About SURE

Speeches Shim

Through the Scaling Up Renewable Energy program, USAID helps partner countries power economies, meet international climate commitments, and strengthen energy security via private investment in, and competitive procurement of, clean electricity.

Technological advancements continue to drive renewable energy prices down, often making electricity from solar and wind cheaper than fossil fuels. Renewables increase investment opportunities, provide low-cost electricity, and create jobs in rural and remote areas where industry and employment may be scarce.

USAID’s Scaling Up Renewable Energy (SURE) program helps partner countries meet bold climate commitments by accelerating their transition to more affordable, reliable, and accessible energy that spurs economic growth, powers health systems, and reduces emissions. Through SURE, USAID provides a variety of services to help policymakers, utilities, and regulators plan, procure, and integrate renewable energy, modernize energy sectors, and create policies that enable sustainable energy markets to flourish. As more partner countries aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and reduce hazardous waste, SURE’s Innovation Fund supports clean energy technology, energy efficiency innovation, and a circular economy for renewable energy equipment.

SURE uses continuous learning to apply innovation and best practices to scale up renewable energy while empowering women, strengthening communities, and promoting self-reliance.

Advancing Strategic Energy Planning

Poor resource planning can cause energy shortages and service interruptions or surpluses that raise electricity prices due to supply and demand imbalance. It also increases vulnerability to fossil fuel price fluctuations and emissions. SURE works with utilities, system planners, government ministries, and regulators to accurately forecast energy demand and identify shortfalls so each country can achieve an optimal energy mix. For example, SURE has introduced a resource planning software tool in India that is expected to help distribution companies in Assam and Jharkhand reduce power purchase costs between 5 and 10 percent ($35 million annually for each distribution company) and increase the share of electricity from renewable energy by 10 to 15 percent.

Wind turbines tower over lush green farmland during a purple sunset
Energy planning determines when, where, and how to invest. When done well, today’s decisions address tomorrow’s needs and challenges.
© Studio Chlorophylle / Adobe Stock

SCALING UP RENEWABLE ENERGY PROGRAM – Energy planning determines when, where, and how to invest. When done well, today’s decisions address tomorrow’s needs and challenges.

Increasing Competition and Lowering Costs

Regardless of market maturity, auctions help policymakers reduce costs sustainably while spurring private investment, creating local jobs, reducing corruption in the procurement process, and cutting emissions. Compared to negotiated procurements, auctions enable faster project execution and allow policymakers greater volume control and ease in scaling for multiple projects and rounds. SURE’s experts provide a full range of services to prepare for, design, and implement auctions, making sure that partners are supported in every step of the process. Between 2013 and 2021, SURE facilitated $24.6 billion of investment in large-scale wind and solar plants that will prevent 30.9 million tons of emissions annually, which is like taking six million cars off the road.

Business chart with glowing arrows and world map
Countries can achieve historically low energy prices when energy providers compete in open and transparent markets.
© Peshkov / Adobe Stock

SCALING UP RENEWABLE ENERGY PROGRAM – Countries can achieve historically low energy prices when energy providers compete in open and transparent markets.

Accelerating Grid Integration

Investing and upgrading prepares the grid for evolving needs while raising investor confidence and making renewable energy projects and large-scale transmission expansions with long lead times more bankable. SURE works with partner countries to transform power systems and integrate higher shares of renewable energy while reducing costs and curtailment, preventing stagnation of large-scale renewable energy deployment, and enabling new business models such as electric vehicles, aggregation, demand-side management, and distributed energy resources. We train partners on modeling, analysis, and implementation skills to drive energy sector transformation.

A cityscape at night with high power energy transmission towers in the foreground. A network of lines and dots of light are superimposed over the image to evoke the concept of the smart energy grid.
As prices for clean energy and storage technologies continue to fall and nations explore ways to cut emissions, integrating higher shares of variable renewable energy becomes more urgent and complex.
© urbans78 / Adobe Stock

Investing and upgrading prepares the grid for evolving needs while raising investor confidence and making renewable energy projects and large-scale transmission expansions with long lead times more bankable. SURE works with partner countries to transform power systems and integrate higher shares of renewable energy while reducing costs and curtailment, preventing stagnation of large-scale renewable energy deployment, and enabling new business models such as electric vehicles, aggregation, demand-side management, and distributed energy resources. We train partners on modeling, analysis, and implementation skills to drive energy sector transformation.

Promoting a Circular Economy

According to the International Energy Agency, it is paramount that we completely transform how we produce, transport, and consume energy to achieve the global climate ambition of net zero emissions by 2050. As part of the clean energy transition, the demand for more solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries is creating pressure on the environment, from increased mining of critical metals to more waste piling up after the equipment reaches the end of its useful life. In a circular economy, products, parts, and materials have multiple life cycles and re-entry points into the market as they are systematically recovered, repaired, reused, and remade. SURE engages strategically with partners to support transformational policies and initiatives and builds human capital and institutional capacity to address waste challenges while creating economic value and jobs. We work with partners to develop new innovations, sustainable practices, business models, and secondary markets for renewable energy parts and materials, cultivating a circular economy that is gender-inclusive, reduces waste, makes the supply chain more resilient, and extends equipment life.

White sketches superimposed on a blurry background of greens and blues. The central sketch is a lightbulb with a sprouting plant as the filament. Surrounding sketches include wind turbines, the recycle symbol, a network of people, Earth's landmasses, and energy transmission towers.
For renewable energy to be a truly clean power source, solar, wind, and battery equipment must be manufactured, deployed, and decommissioned in a net zero, responsible, safe, and sustainable way.
© tonefotografia / Adobe Stock

SCALING UP RENEWABLE ENERGY PROGRAM – A circular economy for renewable energy can reduce emissions and pressure on natural resources, chart innovative pathways to net-zero economies, create sustainable economic growth and jobs, and reduce supply chain risk.

Catalyzing Innovation and Partnership

Open innovation and competition are key to solving big problems. USAID seeks collaborators to help identify current and emerging problems to scale up renewable energy. SURE’s Innovation Fund creates opportunities to forge new partnerships with local, U.S., and international partners, leverages private and public resources, and taps into innovative solutions. SURE identifies alignment opportunities with the private sector and jointly explores and advances high-impact, private sector-led approaches. By harnessing the power of innovation and partnership, we can accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy while making electricity more affordable, reliable, accessible, and sustainable.

Interconnected steel gears embossed with the words INNOVATION, LEADERSHIP, TEAMWORK, IDEA, VISION, PLAN.
Innovation and experimentation are critical in accelerating the clean energy transition. USAID cultivates new solutions, tests new ideas, and scales what works.
© EtiAmmos / Adobe Stock

Open innovation and competition are key to solving big problems. USAID seeks collaborators to help identify current and emerging problems to scale up renewable energy. SURE’s Innovation Fund creates opportunities to forge new partnerships with local, U.S., and international partners, leverages private and public resources, and taps into innovative solutions. SURE identifies alignment opportunities with the private sector and jointly explores and advances high-impact, private sector-led approaches. By harnessing the power of innovation and partnership, we can accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy while making electricity more affordable, reliable, accessible, and sustainable.

Date 
Monday, February 7, 2022 - 10:30am

Last updated: June 15, 2022