HELIO Monthly Digest – March

Jay Owen Green Prosperity

Mar. 2013

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Monitoring Progress on Energy & Ecodevelopment 

Two articles in this month’s Digest highlight innovations that can be used to support the provision of clean, safe, energy services. One is the use of crowdfunding to quickly raise needed capital for clean, energy projects.  The other is the idea of machine-to-machine technology to increase the delivery of energy services.  Both give food-for-thought as to how use existing approaches to benefit the penetration of renewables in the energy mix. We hope you find them –and the other articles in this month’s Digest– informative!

Poor people’s energy
Poor People’s Energy Outlook is an annual Practical Action publication that drawing links between energy access and earning a living in poor countries around the world. The 2013 edition was launched in early March. This year’s report looks at the energy needs of community services; it outlines how to define and measure progress; and recommends that the ecosystems approach to evaluating the enabling environment be adopted more widely.

This interesting blog by Sierra Club’s Justin Guay describes a developing field called Machine to Machine (M2M) technology. M2M refers to the ability of one machine e.g. a cell phone to communicate with another e.g. a solar array via wireless networks. M2M can provide remote monitoring and operation, data collection and insights into consumer behavior (which ultimately improves product design). However the author argues that real potential for M2M is the ability to unlock business models that deliver basic services such as distributed energy. Give his blog  and read and see what you think.

In January 2013 a company, called Mosaic, made headlines in the renewable energy world when it introduced a crowd-funding platform that makes it possible for small, non-accredited investors to earn interest financing clean energy projects. In the New York Time’s Opinonator section,  David Bornstein talks about how crowdfunding could be used to accelerate the penetration of renewables. Perhaps it’s time to start lobbying the World Bank and other large donors to support this innovative approach!

From vision to action
new report from the World Future Council aims to educate and inspire a wide range of stakeholders who must engage if the goal of 100% RE in the European Region is to be achieved.  The report provides an in-depth policy analysis of renewable energy, front-runner countries –Germany, Denmark and Austria– and identifies successful policy elements and instruments.

Weather on command

This is a new interactive online platformthat provides access to localised weather data that can be used in planning of energy and development initiatives. aWhere offers offers free access to historical, daily-observed and 8 days of daily forecasted ‘localised’ weather data for key variables including temperature, precipitation, humidity, min/max wind speed and accumulative growing degree days. Weather data can be accessed online, or sent through daily or weekly emailed weather reports. Currently the site provides daily observed weather for East Africa, West Africa, South Asia, USA, Canada and South America, in 9km increments.  Information for Central America, China and South East Asia will be published soon.

Africa’s renewable future
This new publication looks at the potential of renewables as a main driver of Africa’s economic growth.  The report also points to the important role of policymakers in establishing appropriate policies and promoting collaboration at the regional level. A series of examples –where this change has already happened– are also presented.

Lecture series
The International Center for Climate Governance (ICCG) has produced a series of video-lectures on climate change governance. The first series looks at the issue of energy poverty.  The lectures are given by internationally renowned experts but are readily accessible to non-specialists.  Currently the following videos are available:

  • Defining and measuring energy-access and energy-poverty
  • The energy poverty cycle and its drivers
  • Financing energy access

?A second video-lecture series on integrated assessment models will be launched in April.


HELIO member, Bernard Chabot, has just produced a new paper that compares the potential long term feed-in-tariffs for nuclear and renewables, using the UK as a case study. The report concludes that the potential nuclear feed-in-tariffs do not represent an economic advantage when compared to renewables. 

New resources  

Since the last Digest, IRENA’s Global Atlas has been updated.  The site now includes new resource maps, updates to the data catalog and availability of new tutorials. Give it a look-over. 


Don’t forget to consult the Carbon Market Watch Newsletter. Produced monthly, this newsletter contains lots of valuable information on efforts to empower local communities and strengthen the environmental integrity of carbon markets. Subscribe today!

More news…

Another useful resource for overall sustainable development news is the Stakeholder Forum. The March issues looks specifically at stakeholder engagement for good governance.

Come “tweet with us!

Don’t forget that HELIO is now on Twitter.  Follow us at @HELIOInt to keep up to date with what we are up to.