Scaling Up Renewable Energy

Speeches Shim

  • Annual Report

    Scaling Up Renewable Energy 2020 Annual Report

    In 2020, USAID helped partner countries power economies with clean energy while opening markets to private investment and competition. Read the report

Emerging markets are leapfrogging the developed world in the pursuit of renewable energy, expanding energy access to millions of people around the globe.

Along the way, they are reinventing the national electric grid and developing the policies and institutional, regulatory and technical solutions needed to provide sustainable, reliable electricity for future generations. The Scaling Up Renewable Energy (SURE) project will advance these efforts by assisting USAID partner countries in accessing the technical assistance needed to implement strategic energy planning, grid integration, competitive procurement, renewable energy zones, and smart incentives, five interventions necessary to scaling up clean energy rapidly and effectively.

SURE will work in countries where achieving large-scale clean energy deployment is a priority for energy security and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Through SURE, USAID will foster policy development that allows for clean energy to be obtained at fair market prices. Expected results include: an increase in clean energy capacity; improved grid integration of clean energy; increased competition for generation capacity; strengthened clean energy incentives; and strategic transmission planning for renewable energy.

Opportunities for Engagement Under SURE

The proliferation of distributed energy resources requires comprehensive changes to power infrastructure, market design, and business models to scale-up clean energy. SURE will promote self-reliance by building capacity within partner country institutions to empower them to carry out activities without future USAID assistance.

Select Opportunities Include:

Competitive Procurement of Clean Energy

The competitive procurement of clean energy serves as an excellent price discovery mechanism, and in many circumstances has consistently resulted in lower prices than previous methods. Reverse auctions stimulate new capacity, remove barriers to growth, and build investor confidence in the system.

  • Support in the design and adoption of energy auctions – legal, regulatory, technical
  • Development of best practice documentation such as auction manuals and model Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)
  • Technical training on key elements of auction design (utility-scale and distributed generation) 

Smart Incentives

Smart incentives such as innovative policy, legislative, regulatory or fiscal reforms can support least cost utility-scale development and deployment of clean energy technologies.

  • Development of tax and other financial incentives for clean energy, renewable energy credits
  • Support for PPA structuring based on clean energy integration best practices
  • Policymaker and stakeholder education 

Grid Integration of Renewable Energy

Grid integration of renewable energy must be addressed as countries scale variable renewable energy into existing and future grids. This requires flexibility in grid planning, increased speed of dispatch, and increased balancing area.

  • Grid integration studies, data collection and assessment, convene modeling working groups
  • Grid integration regulations, grid codes, interconnection standards
  • Wind and solar forecasting, metrics for forecasting vendor trials, creation of meteorological datasets 

Strategic Energy Planning

Strategic energy planning will support national power development and integrated resource plans, setting science-based renewable energy targets, low emissions development strategies (LEDS), and implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions.

  • Development of a country-specific Integrated Resource Planning process
  • Planning data development/validation: generation inventories, hourly demand data, meteorological info

Renewable Energy Zones (REZ)

The REZ approach provides a policy framework that allows planners to harmonize transmission planning and generation development through coordinated stakeholder engagement.

  • Identification of REZ in countries without such initiatives
  • Development of country-specific stakeholder-driven REZ process and legislation
  • Wind and solar resource mapping, resource data improvements and validation

Did You Know?

  • Global investment in renewable energy surpassed $300 billion in recent years.
  • With USAID’s support, Mexico held its first clean energy auction, producing some of the world’s lowest prices for solar energy.
  • Wind and Solar will be the cheapest source of new electricity supply and, in some countries, will start to outcompete existing fossil fuel plants.
  • By 2040, Renewables will command just under 60% of the 9,786GW of new generating capacity and two-thirds of the $12.2 trillion of investment.
  • By 2026, utility scale solar will be broadly competitive in most places around the world, in sunny places this will occur earlier. In India for example, the cost of utility-scale PV is expected to reach parity with new coal by 2023.
  • Developing Countries will build nearly three times as much new energy capacity as developed nations, at 7640GW- around half will be renewables over the next 25 years.
  • More than half of the new generating capacity to 2040 will be built in Asia Pacific. For every 1GW of new build in the Americas, 3.4 GW will be installed in APAC.
  • Auctions have been particularly important in driving down the cost of renewables – which are estimated to account for 70% of all new generation investments until 2040.

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance


For additional information about the SURE project, please contact Kristen Madler.