Alexander Ochs

Advancing bioelectricity in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Aug 092017

A new report reviews the first year of the LEDS GP’s Bioelectricity Community of Practice in Latin America and the Caribbean, and outlines its key activities and outcomes.


No. of pages: 27
Author(s): Alexander Ochs, Philip Killeen, Ana Maria Majano
Organisation(s): LEDS LAC, LEDS GP

The Bioelectricity Community of Practice, run by the Regional Platform for Latin America and the Caribbean (LEDS LAC) and Energy Working Group, brings together LAC government leaders in charge of designing and implementing bioelectricity policies and programs. It gives them the opportunity to share tools for gathering and processing bioelectricity data to support decision-making. This report describes the activities of the Community of Practice from its inception in July 2016, and identifies the primary areas for tapping into biomass for electricity generation.

During sessions, practitioners applied what they learned to their individual country contexts and had the opportunity to discuss their results and collaborate on shared challenges with supporting experts across several online forums, including private Dropbox and LinkedIn groups.

The Community of Practice addressed key questions such as:

  • How to assess a country’s bioelectricity potential?
  • What technical challenges exist and how can they be addressed?
  • What support policies and measures exist, and how can they be integrated in a country’s existing legal framework?
  • How to create effective and cost-efficient administrative procedures?
  • What do national and international commercial banks and public funders look for?
  • How to design fundable and attractive Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)?

Participants noted that governments in the LAC region often lack access to quality data and tools to evaluate alternative options for bioelectricity development. Some of the knowledge gaps identified included a lack of: information on developing effective communication and collaboration between government ministries; research on available technologies, regulations, and resource assessments for electricity generation from agricultural biomass; and case studies of successful bioelectricity generation in other countries. However, country members also felt that through bioelectricity is not only a low emission alternative to fossil fuels, but economically viable as well. Opportunities such as accessing private sector finance, aligning national and subnational energy policies, and building public consensus on NAMAs could help realize its potential.

Workshop facilitators collaborated with the attendees to design 2017 work plan for the Community of Practice to be supported by LEDS LAC and the Energy Working Group. The 2017 work plan picks out the following priority areas:

  • Designing a comprehensive process for bioelectricity policy development;
  • Assessing resource potentials for bioelectricity;
  • Understanding markets and tradeoffs; and
  • Creating attractive bioelectricity markets.

The work plan outlined in detail in the report provides a comprehensive starting point for Community of Practice members to more effectively communicate bioelectricity sector risks and opportunities to their home institutions. On its own, however, this framework cannot catalyze the transformative change that members hope to achieve. In order to  build on progress made in 2016, the report recommends continued group-oriented activities and country-specific technical assistance.

Explore the Community of Practice priority areas, online materials, and more essential information in the full report.

Read more about the benefits of bioelectricity and the background of the Bioelectricity Community of Practice.

New Africa Mini-grids Community of Practice Launched

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Aug 092017

The Africa LEDS Partnership (AfLP), in collaboration with the LEDS GP Energy Working Group (EWG), hosted the inaugural meeting for the new Africa Mini-grids Community of Practice (AMG-CoP) a day before the ninth Africa Carbon Forum commenced in Cotonou, Benin. The formation of the AMG-CoP is in response to the AfLP membership identifying mini-grid systems as a priority action area for the design of low-emissions development strategies.

Mini-grids present one of the most economical opportunities to achieving universal access to electricity. However, there are several multifaceted challenges to unlocking and catalysing investment into commercial and small scale mini-grids, most notably developing an enabling regulatory environment.

The AMG-CoP has been conceptualised as a country driven initiative, with the inaugural meeting serving as a starting point for countries to identify common challenges and barriers, agree on the priority areas for further development and share lessons and strategies for addressing mini-grid development and rural electrification. Key priorities identified at the meeting include governance and policy for an enabling regulatory environment, business models and unlocking finance for mini-grid development.

