USAID-NREL Partnership Newsletter – Summer 2020

Read our Summer 2020 issue for updates on our country activities, events, global technical platforms, and resources.

The USAID-NREL Partnership addresses critical challenges to scaling up advanced energy systems through global tools and technical assistance, including the Renewable Energy Data Explorer, Greening the Grid, the International Jobs and Economic Development Impacts tool, and the Resilient Energy Platform.

Featured News

Resilient Energy Platform Focuses on Power Sector Cybersecurity

Numerous heliostats on a flat landscape with mountains in the background.
The Crescent Dunes Solar Thermal Facility in Tonapah, Nevada owned by SolarReserve. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL
As more smart devices are added to our evolving grid networks, it is critical to address cybersecurity risks and concerns continually and rigorously. We have already seen that malware attacks can shut off power for thousands of citizens, grind industries to a halt, and present major security issues. Now that we are in the age of COVID-19 and experiencing widespread teleworking, understanding cybersecurity and how it impacts power system resilience is particularly timely and compelling.

USAID and NREL are well positioned to assist developing nations with strengthening their power grids against cybersecurity attacks. The strategies, resources, and frameworks USAID and NREL can offer help mitigate cybersecurity gaps in utility planning by informing policies and controls for cyber governance, technical management, and physical security of distributed energy systems. Looking forward, we hope the cybersecurity research and analysis produced by NREL can enable USAID partner countries to create stronger, more reliable, and resilient power systems that are more impervious to cyberattacks.

The Resilient Energy Platform has developed a wealth of resources targeted for cybersecurity in the international context, which you can find below. Additionally, read USAID and NREL Curate Resilience Solutions for International Power System Planners to learn more about how the Resilient Energy Platform supports international power system planning .

Jeremy Foster and Sarah Lawson
USAID, Office of Energy and Infrastructure

Wind turbines along a coast with mountains in the background.
Bangui Wind Farm is a wind farm in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. Photo by iStock

Advanced Energy Partnership for Asia Channels Expertise from U.S. Department of Energy Labs to Southeast Asia’s Energy Sector

USAID's Regional Development Mission in Asia and NREL are leading the Advanced Energy Partnership for Asia, a collaboration between USAID and the U.S. Department of Energy's national laboratories that supports the Asia Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy (EDGE) initiative. The focus of the collaboration is to enable advanced energy systems for secure, resilient, and sustainable economic growth across Asia. Key opportunities within partner countries include:

  • Improving utility performance
  • Fostering supportive policy, legal, and regulatory environments for private sector deployment and investment in advanced energy systems
  • Creating a level playing field for U.S. and other companies through transparent, best-value procurement
  • Advancing regional integration to facilitate efficient cross-border energy trade.

Through the Advanced Energy Partnership for Asia, the NREL team published a report assessing the impacts and opportunities related to COVID-19's effect on the power sector in Southeast Asia. The report has received widespread distribution through events such as the Asia Clean Energy Forum. To learn more about the Advanced Energy Partnership for Asia, visit the program page on our website or download the fact sheet.

What's New

USAID-NREL Partnership Offers Solutions To Improve Distributed Photovoltaic Deployment in India

Female in a yellow safety vest and hard hat smiling next to solar photovoltaic panels.
Photo by iStock
As part of a long-term effort to facilitate the distributed photovoltaic (DPV) market design in India, the USAID-NREL Partnership released two reports that address deployment concerns for DPV technology. Distributed Solar Quality and Safety in India calls attention to common quality and safety issues at various stages of a rooftop photovoltaic system’s life and offers solutions for addressing them, while An Overview of Behind-the-Meter Solar-Plus-Storage Program Design presents regulatory considerations for DPV-plus-storage program design for retail customers with considerations for India. Although the two reports assess different aspects of DPV deployment, they share the broader conclusion that there is tremendous opportunity for India's leaders to create supportive standards and regulatory frameworks to enable DPV deployment at scale and meet India's ambitious renewable energy integration targets.

Learn more about this analysis and how USAID and NREL are supporting DPV deployment in India in the full-length news article.

