Award for those accelerating faster, cleaner and cheaper energy access

Ashden launches new 2023 African energy award at COP27


Posted By:

Robin Clegg


Three male trainees installing solar panels on a roof

Ashden has launched a new category for the 2023 Ashden Awards, at the COP27 climate conference in Egypt, to unearth transformative, smart energy solutions. 

The Smart Energy Africa Award will reward energy systems, such as those connecting solar power systems to the grid, developed by innovators across Africa who are driving programmes to accelerate faster, cleaner and cheaper energy access. 

As well as those cutting emissions from fossil fuel energy generation, the award is designed to showcase providers offering lower-income communities, healthcare providers and local institutions with affordable energy. 

Smart decentralised energy systems can reduce carbon emissions and lower costs for consumers, whilst providing energy to power jobs and livelihoods 

The award is being carried out in partnership with the Climate Emergency Coalition Group’s vital Integrate to Zero programme. 

Giles Bristow, Director of Programmes at Ashden, announced the award at a COP27 roundtable event exploring how new energy systems can help meet the global goal of halving emissions by 2030. 

He said: “This new award category will allow us to unearth some of the most impactful solutions that are accelerating the crucial transition to a low emissions future within marginalised communities, making energy access more inclusive and equitable. 

“There are currently over 600 million people across Africa without access to energy. Integrated systems have the potential to make a huge difference by providing them with affordable power, reducing connection costs and expanding access.” 

Man in a green "solar freeze" shirt walks along a dirt path and waves at onlooking children.

The award will focus on projects integrating centralised and localised energy systems in rapidly urbanising settings where there is real potential to develop the infrastructure to provide people from all income levels with clean energy access. Through Ashden’s extensive international network, the solutions will be promoted to potential funders and global policy makers as examples of ways to rapidly upscale climate and social solutions. 

Organisations interested in applying for the award can make an expression of interest here. The full set of awards will be open for entry in January 2023.

Ashden are working at COP27 to promote Power Up, a unifying campaign boosting African efforts to seek greater climate adaptation funding from the Global North to finance affordable, green energy access for those threatened by the climate crisis. 

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