WISIONS of Sustainability

Our mission is to empower individuals and communities to transform the production and use of energy so that it effectively enables sustainable development. Read more about WISIONS activities, goals and background.

News Blog

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The recording of the latest HPNET Webinar is now online!

News from WISIONS posted on September 18th, 2019

Our partner HPNET hold a webinar on 17 September as part of the Mini-Grids Webinar Series 2019. This was the third part of the series and this edition is was all about the very crucial part mini-grid energy projects: financial sustainability. Under the title "Mini-Grid Sustainability: Transitioning to Social Enterprise for Energy and Economic Development" three invited speakers gave insights from their experiences and shared their knowledge in this webinar. Watch the recording here!Read moreMinimize


Risha Piya: Program Specialist at Winrock International Nepal

Ayu Abdullah: Co-Founder and Regional Director for Southeast Asia at Energy Action Partners

Iskander Kuntoadji: Founder of IBEKA, the People Centered Business and Economic Institute Indonesia


Collective research and hindsight within the Hydro Empowerment Network  reveal that the long-term sustainability and impact of hydro mini-grids is dependent on how well the project is run as a viable and inclusive enterprise. This webinar featured mini-grids practitioners in South and Southeast Asia who are leading the transition from grant-dependent to enterprise-based micro and mini hydropower projects. The webinar was in particular highlighting the following points: 

  • The linkage between enterprise-based approaches and long-lived hydro mini-grids; 
  • Best practices to transition from grant dependent to local social enterprise models, based on micro hydro experience in Nepal, Malaysia and Indonesia; 
  • Solutions to scale their efforts to more micro hydro communities, including how to make better use of funding resources that currently go toward grant-dependent projects. 
In contexts where small-scale, community-based hydro mini-grids have been scaled to thousands of communities, projects typically have been funded by grant or subsidy programs, e.g. Nepal and Indonesia. The Primary ownership and management structure in these projects has been user-based groups, e.g. village electrification committees (VECs), which can be inclusive but are challenged in achieving financial sustainability. Most projects operate only for night-time use, although electricity is available 24 hours, leading to minimal revenue generation. Due to limited revenue, there are no savings. So when repair and maintenance is required, the VECs raise funds through door-to-door collection. This is time intensive and a heavy burden for VEC leadership. 

However, there are other contexts wehre scaled implementation of hydro mini-grids has occurred without grants and subsidies, e.g. Afghanistan and Myanmar. In these cases, projects have been driven by enterprise development that has enabled revenue-generation sufficient for micro hydro O/M, repair, and capital costs in some projects. Because the project has included self-financing, ownership and management structures have varied from VECs to cooperative-owned, developer-owned, and hybrid community-private models. A common factor among the different model has been the presence of an entrepreneurial individual or organization. This entrepreneur is keen able to identify, establish, and incentivize productive end use that generates local economic value-add, and ultimately run the micro hydro as a sustainable enterprise. Over the last year HPNET has facilitated a closer look to understand the factors for sustaining hydro mini-grids over the long-term. In comparing the above two scenarios it has become evident that: 

  • Grant and subsidy dependent projects often lead to projects with poor load factors and therefore inadequate revenue generation to enable long-term financial sustainability. 
  • Ownership models of grant-dependent projects tend to be inclusive but typically are not conducive for enterprise development, simply because user-based groups funded by grants were not required to perceive the need or knowhow to establish financial sustainability. 
  • While self-financed enterprise-driven projects have strong financial viability, they require more time to develop inclusive affordability and equitable benefits among factions of the community. 
  • To achieve both revenue-driven and equitable hydro mini-grids, a transition is needed toward local social enterprise, brining economic value-add to the mini-grid, village enterprises, local social services, and households. 
  • A high impact end use for value-add of electricity is local agriculture and agri-processing; however tapping it requires energy practitioners to work with agri-value chain practitioners. 

To support local practitioners and micro hydro communities in this transition, HPNET has established the initiative "Social Enterprise for Energy and Economic Development" (SEEED). One if its initial objectives is to identify and highlight the work of practitioners who are already paving the path toward long-lived mini-grids anchored in social enterprise. This webinar will help to do so. 

Further Links and Downloads: 

Announcement: 6th RedBioLAC Webinar on 25th September 2019!

News from WISIONS posted on September 11th, 2019

The upcoming webinar will be on "Biogas in semi-arid family farming in Brazil" and will take place on 25th September 2019 at 8 am CST (4 pm CEST)! El próximo webinar será sobre "Biogás en la agricultura familiar semiárido de Brasil" y tendrá lugar el 25 de septiembre de 2019 a las 8 am CST (4 pm CEST).Registers aqui!Read moreMinimize

English Version: 

Climate change and desertification are increasingly threatening the livelihoods of peasant families in Brazil's semi-arid region. The use of charcoal and firewood represents about 30% of the energy matrix in the northeast of the country, reaching 80% of the energy demands of family agriculture in the region that still suffers the effects of recent years of drought.

Diaconia created the Biodigestor Sertanejo model on a domestic scale, which produces 15 to 25 m3 of biogas per month from the use of animal manure. This model is built with materials that are easily found in the local market, which facilitates replication.

As a result, we have reduced GHG emissions and deforestation. In addition, there are impacts from improved soil management, as well as biogas production and the use of biofertilizers. The improvement in the quality of life of women is significant, as is the guarantee of the permanence of rural families in the region.

Spanish Version: 

El cambio climático y la desertificación son cada vez más amenazantes para la permanencia de las familias campesinas en la región semiárida de Brasil. El uso de carbón y leña representa alrededor del 30% de la matriz energética en el noreste del país, alcanzando el 80% de las demandas energéticas de la agricultura familiar en la región que aún sufre los efectos de los últimos años de sequía.

Diaconia creó el modelo Biodigestor Sertanejo a escala doméstica, que produce 15 a 25 m3 de biogás por mes a partir del uso de estiércol animal. Este modelo está construido con materiales que se encuentran fácilmente en el mercado local, lo que facilita su replicación.

Como resultado, hemos reducido las emisiones de GEI y la deforestación. Además, hay impactos por mejorar el manejo del suelo, así como la producción de biogás y el uso de biofertilizantes. La mejora de la calidad de vida de las mujeres es significativa, como lo es la garantía de la permanencia de las familias rurales en la región

More information here!

Recordings of RedBioLAC Webinars No 4 and No 5

News from WISIONS posted on September 10th, 2019

RedBioLAC hold two informative webinars on 31 July and 28 August. Both recordings have been published now and are now open for watching online and are hold in Spanish language! Read moreMinimize

Webinar No 4 from 31 July ( see RedBioLAC Webinar on "Biogás en la producción de café" July 28th, 2019) on the use of biodigesters in coffee production. The slides can be found here!


Webinar No 5 from 28 August ( see 5th RedbioLAC Webinar on 28th August 2019! August 16th, 2019) on "Case studies for the implementation of anaerobic biodigestion in the Argentinian poultry sector"! The slides can also be found here!


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