Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Technical Brief - Assessing the Feasibility of Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency for Value Chain Partners

This brief is one of four practical guides developed by the Energy Opportunities for Agricultural Systems and Food Security Project (E4AS). Funded by USAID’s Africa Bureau with field work in Senegal and Kenya, E4AS is implemented by Green Powered Technology in partnership with ACDI/VOCA. The objective of E4AS is to expand and focus information related to how clean energy (CE) and energy efficiency (EE) can strengthen post-harvest value chains and reduce loss in sub-Saharan Africa, while also contributing to low emission development strategies (LEDS) and incorporating gender-aware strategies.

On-farm mechanization, value addition processing, and supply chain improvements all hinge on the availability of affordable power sources. Rapidly expanding innovation in renewables (e.g. solar, thermal) and energy efficiency (e.g. waste heat recovery systems, variable-frequency drives) are providing novel and increasingly cost competitive energy opportunities to support these kinds of value chain upgrading. When appropriately designed and priced, productive energy solutions can also support inclusion through expanding the geographic footprint of rural supply chains and helping small and mid-size businesses remain competitive.

This brief provides value chain and market system development specialists with the basic tools and resources to integrate analysis of energy opportunities—particularly modeling costs and payback periods for renewable energy or energy efficiency investments—into their design and implementation work. We present a six-step process that helps practitioners to:

  • Rapidly identify energy constraints to market opportunities in a target value chain (steps 1 and 2);
  • Identify energy demand needs by value chain partners and comparative energy supply options (steps 3 and 4);
  • Assess the feasibility of these energy opportunities for firm investment (step 5)
  • Recognize key gender and social considerations that could impact uptake, use, and benefit (integrated into all steps); and
  • Design interventions to catalyze those opportunities for more broad-based, sustained impact (step 6)