What are the multinational companies with the largest (interms of budget in USD) programmes for energy access and rural electrification?
Hello and thank you for using Wonder! I understand that you are seeking a list of the multinational corporations investing the most into energy access and rural electrification initiatives, for the purposes of identifying suitable partners for an energy access NGO. In short, most major corporations have an electrification programme; however, they often do it in different ways which makes tracking their budget commitments difficult. Below you will find a deep dive of my findings in the form of an ordered list.
In order to determine which companies have the largest budgets, I spent time looking through the websites of each major corporation, researching each programme after I discovered it on the website. Unfortunately, as the oldest of these programmes are no more than 2 or 3 years old, finding budget information is not always possible. If the company budget was not specifically listed, I used the following co-related factors to determine the largest programmes for energy access and rural electrification:
1.) The company's ability to reach potential customers and develop relationships.
2.)The company's ability to rise above competitors, streamline operations, reduce costs and maximize profit to core business instead of overhead.
3.) The company's size and revenue.
My results are as follows:
1. Access Power MEA (partnered with EREN Renewable Energy) ·
Programme: 'Access Infra-Africa’ (AiA)
AiA is privately funded by Access Energy and EREN Renewable Energy with more than $650 million in assets under development for rural electrification and energy access programme. It is listed on the programme website as the ‘largest privately funded vehicle of its kind’ with a portfolio of projects in 15 African countries producing over 1000 MW.
Access also has approximately 30 GW of power projects across the globe with a specific focus on the Middle East and Africa.
2. EREN Renewable Energy
Programme: 'Access Infra Africa’ (AiA)
EREN manages over 400 MW of renewable energy assets in operation or under construction, and over 1,500 MW of assets under development in less than three years.’ There is no budget information available on the website or in online databases.
3. Ceniarth LLC
Programme: Energy Access
An investment programme focusing on local energy providers in Subsaharan Africa and Developing Asia. There is no budget information available on the website or in online databases.
Ceniarth is an investment management and venture capital firm which manages portfolios of smaller NGOs and energy companies in a holistic way, focusing on not only energy companies but also development firms, and data science firms.
Programme: There doesn’t seem to be a dedicated programme, though there is evidence that the company does invest in electrification. In 2015, Samsung invested $40 million into rural electrification and $45 million into renewable energy projects in Honduras. Most of these funds were invested into companies and organisations specialising in electrification, rather than a dedicated Samsung subsidiary.
5. Schneider Electric
Programme: "Light it Up"
Schneider Electric's Light it Up programme, aimed at reducing the use of kerosene stoves for heating and lighting has a budget of 14 million euros (15 million USD). Most of this funding went to the distribution of solar lamps. While the Light it up programme is focused on the Asia Pacific region, Schneider Electric has programmes in 12 countries, including Myanmar, Mongolia, Vietnam, Philippines.
6. Caterpillar Incorporated
Programme: A microgrid initiative
The first project initiated by Caterpillar was a $20 million investment deal in Indonesia. The company provided pre-engineered systems as a standard kit, which can be customized based on the need for energy (ranging from 5 kW to 100 mW). The company partnered with Powerhive (a rural electrification startup) and First Solar (a solar energy company) to make design and distribution of the devices possible.
7. Ikea ·
Programme: Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign
Ikea lacks a dedicated programme, it has focused on raising donations to international organisations such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, to which it donated $20 million in 2016.
Programme: Google Access
Google Access, which was previously formed under the name Google ‘Access and Energy’ focuses mainly on improving internet access around the world. Because of the nature of the subsidiary, it is unclear what the budget is, but Google has invested in large-scale infrastructural projects such as the $700 million Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in Kenya. Additionally, in 2013, Google invested $12 million into the South African 'Jasper Power Project' and since 2007 Google has committed more than $1 billion in renewable energy projects.
Programme: Microsoft Affordable Access Initiative
Like Google Access, Microsoft's programme is focused mostly on improving access the internet, rather than just electrification. The main mechanism of the programme is the Microsoft Affordable Access Initiative Grant Fund, with funds organisations such as African Renewable Energy Distributor (ARED) in Rwanda and Ekovolt in Nigeria. There is currently no budget data publicly available regarding the programme.
Programme: Off Grid Electric
Off Grid Electric was acquired by Tesla through the recent Solar City merger. The programme aims to deploy solar panels (generally small 25-watt modules) to households not connected to the grid, which is very common in rural Africa, which is then linked to a 60 watt-hour battery. Off Grid Electric has a budget of approximately $70 million.
In conclusion, the biggest programmes are those run by Google, Tesla, and the joint venture between Access Energy and EREN Renewable Energy. However, for the purposes of partner identification, it should be noted that there are three key approaches to electrification initiatives: the companies do the electrification work themselves, companies invest in local companies to contract the work, or companies donate to international organisations focused on addressing the issue. Potential partners would likely be those which use the latter two approaches.
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