Aerial image of wind turbines
The Sulawesi Windfarm is one part of Indonesia’s ambitious plan to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. | Photo Credit: USAID

Progress Beyond Programs: Amping Up Clean Energy for Climate and Development


USAID is putting the infrastructure in place to phase out fossil fuels and improve energy efficiency while expanding energy access in hard-to-reach places. Read on to learn how the Agency promotes clean energy and improved climate and development outcomes across the world.


A man wearing a hard hat and yellow safety vest stands in front of a blue building with solar panels on its roof
Martin Mwiti, who is Ariya Finergy’s firmware and test engineer, stands outside Kenya’s Mbogo Valley Tea. Ariya received support through Powering Agriculture: an Energy Grand Challenge to develop one of the first solar leasing models in Kenya and the company has had success selling solar systems to flower farms and other agribusinesses in Kenya.
Boosting Renewable Energy through Auctions

Competitive renewable energy auctions can help countries attract private financial investment and identify the most cost-effective projects on the market. For example, with USAID’s support the Philippines announced the winners of the country’s first ever renewable energy auction in 2022. Almost 2,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity — equal to nearly 10% of the country’s current energy capacity — were successfully auctioned, and are expected to mobilize $2 billion in clean energy investment.

The power generation will come online from 2023–2025, increasing consumer access to low-cost renewable energy and reducing the country’s dependence on imported fuels. The second round of the auction is scheduled for June 2023, which is planned to offer a total capacity of 11,600 megawatts installation target.


Aerial image of wind turbines
The Sulawesi Windfarm is one part of Indonesia’s ambitious plan to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels.
Boosting Wind Farm Generation in South Africa

South Africa has been experiencing an energy crisis since early 2022 — with rolling blackouts that affect millions of people and hamper economic development. As a result of this energy crisis, USAID began partnering with the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Procurement Program in South Africa’s Northern Cape through Power Africa to bring Karusa and Soetwater wind farms online.

As a country, we need more and more clean energy produced and supplied to the national [power] grid, which will also alleviate poverty and create employment in communities.” - Israel Thothela, the site manager at Karusa and Soetwater wind farms explained this need.

Both sites, which were developed by Power Africa partner Enel and started operating in 2022, are generating a combined 280 megawatts of clean electricity. They each have 35 wind turbines on site, which can produce enough renewable energy to avert 1 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions every year. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the energy the turbines produce will be integrated into the national energy grid, alleviating poverty and creating jobs in communities all over South Africa. 


A man holds his cell phone up to an electricity meter
USAID worked with the Government of Pakistan to introduce smart meters on locations from where the electricity enters into the grid. Now, with the help of smart meters and allied software, the billing and settlement data can be collected within hours compared to weeks in the past. Almost $10 billion transactions are going through USAID systems every year.
Securing Renewable Energy Investment in Pakistan

USAID has long supported the Government of Pakistan’s efforts to expand access to clean energy through various power generation and transmission infrastructure programs, as well as technical assistance programs. These efforts have spurred private sector investments into clean energy, improving the capacity of systems and energy markets.

To date, USAID’s energy work has benefited more than 47 million Pakistanis by helping add over 4,000 megawatts of clean power system capacity and connect 1,400 megawatts of wind power capacity to the national grid — leveraging $2.6 billion in private sector investment. All of these efforts have resulted in sequestering or avoiding 55 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions.

“[USAID’s energy work] has catalyzed renewable energy development in Pakistan,” said Sheeraz Anwar Khan, director of Pakistan’s Alternative Energy Development Board. “The program has raised awareness and capacity of the sector in accelerating the transition towards renewable energy and increased investments in the sector.”


Aerial image of a orange drone surveying industrial parks
Businesses in Kosovo are receiving hands-on, customized evaluations of their rooftop solar potential through USAID. Drone surveys of about one million square meters at industrial parks across the country combined with solar radiation analysis for business are generating detailed solar assessments. Businesses can then realize the enormous opportunity to benefit from installing solar — saving money, becoming more cost competitive, and building “green” trust with customers.


Promoting Energy Efficiency to Reduce Emissions in Mexico

In Mexico, USAID is helping reduce harmful emissions through a focus on energy efficiency, which is one of the most effective and lowest cost strategies for mitigating climate change. USAID is partnering with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (LBNL) on the Energy Efficiency for Development (EE4D) program, which piloted an activity in Quintana Roo state to promote energy efficiency in the hotel industry.

Eight hotels participated in the pilot, which also involved the state’s Secretariat of Tourism. They each provided energy consumption data that EE4D analyzed using LBNL’s Building Efficient Targeting Tool for Energy Retrofits to identify low- or no-cost energy efficiency measures that will result in economic and environmental benefits. The analysis was the first of its kind to engage the hotel industry in Mexico and showed how implementing these kinds of energy efficiency measures could save consumers 13 million kilowatt hours of energy, while reducing energy costs by 40% and preventing 5,954 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions annually. The pilot program allowed these hotel operators to identify areas where they could achieve greater competitiveness by advancing energy efficiency, reducing costs, and supporting a climate-friendly development of the local hotel industry.

USAID is continuing these types of efforts on a larger scale in Mexico with programs like the Partnership for Net Zero cities, which aims to put the country on a path to net-zero emissions after 2030 by increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and increasing access to clean transportation.

More Information on USAID’s Climate Work

USAID’s energy programs are key to reaching the objectives outlined in the Agency-wide Climate Strategy, especially supporting activities that reduce, avoid, or sequester six billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent and mobilizing $150 billion in public and private finance for climate. They are also key to achieving one of the goals set out by USAID’s new Policy Framework: to drive progress beyond programs and help countries withstand the effects of a changing climate and secure a net-zero emissions future.

This blog post was originally published on Medium.

Strategic Objective
Energy, Clean or Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency
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USAID is the world's premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. USAID's work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity, demonstrates American generosity, and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience.

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