Energy sector development in developing and middle-income countries is a strategic priority for USTDA. The agency works closely with the U.S. private sector to identify and support activities that generate measurable commercial and developmental results across a wide range of activities, including diversification of energy sources and development of clean, renewable and alternative fuels. USTDA also focuses on deploying commercially viable U.S. technologies that promote energy efficiency; power generation, transmission, and distribution; transport to market of new oil and gas reserves; and refining capacity and quality.
The following is an illustrative list of USTDA-supported projects:
Rwandans Unite to Power Villages
On the last Saturday of every month, Rwandans set aside their daily routines to participate in Umuganda, a nation-wide volunteer day. They come together to help their neighbors in a variety of different ways: rebuilding a home, improving a road or cleaning up a neighborhood.
In the rural Musanze District, it is not only villagers who participate in these volunteer activities. Representatives from DC HydroPower, a Rwandan energy company and a USTDA partner, also join the group for Umuganda. They are committed, on every day of the month, to ensuring that the work they do has a positive impact on the community.
They bring that same commitment to their efforts to develop two run-of-the-river hydroelectric stations in the mountainous province, where less than a quarter of the population currently has energy access. Together, these stations are expected to generate 3.6 megawatts of new electricity — powering an estimated 20,000 homes in two villages. By bringing this power online, the project, which recently reached financial close, will stimulate the local economy and generate a variety of opportunities for the community.
In fact, it is already doing so. DC HydroPower provided a loan to a local metalworker named Sabin Ngirirabatanyurwa, who, according to them, has “a greater entrepreneurial spirit at age 64 than most 20 year olds.” Sabin used the loan to acquire the equipment he needed to build his own business. Ultimately, he was not only able to pay back the loan, he has helped DC HydroPower resolve issues at their project sites.
While DC Hydropower is committed to working with Sabin and other villagers to ensure the sustainability of the project, they are also bringing in U.S. expertise. Under a USTDA-sponsored grant agreement, DC HydroPower is working with Ritoch-Powell & Associates (RPA), a civil engineering firm headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, to design the hydroelectric stations. RPA believes this project will lead to additional opportunities for them — in fact, several other firms have asked them to provide services in East Africa and even beyond the continent. This cooperation demonstrates how USTDA’s support can assist U.S. firms while building vital infrastructure and promoting economic development. The Agency helped introduce RPA to an initial opportunity, and now the company is proving its value on the ground.
By employing the help of both local villagers and U.S. experts, DC HydroPower is fulfilling the spirit of Umuganda, “coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome.” They have created an international community of people united around the mutual goal of electrifying the Musanze District. By pooling their resources, talents and abilities, they will bring power to nearly 100,000 people.
Southern Africa Solar Power Reverse Trade Mission
In order to foster the implementation of solar power projects in Southern Africa and facilitate the participation of U.S. companies in the region's solar power sector, USTDA sponsored a reverse trade mission (RTM) to the United States for thirteen delegates from Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa to learn about U.S. solar energy technologies that can make use of Southern Africa's high potential for solar power generation. The Southern African delegation attended the Solar Power International Exposition in Los Angeles, and also visited with U.S. public and private sector representatives in Washington, DC and Golden, CO to discuss project financing and investment and available U.S. solar technologies and services.
Mexico Baja California Wind Power
The State Government of Baja California is committed to developing its renewable energy resources to meet its growing energy needs. USTDA funded a feasibility study grant for the Baja California Wind PPA Project to help design a 100 MW wind power generation project to supply renewable power to state government office buildings and facilities. The study enabled the State Government of Baja California to assess available wind resources, verify the power demand profile of state government office buildings and facilities, and draft legal documents related to project implementation.
Philippines First Gen Cabadbaran Run-of-River Hydroelectric Project
Electricity demand in the Philippines has nearly doubled between 2004 and 2012, and smaller, alternative energy projects are increasingly being developed to meet this demand. In response, USTDA funded a feasibility study to support First Gen Mindanao Hydropower Corporation, a subsidiary of a leading energy company in the Philippines, in its efforts to build a 14-20 MW run-of-river hydroelectric power plant on the island of Mindanao. If implemented, the project will improve electricity availability and system reliability for up to 28,500 households in the plant's region.