27 October 2016
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Presentation—Introduction to the webinar and panelists
Presentation—Toby Couture: How to Maintain Quality Standards in Rural Electrification (Webinar Presentation)
Transcript—Webinar audio transcript
The Clean Energy Solutions Center, in partnership with E3 Analytics and the Club of National Agencies and Structures in charge of Rural Electrification (CLUB-ER), hosted this webinar on standards for rural electrification.
The issue of maintaining quality in rural electrification cuts to the heart of the success of electrification initiatives. If the overall design of the project suffers from significant engineering flaws, or if components are sub-standard, projects may fall short of their expected useful life and leave rural residents to abandon the projects and revert to previous modes of energy use such as kerosene, candles, and household diesel generators. This pushes up the cost of providing access to modern energy services and slows down the uptake of cleaner and more sustainable energy technologies. Thus, maintaining high standards in rural electrification is critical to successful off-grid electrification initiatives. With the flood of low-cost components entering into many African markets from abroad, this challenge has become even more acute.
This training provided an overview of some of the key issues relating to the importance of maintaining a high level of quality both in the components and in the design of rural electrification projects. The training covered, among others, the following questions:
- How can higher standards in rural electrification projects be ensured?
- What are the different ways in which project installations can be verified for quality control?
- What is the role of international standards (e.g., ISO) and national product certification?
- How can governments control the influx of low-cost, poor quality components?
- How can higher quality standards be built into government procurement processes as well as into rural electrification concession agreements?
The webinar presentations were followed by an interactive question and answer session with the audience.
Toby Couture is Founder and Director of E3 Analytics, an international renewable energy consultancy based in Berlin, Germany. He works on a wide range of topics in renewable energy including policy and regulatory analysis, market research, strategy consulting, and finance. He has worked extensively with policymakers and regulators on renewable energy strategy and has advised over forty national governments around the world. He is the author of several reports on renewable energy policy, and has partnered with several leading international organizations working to support the scale-up of clean energy, including IRENA, the IEA, GIZ, UNEP, UNIDO, as well as the IFC. Prior to founding E3 Analytics in 2009, Mr. Couture worked as Energy and Financial Markets Analyst at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Colorado. Toby is a previous recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship, has studied renewable energy finance in France and obtained a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy from the University of Moncton in Canada, as well as an MSc. in Financial and Commercial Regulation from the London School of Economics in the UK. He currently lives in Berlin.