Key Energy Access Partners Launch CORE at COP26 to Address Skills Gap in the Sector

5 November 2021 – The Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), the International Copper Association (ICA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Sustainable Energy for ALL (SEforALL), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and the United National Industrial Development Program (UNIDO) have launched the Cornerstone of Rural Electrification Initiative (CORE) to address the immense capacity building and technical assistance needs to support the development of decentralised renewable energy (DRE) systems as a means to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking at the CORE launch at COP26, Steven L. Kukoda, Board Chair of CORE stated that: “I am a firm believer that like-minded organisations working together can accomplish much more than individual companies going at it alone. Partnerships are critical if we are going to make meaningful progress against the UN SDGs. CORE brings together the preeminent organisations in the energy access and energy efficiency spaces to make sure that safety, efficiency and reliability become the cornerstone of decentralised electrification. I am proud to serve as CORE’s first Chair.”

David Lecoque, CEO of ARE said: “We are honoured to be part of the founding members and driving force of CORE. Distributed renewable electricity is imperative to achieve all the SDGs: it provides communities with sustainability electricity services to power livelihoods, doing so in a way that catalyses socio-economic development and local green job creation, that is future-proof and that is effectively addressing climate change. The new CORE initiative serves as a bridge to boost skills development in the sector so we have a stronger and bigger workforce to meet the energy access challenges of tomorrow.”

As the DRE sector inevitably grows and the world moves towards universal electrification by 2030, it is of utmost importance that sustainability is embedded in all projects and that safety, efficiency and reliability reinforce the cornerstone of rural electrification efforts. What is at stake is no less than the achievement of the SDGs, most of which are largely dependent on sustainable electricity to be delivered.

The solution to the sustainability challenge lies with the skills of the local workforce, which must be strengthened to deal with the monumental increase in decentralised electrification in the years to come. A recent survey with DRE industry players indicated that more than 70% of companies have difficulties in finding skilled local field staff.

With this in mind, CORE works with partners on the following avenues of support:

  • Certified CORE Academy trainings for DRE practitioners (directly or through training of trainers)
  • Development of regional/national training and certification frameworks for DRE practitioners together with universities, training institutions, governments, as well as regional and national partner organisations
  • Flexible, on-demand technical assistance and capacity building activities for governments, DRE practitioners, training institutions, universities and rural and peri-urban entrepreneurs
  • An open-source knowledge platform, which gathers existing technical training materials and tools for the benefit of the DRE community

CORE is interested and open to collaborate with likeminded partners that have similar long-term objectives.