The provision of energy efficient cook stoves and renewable energy development will improve living standards in low-income rural communities in Honduras in a program financed by the Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program.
The program will primarily benefit indigenous and Afro-Honduran communities not connected to the national power grid. Activities will help to change the focus of Honduras’ current rural electrification paradigm from primarily expanding the grid (sometimes uneconomical) to including alternatives for isolated communities. In this way, the financial sustainability of the electricity sector will be strengthened while benefits are provided to communities which otherwise would have to wait for decades for the arrival of the grid.
The program. TheSustainable Rural Energization (ERUS) Program will be financed by a US$12.1 million SREP grant financing, of which US$3 million will finance the IDB-administered cook stove component. The project will have two streams: one private and the other public for a total of US$6 million. Experience gained in the program is expected to catalyze additional financing for off-grid renewable energy projects in the Central American region.
The program will provide high-efficiency, wood burning cook stoves for 70,000 households, which will reduce consumption and cost of firewood for project beneficiaries by 60 percent.
It will also develop sustainable models of large-scale rural energy production based on renewable energy through off-grid electrification using photovoltaic solar, hydropower, wind, and biomass.
The new technologies will be provided through the development of markets that offer products at costs that are within the ability of the beneficiaries’ ability to pay and by leveraging private sector resources. The project will include the development of appropriate regulatory mechanisms, and will be carried out with the support of NGOs. Training will be provided to users to ensure that the technologies are both socially acceptable and technically adequate for meeting their needs.
Program activities will include market research of renewable energy technologies for rural electrification and a study of financing mechanisms, including an analysis of subsidies to finance investments and opportunities offered by carbon markets to generate additional resources. A study will also be carried out to identify sites, analyze electrification options, and select alternatives that are most cost-effective.
This analysis includes the identification of possible benefits in related sectors (sustainable management of biomass and water, agricultural and livestock production, and education and health), with special attention on the participation of women. In addition, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies will be carried out of renewable energy projects for electrification of isolated communities.
Expected results. The program is expected to result in a reduction of at least 200,000 tons of CO2 equivalent by the end of the program, in this way maximizing the application of carbon reduction certificates to generate income from placement in the carbon markets.
In addition to convenience and reduced wood consumption, the cook stoves will provide health benefits, particularly for women and children who are presently exposed to harmful smoke and gases produced by inefficient burning of firewood in traditional stoves. Women and children will also spend less time collecting and processing firewood, which will increase opportunities to work, attend school, or participate more actively in community affairs.
High-priority on energy efficiency. Honduras’ Country Vision (2010-2038) aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the country‘s electricity generation matrix to 80 percent. The country’s National Plan projects that by 2022 public-private investments will have increased the share of renewable energy generating projects in the energy matrix to 60 percent.
Lessons learned. The program will generate experience in providing models for mass distribution of improved stoves that will be replicable in the other Central American countries. Similarly, models for financing investments in renewable energy projects in Honduras will be replicable in the rest of the Central American region.
As a result of lessons learned from past rural electrification programs financed by the IDB, this program will include an impact evaluation to confirm the expected project impacts. Indicators such as fuel consumption, improvement of income, and health will be measured and reported.