Powering Agriculture Publishes Annual Report
Dec. 19, 2016—Powering Agriculture publishes 2016 Annual Report covering key activities Oct. 2015 – Sep. 2016. Chapter 1 provides a program overview; Chapter 2 highlights the year’s activities; Chapter 3 focuses on Innovator activities, impact, and support provided; Chapter 4 describes gender integration efforts.
Powering Agriculture recently published our Financial Year 2016 Annual Report. It was a busy year for our Innovators and the Initiative.
Program highlights included:
- The week-long Powering Agriculture Xcelerator (PAX) training during which innovators focused on the critical components of their strategy to market, including product-market fit, market validation, and financial sustainability.
- The November 2015 Powering Agriculture Innovator Showcase and the June 2016 Agriculture Innovation Investment Summit, both of which introduced innovators to investors, donors and representatives from development organizations, through pitch sessions, TED-style talks, and innovation marketplaces.
- The successful launch and execution of a free, 8-week Massive Open Online Course, with nearly 1,700 participants worldwide.
- Publication of the “Opportunities for Agri-food Chains to become Energy-Smart” study, prepared in conjunction with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), emphasizing the importance of assessing value chains from a nexus perspective to identify clean energy solutions for reducing GHG emissions.
- Completion of program- and Innovator-level mid-term reviews that present findings and recommendations that will be used to make mid-course adjustments to improve the effectiveness of the program going forward.
Powering Agriculture Innovators made quite an impact over the year. Their reported results included:
- 14 clean energy solutions have been developed, with 65 kilowatts of clean energy generation capacity installed.
- 190 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) has been reduced as a result of Powering Agriculture field activities.
- Nearly 7,000 farmers and households have benefited from clean energy solutions funded by Powering Agriculture; 30 percent of those beneficiaries are women.
- USD $4 million in additional funding was mobilized from public and private investments as a result of Powering Agriculture.
For more information on Innovator activities, see Chapter 3 of the report.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures Fund Launches
In December, the $1 billion Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) fund was announced, with a focus on fighting climate change by investing in clean energy innovation. The fund is made up members of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, with leadership composed of entrepreneurial investors and scientists. The fund is focused on providing seed, angel and Series A investments to early stage companies in order to get the most transformative ideas out of the lab and on the path to commercialization. The fund will make investment decisions based on four criteria: climate impact, potential to attract capital from outside sources, scientific possibility, and filling the gaps for companies that need BEV’s unique attributes, which include patience and flexible investment capabilities.
Agriculture is one of the 5 sectors of focus for the BEV which demonstrates the growing recognition of opportunities in the clean energy/ag nexus. The global energy market is currently sized at $US 6 trillion, with energy demand expected to grow by one-third by 2040. BEV was started to take advantage of this tremendous investment opportunity, while addressing the challenges that come with investing in new energy technologies.
Innovators in the News
The past few months have included some great news for several of our Innovators! Congratulations to all!
Village Infrastructure Angels has been chosen as a finalist in the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance's Fire Awards. Winners will receive support from a working group of experts to achieve the next steps in expanding their model and impact. Best of luck to everyone at VIA!
The Forbes 30 Under 30 has been announced, and SunCulture's Samir Ibrahim has been honored for his work in the energy industry. The 30 Under 30 list highlights 600 of the brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers. Congratulations to everyone at SunCulture!
The longlist for the 2017 Ashden Awards has been announced, and Powering Agriculture Innovators Futurepump and SunCulture are on it! Awards range from £10,000 to £20,000. Shortlists will be announced in March, with the Awards to be presented in London on June 15, 2017.
In other news:
Powering Agriculture & Innovators Sundanzer, Husk Power Systems, Futurepump and SunCulture are featured in a brief issued by SEED discussing ways in which policymakers catalyze development of the energy/agriculture nexus in East Africa.
Milk produced by Indian dairy farmers must get to processing centres before it spoils; otherwise, farmers aren't paid. Without reliable refrigeration, this is a challenge. To help, Promethean Power Systems developed a milk chiller that operates on a thermal energy battery.
A solar-powered pump from Futurepump is helping a farmer push water into two upstream ponds where he is rearing tilapia. After seeing the efficiency of the solar-powered pump for irrigation, he decided to start fish farming to make use of the free sun when the machine is not needed for irrigation.
Stories from the Field: Innovators In Action
After some unexpected delays in getting their tractor parts through customs, Motivo Engineering began field testing at a farming village in India in November 2016. This testing has focused on identifying any technical and operator training issues.
Village Infrastructure Angels
Village Infrastructure Angels (VIA) recently held a technology demonstration day in Vanuatu, sharing a range of solar-powered mills with potential customers. The mills are used to process staples crops such as cassava, corn, and rice. The day was a great success, with orders being placed for 230 machines!
Powering Agriculture’s Dr. Augusta Abrahamse will be running a panel at the VentureWell Open called “Lessons Learned by Early-stage Clean Tech Innovators in Developing Countries". The conference will be held Mar. 23–25, 2017, in Washington, D.C.