TFE blends energy access expertise and digital technology to catalyse community-centred development.

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Energising Agriculture in Myanmar

Energy access challenges are not confined to rural off-grid regions, they extend down agricultural value chains to on-grid urban markets where larger processors prepare output that is ready for wholesale or export markets. As one of the first of its kind to explore the agriculture/energy nexus beyond village scale productive uses, this study:

  • Describes tools that can be used to evaluate agricultural processes along the entire value chain continuum from small off-grid processors in the village to large on-grid urban factories;

  • Combines existing best practice, geospatial data, on-ground surveys and market information to evaluate the energy needs, value addition and practical characteristics of processing steps along three economically significant value chains in Myanmar - rice, cotton and BPO (beans, pulses and oilseeds);

  • Outlines opportunities to strategically invest in improving energy access along value chains to increase the value captured by rural farmers, boost processor productivity and strengthen this nationally vital sector.

Quality Assurance Framework for Mini-Grids in Nigeria

TFE were contracted by the African Development Bank to implement a Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) for green mini-grids (GMG) in Nigeria. The QAF was originally conceived at a multidisciplinary, high-level stakeholder meeting on mini-grids at the Fourth Clean Energy Ministerial in New Delhi, India, in 2013. The original driver was to “develop standards to set a level playing field, encourage investment, and drive down prices.” As a result of this recommendation, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) teamed with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to develop a QAF for isolated GMG power systems. The QAF is a wide-ranging set of standards of power quality, reliability and availability and includes a performance reporting protocol that is based on these standards. This allows the monitoring of GMG performance at both the individual site and portfolio levels.

TFE initially the QAF and performance reporting protocol so that it was applicable to the local context of Nigerian rural GMGs. This was done in close consultation with the Africa Mini-Grid Developers Association (AMDA), NERC, the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) of Nigeria and individual mini-grid developers.

The QAF also includes the reporting of metrics that are required according to the Nigerian Regulator’s Mini-Grid Regulations of 2016. With the use of a web-based platform developed by Odyssey Energy Solutions, the developer can have their own designated dashboard where they will be able to ensure compliance with the regulations and easily monitor the most important performance metrics of their mini-grid operations.

The QAF has now been translated into French for application across West Africa.

Our guiding principles

Rural Industrial Development: We are passionate about moving economic value creation into communities and growing rural economies. We see rural entrepreneurs as best placed to steer development as they intimately understand local needs, see the gaps in the market and have a vested interest in the greater wellbeing of their communities beyond simple economic measures. 

The Rural Futures Fund uses data to segment, aggregate and re-finance high-yield mini-grid connections (typically entrepreneurs and productive users). Read more here.

Equity: Historically the value of interventions have been overwhelmingly measured in short term economic returns. We are motivated by holistic, long term approaches where success is viewed through an evolving matrix of indicators including social justice, gender equity, environmental stewardship and access to basic services. 

The Quality Assurance Framework is an evolving framework of standardised data-driven indicators that enables comparison and aggregation of energy projects as well as near-real time monitoring and evaluation of social, economic and environmental impact. Read more here.

Themes of interest

Energy as a key enabler: Africa and other rapidly evolving regions have several key underdeveloped sectors and large cross-sectional challenges. Energy is the foundation for modern development. Mirroring nature, the most interesting innovation happens at the dynamic edge where energy meets other key sectors, like agriculture. 

VIDA uses satellite imagery and data layers including agricultural land use to identify high value investment opportunities in frontier markets. Read more here.

Productive Uses of Energy (PUE): PUE are agricultural, commercial and industrial activities that require electricity as a direct input for production of goods or provision of services. Provision of electricity will not automatically translate into rural development; to catalyse development, PUE needs to be stimulated and both upstream and downstream value chains need to be strengthened. Outputs from PUE that service a demand in larger economic hubs characterised by a greater ability to pay present the greatest opportunity. PUE can increase rural incomes. Increasing rural incomes is an important step towards rural development and unlocking a myriad of nascent rural commercial opportunities. We believe in the potential of PUE to create value and build prosperity locally. 

Read our study on the development of metrics to quantify the relationship of energy and production along whole value chains and using these tools to prioritise energy investments into agricultural value chains in Myanmar [coming soon].

Data: Modern technology is enabling unprecedented high resolution insights into frontier markets. We are investing in data analytics to improve efficiency, to unlock new business models and to unlock new customer segments.

Read our report on how data and digital technologies are transforming energy access. Read more here.

Our partners

We are privileged to have built 'genuine symbiotic relationships' with partners across the entire energy value chain.

We work with...

Logo Smart Power Myanmar
Logo Copernicus Accelerator 2019
Logo DLR
Logo Applied AI
Logo European Investment Bank
Logo IFC
Logo REA
Logo ESA
Logo PowerGen Renewable Energy
Logo BMWi
Logo Odyssey Energy Solutions
Logo African Development Bank

Contact section

TFE Energy GmbH


Franz-Joseph-Straße 10
Munich 80801

TFE Africa (Pty.) Ltd.


152 Main Road
Muizenberg, Cape Town
7945, South Africa