Haiti Energy Access Partnership Will Provide Training and Assistance for Minigrid Scale-Up 

USAID/Haiti is partnering with NREL in a new collaboration called the Haiti Energy Access Partnership. This partnership will provide technical support to increase access to reliable, affordable electricity in Haiti via strategic planning, sector reform, and integration of private sector management expertise. Much of the partnership's work will focus on enabling minigrid development, such as adapting NREL's Quality Assurance Framework to the Haitian context and assisting the Government of Haiti with developing a consistent and transparent nationwide minigrid policy and accompanying regulatory framework. Additionally, NREL will provide training to selected minigrid developers to enable quality minigrid development and sustainable operations.

Read more about how NREL and Haiti have collaborated on deploying minigrids.

USAID/India Launches South Asia Group for Energy Consortium with U.S. Department of Energy National Labs

The South Asia Group for Energy (SAGE) consists of USAID, the U.S. Department of Energy, and three of its national laboratories: NREL, the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and the Pacific Northwest National Lab. The consortium's goal is to equip USAID partner governments in South Asia with critical information and consultation to enable strategic energy investments along the region's path to self-reliance. Some of the planned key activities will include partnering directly with India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and its technical institutions, the National Institute of Wind Energy and the National Institute of Biomass Energy, on understanding the feasibility and impact of biomass and renewable energy hybrid systems, performing economic and environmental assessments of agriculture and bioenergy development, and advancing short- and long-term forecasting capabilities for wind and solar resources. More resources and analysis from the South Asia Group for Energy will be made available as the consortium moves forward.

Energy Efficiency Resources Now Accessible at New Energy Efficiency for Development Website

World globe laying on grass with clouds and sky in the background.
Photo by iStock
USAID and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab launched a new website for the global initiative Energy Efficiency for Development (EE4D), whose mission is to scale up energy efficiency and achieve more resilient and sustainable economic development in partner countries. The website will provide general information about the program’s activities and serve as a repository of resources that partners can access as part of their participation in the initiative.

Established through a partnership between USAID’s Energy and Infrastructure Office of the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment (E3) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, EE4D provides technical assistance in the areas of regulatory support, market priming, and financing and policy planning to implement energy efficiency interventions rapidly and effectively. Through EE4D, USAID will promote key Energy Efficiency Building Blocks supporting adoption of the world’s most energy-efficient technologies at a cost that is accessible to their citizens and businesses and provides a strong return on investment.


WATCH: Asia EDGE Power Sector Learning Series

The Asia EDGE Power Sector Learning Series is underway. This series of webinars is hosted by USAID-NREL's Advanced Energy Partnership for Asia and USAID's Clean Power Asia with support from USAID's Regional Development Mission for Asia and the E3 Energy Division. So far, the series hosted three webinars:

  • A Practitioner's Guide to Implementing Solar Rooftop Programs and Navigating Net-Metering Policies
  • Open-Source Tools and Data for Clean Energy Decision Making
  • Exploring Emerging Trends and Technologies in Distributed Energy Resources.

WATCH: Scaling Up Renewable Energy

With good design and planning, it is possible to launch a renewable energy industry that contributes to a cleaner environment and promotes innovation and development that is fair, transparent, and economically viable. As a continuation of the USAID-NREL Partnership’s ongoing work to assist the Government of Bangladesh in promoting investment in wind energy, a series of webinars explores in-depth topics related to successfully scaling up renewable energy projects. The Wind Technology Overview and Wind Development Overview webinars include a primer on the importance of data-driven decision-making and a tutorial on how to use RE Data Explorer, a geospatial tool that supports renewable energy investment. The Procurement Design and Bidding Simulation and Renewable Energy Project and Procurement Bankability webinars include in-depth discussions on feed-in tariffs and negotiated competitive procurements. Participants also watched simulations that illustrated the pros and cons of different procurement methods, demystified power procurement and implementation agreements, and suggested tools for reducing project risks.

Must Reads

Please explore the diverse publications published by the USAID-NREL Partnership:

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