Energy Efficiency and Productive Use of Electricity in Women Businesses in Uganda

Energy Empower East Africa is a woman-focused demand-side program that seeks to unlock the benefits of modern energy access for women, highlighting the crucial role of women in driving Productive Use of Electricity (PUE) initiatives.

During program implementation, EEEA identified critical gaps and constraints that inhibit women from leveraging on energy efficient and productive use technologies.

To address this, EEEA entered into a Memorandum Of Understanding with the local association Uganda Women in Trade and Manufacture (UWTM) to establish a dedicated EE and PUE chapter for women entrepreneurs. This local chapter will provide access to essential services such as:

  • training,
  • networking,
  • business support,
  • financial inclusion,
  • capacity building,
  • business development services, 
  • regular interactions and information sharing on EE, PUE and energy management.

Presently, approximately 60 women have expressed interest in joining the association, with the application process currently underway. As part of their efforts, the Berkeley Lab team and USAID conducted a site visit to a maize milling business, gaining valuable insights into the opportunities and challenges surrounding the efficient and productive use of electricity in such ventures. Self-help groups and networks can act as a bridge between women entrepreneurs and other stakeholders, and can also work as platforms that promote solidarity among women, bringing them together on:

  • issues of financing,
  • business development support,
  • policy advocacy,
  • access to markets,
  • networking,
  • health,
  • nutrition,
  • gender parity and gender justice,
  • and efficient and productive equipment to grow their businesses. 


LBNL Delivers Training Improve Energy Efficiency in Buildings in Mexico

Training session on BETTER tool for participants of the Efficient Building Challenge held in hybrid format at the WRI Mexico facility. Photo credit: WRI Mexico

On August 10, 2022, USAID/Mexico partner Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) held a virtual training session for the building energy efficiency team at the National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (CONUEE) on the use of the Building Efficiency Targeting Tool for Energy Retrofits (BETTER). The tool, developed by LBNL, allows building operators to quickly identify energy efficiency measures that can be implemented at low or no cost to reduce energy consumption and related GHG emissions.  Another training session on BETTER was held in a hybrid format on August 9 for participants of the Efficient Building Challenge, an initiative led by WRI Mexico and SEDEMA aimed at reducing energy consumption in public and commercial buildings in Mexico City. This session included a live demonstration and a review of energy saving recommendations generated by BETTER.   






USAID and LBNL Help Advance Demand-Side Management in South Africa

USAID and LBNL are supporting the South African Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) in its effort to design a new Demand-Side Management (DSM) program. The LBNL team is providing inputs on DMRE’s approach to integrate energy efficiency as part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s emergency response plan to address the nation’s energy crisis, characterized by the prevalence of rolling black outs impacting millions of people and hampering economic development.  The LBNL team was invited to present their initial findings at an internal workshop held on August 23, 2022  and it will continue to work closely with the unit responsible for energy efficiency at DMRE to provide continuous inputs. As a result of this technical assistance, the LBNL team is helping Eskom (the government-owned utility) and DMRE to shape a new DSM program that will have an initial goal of saving 600MW in the short term. Improved DSM on the South African power system can in turn alleviate the pressures on the grid that are causing rolling blackouts and in the process avoid costs associated with building new generators and transmission lines, save customers money, and lower pollution from electric generators.  

Berkeley Lab Briefs USAID/Power Africa Delegation on Clean Energy Development Opportunities

Berkeley Lab hosted a USAID/Power Africa delegation led by Coordinator Mark Carrato and Special Advisor Dan Kammen to discuss clean energy innovations across the buildings, transportation, and industrial sectors and tour the FLEXLAB® and the Biomass Stoves Laboratory.

Michael McNeil,  Energy and Environmental Policy Research Scientist at Berkeley Lab,  provided a briefing on recent work from EE4D in South Africa and Uganda, followed by a briefing from Geothermal Systems Program Lead Pat Dobson on geothermal energy collaboration in Kenya and the Lab’s incubation program for innovative clean tech companies. Discussions also included collaboration on the Net Zero World initiative. The briefing allowed USAID/Power Africa to identify potential areas of collaboration with Berkeley Lab to advance low carbon objectives and explore funding mechanisms.

USAID/Power Africa was launched in 2013 with the mission of increasing the number of people with access to power in the continent. The stated goal of the program is to add at least 30,000 megawatts (MW) of cleaner electricity generation capacity and 60 million new home and business connections by 2030.

USAID-LBNL project promoting Gender Equality through the Energy Empowers East Africa program highlighted at COP 26

The USAID-LBNL project “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in East Africa”, whose objective is to increase the inclusion of women in electrification programs and advance their role as productive agents of change through the use of energy efficient appliances, was highlighted by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) at COP26 in the USAID event “Our Climate Future is Female; Women and Girls Leading Climate Action”.

