Launching of USAID/Mexico Partnership for Net Zero Cities

LBNL (along with members of USAID’s Energy and Green Cities Division) was invited by USAID/Mexico and RTI to collaborate in the co-creation workshop held in Mexico City on October 25th-27th to kick off the USAID/Mexico Partnership for Net Zero Cities program (PNZC).   LBNL provided an overview of previous and ongoing work supported by USAID to advance energy efficiency in buildings and outlined potential opportunities to collaborate with RTI and the PNZC subcontractors in Mexico. PNZC aims to reduce at least 17.34M CO2e emissions and mobilize $550M in investment by improving energy efficiency measures in the buildings and transportation sectors, while improving local governance and state/municipal finance across five cities (Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Merida, Hermosillo) The workshop was designed to gather inputs for the PNZC Year 1 work plan and to identify the needs of state and municipal actors working with other donors to avoid duplicate efforts.  Ongoing support from the DOE laboratories will help USAID/Mexico to utilize the high capacity of the local consultants/NGOs to demonstrate how to implement climate programs in the buildings and transportation sectors.

LBNL Supporting Implementation of Energy Efficiency Standards in Kenya

As part of technical assistance provided by USAID’s Kenya Energy Regulatory Partnership Program to develop capacity building on energy efficiency and energy management, LBNL participated in a webinar convened by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) on October 18th for the local USAID mission and for Kenya’s Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) to deliver the presentation “Standards and Labeling Implementation”. LBNL shared an overview of the process to developing regulations and standards for household appliances, international best practices in standards and labeling, information on household energy consumption dynamics, compliance/enforcement, and case studies from relevant jurisdictions. USAID is supporting EPRA as it evaluates its existing and new MEPS for appliances. The technical inputs by LBNL will contribute to improving capacity of the government to implement a successful MEPS program to improve grid reliability and ensure peak demand increases do not outpace generation.

Watch: Exploring Energy Efficiency Opportunities in Sub Saharan Africa

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa are working to provide accessible, affordable, and reliable energy while navigating a transition to net-zero emissions. At the same time, these countries are experiencing rapid population growth which has major implications for energy demand for transportation, agriculture, buildings, and cooling.

USAID’s Scaling Up Renewable Energy (SURE) program held a webinar that explores opportunities in energy efficiency interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa and successful approaches for energy efficiency planning and implementation.

Energy efficiency technologies, policies, and financing can reduce electricity costs for businesses and consumers over the long term while creating local jobs and reducing emissions. Energy efficiency also reduces public expenditure on generation capacity and is a cost-effective way to boost competitiveness in industrial and commercial sectors that can spur economic growth.

Watch the webinar here.


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.

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.

Read the blog here.

Energy Efficiency Standards Promote Climate and Energy Security in South Africa

Energy Efficiency Standards and Labeling programs (EESL) have been implemented in more than 80 countries, covering more than 50 different types of energy-using appliances. They remove inefficient technologies from the market; deter more advanced economies from dumping older, less-efficient technologies on USAID partner countries; and empower consumers to make informed purchasing choices. This ClimateLinks blog details the collaboration provided by USAID and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) through the EE4D program to support the implementation of the EESL program in South Africa and the achievement of climate and energy security goals.

Read the blog here.


Energy Efficiency Should Be the “First Fuel” Powering the Global Climate Initiative

On April 23, 2021, the White House called for a Global Climate Ambition Initiative to “support developing countries in… implementing their nationally determined contributions and… enhance and meet their climate goals in ways that further their national development priorities.” According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy efficiency must take a leading role as the “first fuel” in climate-related development assistance in order to achieve the dual objective of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while catalyzing economic development.

Read the blog here.