Renewable Energy: decentralised solutions in agri-food chain

  • 10th October 2016
  • by secretary

Renewable Energy Benefits: Decentralised solutions in agri-food chain

 IRENA The International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi.
September 2016, 57 pages

The number of people without access to electricity is estimated at more than a billion, while almost 2.9 billion still rely on traditional, unsustainable biomass sources such as firewood for cooking and heating. About 80% of those lacking modern energy access live in rural areas, which also host more than 70% of the world’s poor.

Agriculture and related agri-food activities are at the heart of the rural economy. However, rural communities struggling with expensive or inadequate power supplies are often limited to producing low-quality goods with little diversity. Extending affordable, secure and environmentally sustainable energy to underserved rural areas can drive community development, strengthen livelihoods and improve the quality of life.

Off-grid renewables can support productive activity at all stages of the agri-food chain, from irrigation to support food production, through post-harvest processes, including agro-processing and food preservation for storage and transport. Modern renewable technologies also allow sustainable food preparation and cooking.

This IRENA study analyses the benefits of introducing off-grid technologies for agriculture. Maximising the benefits of decentralised renewables depends on effective policies and regulations, appropriate business models, and integrated resource management.

The study finds that introducing these technologies in rural areas can boost agricultural productivity, reduce food losses, thereby improving food security and helping to address malnutrition, and increase resilience to climate variability.


Innovation Outlook: Renewable mini-grids
This report examines ground-breaking innovations that can help to unlock future power supply for unserved areas and communities through the rapid roll-out of mini-grids based on solar, wind or other renewable sources.

Solar PV in Africa: Costs and Markets
Abstract: The report discusses challenges in policy making and proposes a co-ordinated effort to collect data on the installed costs of solar PV in Africa, across all market segments to improve the efficiency of policy support and accelerate deployment.

The Global Atlas for Solar and Wind Energy project aims to create a collaborative internet basedGeographic Information System (GIS) forwind and solar resources that can direct and enhance cooperation on global scenarios and strategies and support decision-making, especially in areas where existing information is insufficient.