Oct 13, 2021

Final Evaluation and Learning Exercise Report of Chile Renewable Energy is Now Available

Interest in solar panels and other renewable energy systems is growing among Chilean companies. The SSRE NAMA provides them with reliable information on the feasibility of self-supply projects and helps with project development.

Photo Copyright: GIZ Chile

The NAMA Facility is supporting NAMA Support Projects (NSPs) that effect sector-wide shifts toward sustainable, irreversible, carbon-neutral pathways in developing countries and emerging economies. All NSPs with an overall duration of more than three years are subject to a mid-term and to a final evaluation and learning exercise (ELE). These ELEs are part of the NAMA Facility’s working approach to catalyse transformational change through incremental monitoring processes that allow fearless learning.

The TSU has commissioned AMBERO and Oxford Policy Management to conduct the ELEs. The exercise is based on a theoretical framework which involves a document review, participatory workshops and stakeholder interviews to collect evidence about NSPs’ results and lessons. These elements are then analysed using a theory-based approach centered on the use of contribution analysis and reinforced by elements of process tracing. The ELEs seek to address the following questions:

  • Has the NSP achieved its results?
  • Has the NSP started to trigger transformational change?

What was learnt from the NSP so far?

The Chile NAMA Support Project “Self-Supply Renewable Energy” (Chile SSRE for short) seeks to strengthen the development of the self-supply renewable energy market in Chile by promoting the incorporation of SSRE systems in small and medium enterprises (SMEs). While this ELE was intended to cover both components of the NSP, the Technical Cooperation (TC) and the Financial Cooperation (FC), the FC faced serious delays and is now expected to start in 2021 and run until 2024. As such, AMBERO and Oxford Policy Management undertook a final evaluation and learning exercise (ELE) on the progress of the TC alone, between September 2020 and February 2021.

The ELE focused on the achievements of and lessons learnt from the TC component implementation in light of the handover to the Financial Component. The exercise asks if the NSP has achieved its results, whether it has started to trigger transformational change, and what learnings the NAMA Facility and the broader climate community might glean from the NSP’s work.

Some of the ELE’s main findings include:

  • Strong and consistent evidence of the NSP’s alignment with national priorities and needs. The Ministry of Energy has been closely involved in the design and implementation of the NSP Technical and Financial Components through leading the Directive Committee where GIZ, CORFO and KfW are also represented.
  • Significant flexibility demonstrated by the TC Component to recognise new opportunities in a timely fashion and adjust its activities to cover non-PV SSRE technologies with good results. For instance, heat pumps and biomass emerged as very promising for SSRE applications in addition to Solar-PV as the NSP advanced, which was adequately reflected in the TC.
  • The Technical Component largely succeeded in raising awareness for the different SSRE options by producing a plethora of information materialsand disseminating them to the markets. Examples include webinars, workshops, events, trainings, online publications, videos, flyers, infographics, site-visits etc.).There is highly corroborated evidence from the ELE that the TC contributed key analysis and data, which accelerated policy and market advancements in the SSRE sector.
  • As financing is a big barrier for end-users, the delay of the Financial Component made the NSP less relevant to them. Had the NSP team known earlier that the FC would not come in place in parallel to the TC, other financial sources could have been identified to support end-users. As no financial mechanisms were devised to support SSRE end-users, no financial support applications had gone through at the time of the ELE. Given this situation, no additional SSRE installed capacity (except for four small projects supported by the helpdesk) can be attributable to the NSP.
  • The Ministry of Energy (MoE) has been closely involved in the development of the MRV system for SSRE projects, which helped the NSP contribute to improving transparency in the energy sector. The MoE has been very satisfied with quality and robustness of the SSRE MRV system, to the extent that it asked GIZ (in collaboration with a consultant) to support them in the development of a second MRV system for large-scale RE. The handover process between the TC to the FC Component could be a key challenge and might fail if GIZ is not appropriately involved in the planning of the FC Component. Close coordination with and knowledge transfer by GIZ will be critical.

The evaluators of the ELE derived lessons learnt and accompanying recommendations for future NSPs in the SSRE sector:

  • Maintain flexibility in the project focus to respond to context changes. Given the importance of a flexible approach to the success of the TC, the FC Component will require ongoing technical assistance to keep track of the SSRE market development.
  • Keep technical assistance and capacity building for the financial sector as a high priority. This could include the development of financial mechanisms for the SSRE market that are based on transparent assessment criteria as well as environmental and social aspects. Regular interactions and engagement with the financial sector will be necessary to design an effective process that fulfils expectations and needs from all stakeholders and results in a portfolio of projects that are ready to receive finance.
  • Improve visibility, dissemination and communication. Following on from the success of the TC in this exercise, it will be important for the FC Component to widen the target audience and diversify dissemination channels.
  • Broaden the view on and coordinate with available financial instruments beyond the FC Component. As the financial landscape of RE incentives in Chile has evolved substantially since the beginning of the NSP, mapping initiatives on an ongoing basis will be important to maximise efficiency.
  • Improve coordination and alignment with the Chilean government. This will be particularly relevant during the handing over process between the two NSP components and regarding knowledge management and trust-building.
  • Exchange learning with other NSPs and initiatives, inside and outside of Chile. In 2019, the Chile SSRE NSP participated in a workshop organised by the TSU in Bonn. Given the similarities of the objectives and target groups between this NSP in Chile and the NSP in Mexico “Energy Efficiency in SMEs as a Contribution to a Low Carbon Economy”, the team from the Chile NSP shared some of their experiences and methodologies. Lessons from the Chile experience were then taken up by the Mexico NSP, which mentioned the PV price index of the Chilean NSP as one of their prime methodological resources. This shows how crucial it is for the NAMA Facility to foster this exchange in the future, but also to establish a knowledge management system.

Following the main findings and recommendations of the ELE, the TSU has compiled a management response to address the key points that were raised.

The full Chile “Self-Supply Renewable Energy” ELE report is available here.

The TSU management response is available here.