The EWG and AfLP are acting as “co-pilots” and have designed a conceptual framework that provides guidance and flexibility to a country-driven, peer-to-peer learning and collaboration platform. The inauguration workshop saw ten African countries convene to discuss the pertinence of mini-grids to their respective countries and national priorities, and formed a close-knit group of peers that will build on this relationship moving forward.

The AMG-CoP will convene for the second time at the AfLP Annual Event, and interested parties, including State and non-State actors, are encouraged to contact the AfLP Secretariat for further information on how to get involved.

Just joined the Clean Energy Solutions Center Roster of Experts

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May 122017

Alexander Ochs

Alexander Ochs

CEO, SD Strategies

Alexander Ochs is a sustainable development strategist. He is the CEO of the Berlin-based consultancy SD Strategies and Senior Director of Climate and Energy at the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C. Alexander currently also acts as President of the Forum for Atlantic Climate and Energy Talks (FACET) and is Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins University. He was a steering committee member of the Low Emission Development Global Partnership (LEDS GP) and is the Founding Chair of the LEDS GP Energy Working Group. Alexander also serves on the Clean Energy Solution Center’s expert roster and as an adviser to the German Government’s International Climate Initiative as well as a number of other international initiatives. In 2011, he received the Sustainable Future Award of the Austrian Academic Forum for Foreign Affairs.

Alexander researched and taught at Princeton University, CUNY, George Washington as well as Humboldt and Freie University in Berlin. He studied at the Universities of Cologne and Munich where he graduated with an M.A. in political science, philosophy and literature. He is fluent in German and English.


Launch of the Energy Toolkit 2.0

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Dec 082016

Proud to be a Lead Editor of this toolkit which has become such a popular reference guide. We had more people trying to sign in today than was the maximum capacity of the online platform. Apologies to those who were unable to sign in!

Here are…

The description:
“The second iteration of the Energy Toolkit, a collection of leading instruments and methodologies for climate-compatible energy planning, offers energy practitioners, policymakers, and experts a quick reference guide to some of the best-established instruments available at no or low cost. The result is a compilation of 26 tools from agencies around the world.The toolkit was produced as a team effort with the many members of the Low-Emissions Development Strategies Global Partnership (LEDS GP), in particular its Energy Working Group (LEDS EWG).”

The toolkit:

The presentation slidesEWG-ALP 2016 Webinar Series Session 3 Master

The webinar recording:

The Energy Toolkit: Leading Instruments & Methodologies for Sustainable Energy Planning

 webinar  Comments Off on The Energy Toolkit: Leading Instruments & Methodologies for Sustainable Energy Planning
Dec 022016

Event Date: December 8, 2016 – 10:00am EST

Please register for the webinar here.

Please join us for the webinar launch of the newly updated Energy Toolkit produced by the Low Emissions Development Strategies Energy Working Group (LEDS EWG) of the Global Partnership (LEDS GP).

The LEDS Energy Toolkit is a collection of leading instruments and methodologies for sustainable energy planning. The Toolkit aims to provide energy practitionerspolicymakers, and experts a quick reference guide to some of the best established energy planning instruments that are available at no or low cost. The result is a compilation of 26 tools from agencies around the world. This webinar will present an overview of the newly updated publication of the toolkit and feature some of its leading tools: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)’s Jobs and Economic Development Impact Model (JEDI) and the Natural Resources Canada’s RETScreen Clean Energy Management Software.


  • Alexander Ochs, Director of Climate and Energy, Worldwatch Institute | Chair of the LEDS EWG and Co-editor of the Energy Toolkit
  • Francisco Flores, Energy Analyst, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Kevin Bourque, Project Engineer, Natural Resources Canada

About the LEDS EWG

The Low Emissions Development Strategies Energy Working Group (LEDS EWG) is a demand-driven network comprised of more than 500 energy sector practitioners representing national governments, multilateral institutions, private practitioners, and non-governmental organizations. The EWG supports the strategic deployment of innovative and climate compatible development strategies in the energy sector. The Group facilitates learning and information exchange, shares best practices, offers advisory services, and provides enhanced opportunities for collaboration on low emission strategy building and specific implementation activities.

