EnDev-supported energy initiative FOCAEP in Central America wins international award

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Honduras 2017/06/12

12 June 2017

The FOCAEP initiative boosts access to renewable energy for vulnerable populations through the installation of improved wood stoves and the development of micro-hydroelectric plants and solar systems

FOCAEP is active in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua

FOCAEP.png FOCAEP is active in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua

The Sustainable Energy Access Fund for Poverty Reduction in Central America (FOCAEP) received the National Energy Globe Award 2017 Honduras.

FOCAEP is an initiative promoted by BUN-CA in Central America, with technical and financial support from the Energising Development (EnDev) programme. FOCAEP was established in 2013 as an instrument for the sustainable funding of energy access-oriented activities in the region. It now works increasingly successful, having attracted additional non-EnDev funding for micro- and carbon financing of ICS.

Energy Globe National Award 2017 Honduras
Energy Globe National Award 2017 Honduras

In Honduras, the fund encourages the use of improved wood stoves that reduce the consumption of firewood in the daily cooking of food, and also encourages the installation of micro-hydroelectric power plants to provide energy to small businesses and communities not connected to the national grid.

Since 2013, FOCAEP has been working in all departments of Honduras, western Guatemala and along the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. To date, 30,000 improved wood stoves have been installed, and 10 pilot investments have been made in micro-hydroelectric power systems and solar systems, through a network of community-based organisations and microfinance institutions, benefiting some 160,000 people in these three countries.

Sustainable energy for reducing poverty

This Honduran woman cooks with the improved cookstove model ‘Justa’, saving firewood and reducing emissions
According to José María Blanco, Director of BUN-CA, one of the goals of the fund is to reduce poverty levels through access to sustainable energy sources, using a market approach that allows the same beneficiary populations to participate in the financing of small investments.

"Despite the increase in electricity coverage in Central America over the last decade, there are still about 2 million households in the region that do not have access to electricity. In addition, we have estimated that 21 million people on the Isthmus (half the population) use firewood to cook their meals at least three times a day," explained Blanco.

Pioneering initiative

The award given by the Austria-based Energy Globe organisation recognises the best initiatives in five categories each year: land, fire, water, air and youth; as well as sustainable plastics.

"The creation of the fund responds to a financial mechanism that emerged from the need to find alternatives to reduce energy poverty, gender equity and stimulate economic growth in rural, peri-urban and urban areas of the target countries through the development of solutions (improved wood stoves and micro hydroelectric power stations, among other forms), which serve as a catalyst for the creation of clean and sustainable markets that do not yet have access to conventional commercial banking sources," added Blanco.

Improved technology stoves that have been installed as part of FOCAEP´s initiatives reduce the use of firewood by 50%, which is equivalent to protecting about 2,500 hectares of tropical forest.