Ethiopia Launches Recommended Standards on Renewable Energy

May 24, 2018

Only 5% of rural households in Ethiopia have access to modern energy technologies. Setting and implementing standards, particularly on renewable energy, is key to enhance the sustainable market based solutions in the off-grid areas. 

On May 24th Ethiopia will launch its national standards on solar home systems, biomass cooking and baking stoves. The launch took place in Adama during a multi-stakeholder consultation that will look at ways of strengthening the regulatory and legal frameworks related to renewable energy. 

Opening the consultation, Dr. Firehiwot Kebede, State Minister at the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy noted, "We are here today to build the foundation that will help solar power to become a significant contributor to Ethiopia’s energy security. This workshop will also review the solar technology standards developed and discuss the implementation strategy for its enforcement."

The standards were developed as part of the Promoting Sustainable Rural Energy Technologies (RETs) for Households and Productive Uses Project. This intervention which is under implementation has created a strong partnership bringing together the Government (Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change) UNDP, UNCDF and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). 

Speaking on behalf of UNDP, Mr. James Wakiaga, Economics Advisory and head of the Policy Advisory Unit, reflected that, "This intervention is focusing on renewable energy through two complementary lenses – tackling access while at the same time helping to create jobs. This dual approach is expected to enhance the impact on the environment – through reducing Ethiopia’s energy-related emissions by approximately 2 million tonnes - and contribute to the economy through improved markets and new jobs."

Following setting the standard, the issue of enforcing is critical as there are a lot of complains by the end users as well as regional energy bureaus on the qualities of the technology products being disseminated in the country. Therefore establishing a strong and workable system that gives an opportunity for suppliers to import and distribute quality technology products for the user communities and that enable to control illegal import and, legal and illegal distribution and sale of sub-standard technology products in the country is of paramount importance. This in turn is expected to increase the trust and satisfaction of the consumer and interest to use the technology products, and encourages investments in the sector.

The workshop brought together selected and key stakeholders from main government institutions that are highly involved in the checking, permitting and controlling loop of renewable energy technologies production, importation and dissemination in the country, private sectors and regional energy bureaus. By bringing these stakeholders together, the workshop aimed to introduce and popularize the set standards by the project on improved biomass stoves and solar home systems and   create a common understanding of the major bottlenecks in the sector related to the set standards.

By 2020 around four million people, approximately 800,000 households, will be targeted by the current intervention to benefit from investments in small-scale solar home system products and improved cook-stoves technologies.

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