Membership is open to all interested parties. Please contact us at

Please register for the webinar here.

Continue reading »


Nov 242016

WW Color Logo_Green BlueWorldwatch’s Alexander Ochs met with Dr. Devon Gardner during the Renewable Energy and Efficiency Week 2016 in Berlin, Germany. Devon is Programme Manager for Energy and Head of the Energy Unit at the Secretariat of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). He is also a member of the preparatory team of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE). In this interview, Devon gives us an update on where the Caribbean region stands one year after the release of Worldwatch’s pivotal Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) Baseline Report and Assessment.

Thank you for taking the time during busy days here in Berlin. You have an important job. What gets you out of bed each morning?

What gets me out of bed is that I want to see a better quality of life for Caribbean people. Every day, I work to bring us incrementally closer to improving the energy situation in the region so that it can build the basis for improved economic resilience and better opportunities for social advancement. Continue reading »

What to Expect: COP22 Climate Summit in Marrakech

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Nov 082016


By Brooke Cary, Desmog, find full article [here].

Today, world leaders and climate negotiators are reconvening in Marrakech, Morocco, less than a year after they hammered out the Paris Agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions through the United Nations process. Over the next two weeks, they will work out the logistics of their climate goals at the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22).  (…)

Negotiators at COP22 will need to strike a delicate balance. You want to be transparent and you want to keep countries accountable for what they are suggesting,” Alexander Ochs, Senior Director of Climate and Energy at Worldwatch Institute, said. “On the other hand, it’s important to keep it voluntary.” (…)

The burning questions are: Who will pay how much — and where will the funding go first? It will have to be seen how the funds are acquired, who pays what, what obligations are there for countries to receive it. That’s the overarching issue,” Ochs said.

Reaching the Paris Agreement’s ambitious target of 1.5°C warming — or even staying below 2°C — will require nations to up their emissions reduction targets far beyond what they have already committed to. COP21 in Paris was one, if not the most important and definitely the most successful climate conference that we’ve had historically,” Ochs said. But, “we can’t just rest with past successes which exist on paper, but have not yet been implemented.” (…)


Caribbean Sustainable Energy Profiles

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Nov 022016

A Key Challenge for Governments in Advancing Sustainable Energy: How to De-risk Investments?

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Jun 282016

Presentation given at the Asia LEDS Forum on Mobilizing Finance for Priority Actions in Hanoi, Vietnam, Day 2 (June 28th, 2016), as introduction to Track 4: How to attract sustainable energy investments? I chaired this track with my colleague Xander van Tilburg from ECN.


Webinar: Gender Mainstreaming in the Energy Sector: Framework and Applications

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Jun 022016


ppt here: EWG-ALP 2016 Webinar Series Session 3 Master

recording to follow soon.

How Portugal went 107 hours on only renewable energy

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May 182016

CSM_LogoProving its leadership in renewable energy, Portugal powered all of its electricity with only renewable energy for four days.

By Story Hinckley, CSM

From the morning of May 7 to the afternoon of May 11, Portugal’s electricity consumption was fully covered by renewable sources. For 107 hours, Portugal powered all of its electricity from biofuels, hydropower plants, wind turbines, solar panels, and geothermal heat. But this is not the first time that Portugal has boasted an impressive energy statistic. (…)

“How did Portugal assume such impressive leadership in the clean energy transition?” asks WorldWatch Institute. “The key, as usual, lies in ambitious supportive policies.”

Feed-in tariffs, which provide renewable electricity producers with a guaranteed price for each megawatt-hour of energy fed into the country’s power grid, were first introduced in 1988 and have continued to develop, according to WorldWatch. Also, host municipalities of renewable energy receive payments of 2.5 percent of revenue. And the government bought transmission lines from private power companies at the turn of the century, refitting the grid infrastructure to better connect with small electricity generators such as domestic solar panels.  (…)

Find the full article [here].

