Milestone 500,000 biodigesters reached

SNV's Renewable Energy team is celebrating its latest milestone, with over half a million domestic biogas plants having been installed by SNV-supported programmes in 17 countries across Asia and Africa by the end of 2012.

As a result, some 2.9 million people are now benefiting from clean cooking energy and smoke-free kitchens. Workloads have been reduced and household health has been improved - especially for women and children. The biodigesters also produce a potent organic fertiliser, enabling increased agricultural production.

These achievements have been made possible with the support of many donors, in particular the Directorate General for International Cooperation (DGIS) of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. DGIS has supported the BSP in Nepal from its inception in 1992 up till 2010. Since 2003, DGIS has also been instrumental in co-financing the BP in Vietnam, and since 2006 in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia. Another five country programmes (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Burkina Faso) under the Africa Biogas Partnership Programme have been supported by DGIS since 2009.

Other donors that financially support the biogas programmes include German Development Bank (KfW), World Wildlife Fund, Blue Moon Fund, Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, Hivos, People in Need (PIN), the Netherlands Finance Development Company (FMO) and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

These financial contributions have mainly been used to cover the costs of setting-up and running a programme by local partners and to provide incentives for biogas farmers. These subsidies for farmers play an important role in the programmes, as they lower the threshold for families to invest in a biogas plant, serve as promotional tool for biogas companies and guarantee the quality of the units installed. The households, however, remain the main investors through financing the major part of the biodigesters in cash and/or credit.

SNV has supported the set-up and implementation of national programmes on domestic biogas. SNV’s ‘multi-stakeholder sector development approach’ aims to build on organisational and institutional capacities already available in the country. SNV helps to strengthen these capacities of local and national partners. SNV provides a range of services, e.g. technical assistance, brokering microcredit and carbon schemes, as well as facilitating training and strict quality control components in the programme.

The Biogas Support Programme (BSP) in Nepal and the Biogas Programme (BP) in Vietnam are the longest running programmes, accounting for over 80% of plants installed to date. However, programmes in Africa are also advancing rapidly, with 24,000 biodigesters installed in the past three years alone.

The long-term objective of each biogas programme is to arrive at a commercially viable biogas sector, which can be sustained without any Official Development Assistance (ODA), possibly by applying carbon revenues from the compliance and/or voluntary market.

Learn more about SNV's work in Domestic Biogas here.

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