rural livelihoods in Nigeria through linking minigrids and agricultural productivity

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Electrifying Agriculture in Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, major institutions recognize that supporting productive uses of energy is key to achieve the national target of universal electrification.

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Electrifying Nigerian Agriculture with Clean Minigrids to Improve Livelihoods

A new Power Africa study finds immediate opportunity to initiate and scale the productive use of energy from Nigerian minigrids by electrifying three prevalent agricultural processing activities.

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Improving Reliability for Underserved Communities

How Lessons from Nigeria Could Strengthen the Indian Electricity Grid

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Synchronizing Agriculture and Distributed Energy Can Reduce Nigeria’s Oil Dependency

What if it was possible to boost both national and local economies while increasing energy access and saving rural residents money?

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It Takes a Village

Ethiopia Builds on Global Minigrid Experience

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Agriculture, Rural Electrification, and Community Resilience in Ethiopia

Amid the widespread global disruptions caused by COVID-19, Ethiopia has also been facing the worst desert locust infestation in over 25 years.

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Closing the Circuit: Fostering end-use demand for rural electrification in Sub-Saharan Africa

Imagine a world in which Internet service providers connect more and more households to high-speed Internet, giving them the ability to watch all the shows available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other content providers.

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Reports and Insight Briefs

Powering Two- and Three-Wheeled Electric Vehicles with Minigrids to Provide Cost-Competitive Mobility in Rural Communities

The study shows that renewable minigrids can power two- and three-wheeled electric vehicles (EVs) that are cheaper to own and operate than fossil-fueled alternatives. In turn, charging those EVs can bolster electricity sales for the rural utility and decrease electricity prices for all.

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Productive Uses of Energy in Ethiopia

This study identifies opportunities to electrify agricultural productive uses today, how they can be developed through feasible business models, and the strategies and initiatives stakeholders can use to overcome barriers to deployment.

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Nigeria Power Sector Program Agricultural Productive Use Stimulation in Nigeria

Value Chain and Minigrid Feasibility Study

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Capturing the Productive Use Dividend

Valuing the Synergies between Rural Electrification and Smallholder Agriculture in Ethiopia

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Closing the Circuit, Stimulating End-Use Demand For Rural Electrification

Electrification’s ultimate measure of success in developing nations—and its real contribution—is to both meet basic humanitarian needs and underpin economic development.

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