Distributed Renewable Energy-Agriculture Modalities (DREAM)



Providing reliable year-round sustainable irrigation for all farmers in the communities

The Distributed Renewable Energy-Agriculture Modalities (DREAM) project will facilitate the implementation and private sector operation of nine renewable energy mini-grids and irrigation systems across Ethiopia. The project will run from November 1, 2021, to October 31, 2023.

This is anticipated to provide reliable year-round irrigation for all farmers in the communities (1,545 hectares of irrigated farmland), making this the largest mini-grid powered irrigation project in Africa. It is expected to impact an estimated 11,500 people (2,500 households), seven schools and three health clinics/outposts. In addition, the project will implement various productive use activities to support a range of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), specifically electric vehicles for transporting goods and persons.

The project will make a comprehensive suite of detailed information and economic analysis, technical assistance facilities, grant funding, concessional debt, and risk mitigation facilities available to selected private sector companies. These companies will develop, deploy, and operate each of the nine identified sites. The project consists of three distinct components:

  1. Mini-grids: Renewable energy generation and distribution to households, MSMEs and agricultural/irrigation anchor customers;

  2. Irrigation services: implementation of large-scale water pumping and distribution systems to farmers;

  3. Productive use of energy (PUE): Operation of electric vehicles and other productive use activities such as agricultural processing.

The project is one of the first initiatives supported under the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, a joint initiative by Rockefeller Foundation, IKEA Foundation and Bezos Earth Fund launched at COP26 in Glasgow. The project's key partners are the African Development Bank (AfDB) through the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), the Agricultural Transformation Energy (ATA), the Ministry of Water and Energy (MoWE) of Ethiopia, Veritas, Keller-Bliesner Engineering, Odyssey Energy Solutions and SNV.

The project implemented by SNV will include the following elements:

  • Management of a Mini-grid Development Fund (MDF) providing performance-based financial support to the nine targeted agriculture-driven private sector mini-grids in Ethiopia;

  • Community and farmer engagement on PUE beyond irrigation and e-mobility supporting demand activation and contribution to the viability of the mini-grids;

  • Knowledge management to support overall learning from the pilot, evaluation and dissemination of results and lessons learned;

  • Sector collaboration and coordination with project partners and service providers.

Programme partners

Programme partners

DREAM  is projected to transform household farmer-based Agricultural Commercial Clusters (ACCs), a programme envisioned to support farmers to become commercial actors and boost incomes by creating specialised geographic clusters that receive targeted support from the ATA across the value chain. This will be undertaken by providing reliable and affordable solar mini-grid power to enable large-scale cluster irrigation farming throughout the year. Compared to current diesel generator-based irrigation solutions, the DREAM project should increase farmers' production and income substantially.

In addition to providing renewable energy for ACC irrigation, the project will contribute significantly to the government's National Electrification Programme (NEP 2.0) and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 7 (electricity access) and SDG 6 (clean water supply) to household farmers and surrounding communities.

For more information, please visit the DREAM application portal through Odyssey.

Our donors and partners

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