Senior Director, Universal Energy Facility, SEforALL
Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) is an international organization working with leaders in government, the private sector and civil society to drive further, faster action toward achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), which calls for universal access to sustainable energy by 2030, and the Paris Agreement, which calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit climate warming to below 2° Celsius.
Achieving these goals will require a radical rethink of the way we produce, distribute and consume energy. SEforALL is at the heart of this foundational shift to ensure no one is left behind. Drawing on data and evidence, we identify a critical path to success in achieving SDG7.
Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative in 2011. Now an independent organization, we maintain close links with the UN, including through a relationship agreement, partnerships with UN agencies and with SEforALL’s CEO acting as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy. These roles include advising the UN Secretary General and his staff on issues relating to sustainable energy and the implementation of SDG7 and supporting the coordination of sustainable energy issues in the United Nations system.
The ambitions of SDG7 are extraordinary. Aiming to achieve them in the context of the Paris Agreement on climate change involves transformation at a scale never undertaken before. Swift action must be taken by leaders in governments, private sector companies, institutions, financiers, development banks, unions, communities, entrepreneurs and civil society. As we enter the final decade to achieve SDG7, SEforALL has strategically chosen to strengthen global agenda-setting while expanding its activities to an engagement model that prioritizes data-driven decision-making, partnerships with high-impact countries and implementation on the ground. The new SEforALL threeyear business plan outlines “results offers” that scope out our planned interventions and demonstrate to our funding partners the impact of their support.
Results Based Financing Background
Sovereign, philanthropic and other donors are increasingly using Results-Based Financing (RBF) to support energy access programmes. Providing financial support at the required speed and scale to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) – and to reach the last-mile communities that are the most vulnerable – will require a paradigm shift towards RBF, which would allow governments and donors to:
- shift an appropriate level of risk of delivery to the private sector;
- provide greater certainty to industry about the level of financial support required; and
- aggregate financing and scale support across multiple countries.
SEforALL launched and operationalized the Universal Energy Facility (UEF) in October 2020 as a multi-donor RBF facility designed to significantly speed up and scale-up the delivery of energy connections in Sub-Saharan Africa. The UEF provides incentive payments to eligible organizations that deploy energy solutions and provide verified end-user energy connections.
SEforALL’s activities to date include designing the end-to-end UEF framework and processes to launch Wave 1 of theUEF for mini-grid projects in Africa, including qualification criteria, technical specifications and KPIs; conducting analysis of base case assumptions and financial modelling to ensure a sound subsidy amount; setting up an initial UEF Governance Structure; carrying out in-country due diligence and stakeholder engagement; and managing the full process from pre-qualification and site specific applications to grant disbursements.
The UEF was launched in October 2020 with the application process opening for mini-grid projects in Sierra Leone and Madagascar. The UEF expanded to Benin for mini-grid projects in early 2021. Over the coming year, SEforALL expects to significantly grow the UEF to be a USD 100 million facility operating in multiple countries in Africa, expanding the mini-grid windows to new countries and launching a new window for stand-alone solar for productive use. We will be working closely with a major new donor coalition under development, led by the Rockefeller and IKEA Foundations. The aspiration over a 2-3 year time horizon is to grow the fund to USD 500 million in total. Sustainable Energy for All will continue to act as programme manager and fund manager during this period, requiring significant scale up of the UEF team, including a dedicated fund management team, more operational support from the broader SEforALL organization, in particular the finance team, and more formalized governance of the UEF by a new Governing Board and an administrative arrangement with SEforALL’s existing governance structure.
Purpose/Objective of the role
Reporting to the CEO/SRSG for Sustainable Energy for All, with a ‘dotted line’ to a new Governing Board for the UEF, the main objectives of the role include to:
- Lead the UEF programme delivery including its scale up over the coming years.
- Operationalize and manage the UEF as an RBF key deliverable for SEforALL.
- Collaborate with internal and external stakeholders inclusive of partners and funders to ensure successful delivery of the programme.
- Mobilize resources for the UEF, working closely with SEforALL’s CEO/SRSG and Senior Director, Resource Mobilization.
Main duties and tasks of the role:
The main duties and tasks of the role include, but are not limited to:
- Develop and implement the UEF strategy, ensuring that activities are well managed, responsive to changing needs to meet the UEF and SEforALL mission and objectives.
- Mobilize resources for the UEF, working closely with SEforALL’s CEO/SRSG’, Senior Director, Resource Mobilization and UEF Governing Board to ensure well-coordinated outreach to leading donors.
- Operationalize and manage the UEF as a RBF key deliverable for SEforALL to scale energy access solutions (mini-grids, solar systems, clean cooking) across sub-Saharan Africa.
- Lead the development and implementation of the UEF business planning process inclusive of annual workplans, budgets, tasks, reflecting changes and new funding.
- In close collaboration with the SEforALL Senior Director of Finance and Procurement, manage the UEF fund management function to ensure fiduciary compliance, including managing donor contributions, tracking funding to applicants, completing grant agreements and processing grant disbursements, inclusive of general procurement and financial management of the programme.
- Lead all aspects of the UEF programme operations, including design and implementation of new windows and markets; pre-qualification review and approvals; project / site-specific application review and approvals; grant agreements; connection verifications; funds management and disbursement; project modification approval; and facility administration.
- Manage a team of professional staff, consultants, subcontractors and local partners and build capacity in service delivery.
- In close collaboration with the SEforALL monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) team, establish and track key performance indicators, manage and monitor the flow of deliverables and manage donor reporting in accordance with donors contract timeline.
- Provide leadership, guidance and expert advice to the UEF programme team, the CEO, funding partners and other stakeholders,
- Provide thought leadership and position the UEF and SEforALL as a global leader and an innovator for RBF in energy access.
- Lead the relationship management with donors and other stakeholders for the UEF programme.
- Act as a technical focal point for RBF, providing support to the CEO for SEforALL, including developing briefings, talking points and other communications as needed.
- Coordinate support for the UEF Governing Board meetings and ensure workplans, budgets, financial forecasts and other material is provided in a timely manner.
- Participate in SEforALL’s Leadership Team overseeing the performance of the organization.
Functional technical competencies specific to the role
- Advanced degree and 17 to 20 years experience in energy access, energy transition, economics, energy economics, energy infrastructure, or in another relevant discipline.
- Wide international energy development and programme / project management experience leading similar-scale programmes (USD 100m+ budget) in developing regions/countries, preferably Africa.
- Extensive knowledge and experience of off-grid energy financing models and incentive structures and the associated policies, with strong preference for direct experience with performance / results-based financing.
- Technical knowledge of off-grid energy systems, particularly mini-grids and stand alone solar systems (with knowledge of clean cookstoves an advantage)
- Energy project finance, investment banking and/or development finance experience.
- Strong people management skills.
- Practical experience of engaging with energy sector stakeholders in international and/or developing country contexts.
- Strong diplomatic judgment for managing different relationships with different types of partners (Boards, governments, funders, MDBs, NGOs, UN agencies, etc.)
- Fundraising experience, including proven success in mobilizing commercial investment, development finance and/or grant funding at the eight-figure USD level.
- Ability to negotiate complex partnership arrangements that need to balance competing interests.
- Proven leadership and teamworking skills in building and motivating teams, in harnessing collective creativity and initiative in order to create processes and opportunities that are cutting-edge or have not been attempted before.
- Strong monitoring, evaluation and learning, and reporting skills.
- Experience of working in a fast-paced environment that requires high flexibility and a commitment to results.
- Experience in operating across multiple time zones and with distributed teams
- Fluency in English required; proficiency in French preferred.