Clean Energy in Island Settings (Webinar)

11 March 2015

The Clean Energy Solutions Center, in partnership the United Nations Foundation’s Energy Access Practitioner Network and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), hosted this webinar to showcase IRENA’s work on capacity building and assessment of non-conventional renewables in island settings. This webinar was part of the broader work that the UN Foundation is undertaking on energy access within the UN and the World Bank’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

Islands face particular energy challenges. Costly imports of fossil fuels can burden island budgets and inhibit investment in socioeconomic development. Indigenous renewable energy resources, in contrast, can reduce this import dependence while creating important local business and employment opportunities. Energy access solutions developed in islands could be of value not only to island states, but also to other countries with islands or “virtual islands” far from transmission grids that share the burden of high energy costs.

The speakers in this session showcased financing models and capacity building efforts tailored to clean energy in island settings. They elaborated on their current and future activities on resource assessments of renewables in the geographic contexts of the Pacific, Indian Ocean and Caribbean region, and they presented their respective challenges and successes to help to provide collective best practices.

The presentations were followed by an interactive Q & A session with the audience.


Yasemin ErboyYasemin Erboy, Senior Associate, Energy Access

Yasemin Erboy is a Senior Associate with the UN Foundation's Energy Access team, primarily coordinating efforts to scale up energy access in developing countries. She manages member relations for the Energy Access Practitioner Network and leads research work within the Network. Yasemin majored in environmental science at Columbia University and gained her master's degree in environmental management at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, with a focus on climate change and resource management.

Stewart CraineStewart Craine, Founder and Managing Director, Village Infrastructure Angels

Stewart Craine is the founder and Managing Director of Village Infrastructure Angels (VIA), and the engineering/technical manager. Stewarts' experience includes project design and development in micro/mini hydropower design, large-scale wind farms, off-grid hybrid systems and engineering software development. Stewart spent six years as founder and CEO of Barefoot Power, as well as four years with Hydro Tasmania and two years as a volunteer project manager in Nepal. Stewart's current focus is to make solar energy affordable to everyone through assisting investors and entrepreneurs to lend energy assets to villagers for 3-10 years. Current VIA projects include long term energy lending with solar charging stations and mini-grids in countries like Ghana, Vanuatu, Indonesia, Nepal and Honduras, while other current projects are mapping energy access data from around the world including millions of off-grid household locations, using mapping for infrastructure planning and productive (non-lighting) uses of renewable energy for villages.

Stéphane TromilinStéphane Tromilin, Energy Project Manager, French Development Agency

After having obtained a mechanical engineering degree from ICAM and a master of science in sustainable development at HEC, Stéphane joined the climate change division of the French Development Agency, a bilateral donor providing ODA loans, on energy related matters. He was then posted in Johannesburg where he covered AFD’s energy portfolio for all of Southern Africa (€205 M)and thereafter in Mexico where he was in charge of AFD’s climate change policy loan portfolio (€465 M). Stéphane has been project manager at AFD’s headquarters in Paris since 3 years and is in charge of energy projects financing in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Burkina Faso, Dominican Republic and Ecuador.

Yao ZhaoYao Zhao, Junior Professional Associate, Global Renewable Energy Islands Network (GREIN)

Yao works at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) as a Junior Professional Associate. His work primarily focuses on helping small island developing states (SIDS) develop renewable energy projects under the Global Renewable Energy Islands Networks (GREIN). Prior to IRENA, Yao worked on financing of renewable mini-grids in rural India with the Rockefeller Foundation. His professional interests lie in financing of renewable energy projects in emerging markets. Born and raised in China, he has work experience in China, India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the United States. Yao has a master’s degree of Development Economics and Energy Policy from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Chitra NarayanswamyChitra Narayanswamy, Programme Officer, Technology Support and Partnerships, IRENA

Chitra Narayanswamy works with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Abu Dhabi as Programme Officer, Technology Support and Partnerships. Her area of focus is on minigrids as a solution for energy access through hybridized systems where renewable energy systems integrated with diesel gensets helps reduce diesel consumption and minigrids fully operated on RE systems. Prior to IRENA, Chitra worked with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), New Delhi on climate change mitigation projects, demonstrating energy efficiency and renewable energy approaches. She has freelanced in south of India, working with key NGOs and state governments on projects pertaining to use of clean energy for rural applications and energy consumption pattern in cities. Chitra has a Master’s degree in Physics from the University of Toledo, Ohio (United States) with a research focus on thin-film solar cells that she carried out at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).