Image: Nuru. Credit: 3Degreesinc

The Peace Renewable Energy Credit (P-REC) scheme offers a novel approach for electrification in countries in Africa at risk of conflict or other vulnerabilities.

P-RECs are a creation of the NGO, Energy Peace Partners as international renewable energy certificates (I-RECs) with a supplementary label from the organisation certifying support for renewable energy projects in vulnerable countries.

Such countries, mainly in Africa, include those at high risk of conflict, high vulnerability to climate change, low levels of electrification and limited access to renewable energy finance.

With the use of such P-RECs, the aim is to finance renewable projects in these countries that deliver social and economic benefits at the community level. As per the I-REC standard, a P-REC represents 1MWh of renewable energy generated.

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The first P-REC transaction was executed in November by Microsoft in partnership with Energy Peace Partners and Congolese solar developer Nuru. The P-RECs purchased by Microsoft from a new solar plus storage mini-grid project in Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo are directly financing the installation of streetlights in the newly electrified neighbourhood.

“We developed the P-REC in order to support new renewable energy projects in fragile, energy poor regions of the world,” says David Mozersky, president of Energy Peace Partners.

“With this inaugural P-REC purchase, Microsoft is demonstrating that corporate renewable energy procurement can be high impact by making a difference in communities like Ndosho, where increased access to sustainable and affordable power will be transformative.”

The Ndosho mini-grid is comprised of 1.3MW of solar PV and 520kW/2.2MWh battery energy storage. The installation, said to be one of the largest off-grid mini-grids in Africa, has brought electrification to the neighbourhood where previously no electricity grid infrastructure has existed.

Goma, the capital of the DRC’s North Kivu province, is located in the conflict-affected east of the country, where in many neighbourhoods only 3% of residents have access to electricity.

Installation of the streetlights was completed earlier this year and has led to improved nighttime road safety and neighbourhood security, as well as reduced reliance on costly to run diesel generators.

Energy Peace Partners leverages climate finance solutions to support peace in places affected by violent conflict.

The Microsoft P-REC transaction was facilitated by renewable energy, transportation decarbonisation and climate solutions specialist 3Degrees.