Innovative Tools for Advancing Low-Emission and Climate-Resilient Energy Planning in Asia

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Apr 182016

LEDS_GP_logo*Join us for our Second Webinar in our Webinar Series*

Hosted by the Asia LEDS Partnership and Energy Working Group of the LEDS Global Partnership

Session 2:  Assessing Renewable Energy Potential Using the Geospatial Toolkit (GsT): Applications in Vietnam’s Thanh Hoa Province

Date:                                April 21, 2016
Time:                               10:00 AM Indochina Time (ICT)

Jon Duckworth, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Donna Heimiller, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Khanh Nguyen, USAID Low Emission Asian Development (LEAD) Program Country Coordinator

Sandra Khananusit, Asia LEDS Partnership Secretariat
Alexander Ochs, LEDS GP Energy Working Group

Register here.

Check the time of the webinar according to your location here. Continue reading »

Bernie Sanders wants to phase out nuclear power plants. Is that a good idea?

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Mar 282016

By Ben Adler

You’ve probably heard that Bernie Sanders has the most impressive climate agenda of any major-party presidential candidate in history. His proposals may be politically unrealistic, but they are bold. If Sanders were president and he had a pliant Congress, his carbon tax and investments in renewables would radically overhaul our energy system for the better. (…)

Some other green groups take a more nuanced approach. NRDC, for example, supports relicensing plants in situations where it’s safer and the plants can’t yet be replaced by renewable energy, and it calls for rejecting those — such as Indian Point in Westchester, N.Y. — that are uniquely dangerous.

Alexander Ochs, senior director of climate and energy at the Worldwatch Institute, says we should put a moratorium on new nuclear plant construction and subject existing plants to “the closest safety scrutiny.” In the end, while these policy positions are based on a different analysis than Sanders’, they differ from his in degree more than in kind: they would hasten the natural death of nuclear energy, only more slowly than Sanders would, in the interest of limiting short-term emissions. (…)

Read full article [here].

Living Planet: Where are we at with renewables? [Radio Interview]

 radio interview  Comments Off on Living Planet: Where are we at with renewables? [Radio Interview]
Mar 112016

The Fukushima disaster convinced the German government under Angela Merkel that nuclear power was not the way to go. The country decided to start phasing out nuclear energy and give financial support to the development of renewable energy technologies. This helped to boost alternative energy production around the globe. So how far have we got in the last five years?


Viento y sol, fuentes de energía que amenazan a los apagones dominicanos

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Mar 112016
Worldwatch: pueden suplir toda la energía de necesita el país
| 11 MAR 2016, 12:00 AM ROSALÍA ROMANO
SANTO DOMINGO. Desde parques eólicos, pasando por plantas solares, centrales hidroeléctricas y generadores a partir de la biomasa, las posibilidades de producción de energía renovable en el país son diversas y elevadas. De acuerdo con el informe “Aprovechamiento de los Recursos de Energía Sostenible de la República Dominicana”, publicado en julio del año pasado por el Worldwatch Institute, el país tiene el potencial de revolucionar la manera en que produce y consume electricidad.

En su estudio, el Worldwatch Institute sostiene que que República Dominicana puede lograr hasta un 85% de generación eléctrica renovable para el 2030, con costos de inversión de menos de US$47,000 millones entre los años 2013 y 2030.

Continue reading »

Living Planet: Fukushima – 5 years on [Radio Interview]

 radio interview  Comments Off on Living Planet: Fukushima – 5 years on [Radio Interview]
Mar 102016

DW.ImageFive years ago, the world was shocked by the news that a massive earthquake had triggered a devastating tsunami along the coast of Japan. Entire villages were destroyed and the nuclear plant at Fukushima went into meltdown. What does the region look like today and where are we at with the push for renewable energy?