Kelly Speakes-Backman, Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at DOE, highlighted the new program in remarks delivered virtually to announce a partnership between USAID and DOE to advance women’s economic empowerment and climate outcomes implemented by two DOE labs (NREL and LBNL).  The program with NREL seeks to integrate gender equity into the Global Power System Transformation, while the partnership with LBNL was launched as part of the Energy Empowers East Africa program to identify key enablers for income-generation activities that can allow women to develop or create new or expand on existing businesses, leveraging improved access to energy sources and appliances.

The East Africa program was supported by the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Division at USAID.  As part of the initial phase of the project, LBNL will conduct community engagement activities, surveys and field measurements to identify economic activities where improved access to electricity for women can effectively support business development. Then LBNL will provide training for small business owners on how to achieve savings by improving energy efficiency and identifying financing and credit schemes to acquire energy efficient equipment.

Blog post: Energy Efficiency Can Help Countries Meet Rising Energy Demand and Climate Targets

EE4D collaborated with USAID and the Sharing Environment and Energy Knowledge (SEEK) project in the development of a blog post to highlight the importance of energy efficiency in achieving climate and energy security objectives. The blog post was published in the ClimateLinks portal.  ClimateLinks is a global knowledge portal for USAID staff, implementing partners, and the broader community working at the intersection of climate change and international development.

Berkeley Lab helps the South Africa Department of Energy save the equivalent of a 500 MW coal plant

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) of South Africa issued a revision of mandatory energy performance standards (MEPS) for seven appliances on February 17, 2020. This revision will result in savings of 3 terawatt-hours of electricity by 2040, representing the avoided capacity of a 500-megawatt thermal power plant and avoided emissions of 1.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), equal to the annual emissions of Malta. This achievement contributes to the South African government’s international engagement in fighting against climate change through its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).

Berkeley Lab has been working very closely with DMRE to provide technical assistance and to develop conjointly a tool to inform DMRE’s revision decisions. This collaboration led to the development of a new study that assesses the impact of South Africa’s Standards and Labeling program. The final report discusses the significant benefits within the next 20 years in terms of energy savings, mitigation of CO2 emissions, water savings, air quality improvements and consumer’s electricity bill savings. It also shows that the government’s cost of saving 1 kilowatt-hour (kWh) is 100 times less than the cost of supplying 1 kWh of electricity

The impacts assessment study is part of the Energy Efficiency for Development program (EE4D), a partnership between USAID and Berkeley Lab advance energy efficiency strategies in support of sustainability and economic development in partner countries.

The full report is available here.


Advancing discussions on building codes implementation in Mexico City

The MEI team (Lead Michael McNeil and Program Manager Alberto Diaz) held a meeting last July in Mexico City with partners in the Mexico City government and the non-governmental sector to advance collaboration projects on energy efficiency, including implementation of building codes for energy efficiency in buildings.

The meeting was organized by the Mexico City Secretariat of Economic Development (SEDECO) and included the participation of representatives from the Mexico City Secretariat of Environment (SEDEMA); the National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (CONUEE); Mexico’s Climate Initiative (ICM); World Resources Institute (WRI) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).  Dr. Alberto Valdes Palacios, Director General of Development and Energy Sustainability at SEDECO, presided the meeting and emphasized the importance of coordination between federal and city authorities in the development of energy efficiency strategies.

Under USAID’s  Scaling Energy Efficient Development Program (SEED), Berkeley Lab and partner ICM are working with the administration of Dr. Claudia Sheinbaum in an effort to achieve full implementation of mandatory energy efficiency building codes for commercial buildings.  The project takes advantage of the existence of federal codes developed by CONUEE, specifically thermal envelope specifications provided in NOM-008-ENER-2001.  While this technical code has existed for some time, as yet no Mexican municipalities have implemented its compliance through building permit requirements.  Successful completion of this project in Mexico’s largest city will therefore constitute a great step forward toward full compliance throughout Mexico.


Supporting improvement of energy management systems standards in Indonesia

In February of 2019, Berkeley Lab expert Peter Therkelsen participated in an “Measurement & Verification Standards” Workshop organized by USAID in Jakarta for the Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) and other stakeholders.  As part of his participation in the workshop, Dr. Therkelsen collaborated with local stakeholders in the development of a scope for future activities, including:

  • Acceleration of uptake of ISO 50001 energy management systems in Indonesian industrial and commercial sectors.
  • Development of M&V protocols that support national energy savings determination interests and accelerated ISO 50001 adoption.
  • Development of M&V workforce expertise through in-country trainings.

South Africa Energy Efficiency Modeling Workshop – July 2019

South Africa Energy Efficiency Modelling Workshop The Department of Energy of South Africa and the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) hosted a workshop on July 31st on Energy Efficiency Modelling in the Residential Sector. The workshop gave the opportunity for DOE to present the modeling methodology, assumptions and results of the new tool developed in collaboration with LBNL and USAID to demonstrate the multiple benefits of the revision of the Standard and Labeling program. More than 30 people from government agencies, the private sector, universities and NGO attended the workshop and provided meaningful feedback to be integrated in a final report. The final report will describe the modeling tool and will provide a high level summary of the costs to the government and benefits for the country of revising the S&L program.