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The Renewable Nations Institute
Description/achievement of initiative

The Institute is a Commitment to: (1) provide an integrated set of Enabling Actions in Energy Planning and Policies, and in Capacity Building and Knowledge Sharing, targeted to 81 low- and middle-income countries of the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) Initiative; (2) establish a United States Partnership for Sustainable Development to stimulate $200 billion USD in U.S.-based investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy (EERE) projects through 2030; and (3) develop a technical assistance and human capacity building services center (Project Incubator) to support the development of investment-grade proposals for targeted countries of the SEforALL Initiative.

Implementation methodologies

COMMITMENT IMPLEMENTATION METHODOLOGIES: The Institute’s implementation methodologies are based upon established Service-Learning and Work-Learning-Service pedagogies. COMPONENT #1: Service-Learning, the Green Earth Corps. Under the Institute’s “Green Earth Corps” non-accredited Service-Learning program, high school students from throughout the United States and abroad will attend a 14-day residential term at the Renewable Nations Summer Institute and receive certification to conduct training in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In turn, these students will train their peers with the support of distance-learning services from Institute instructors. Summer Institute graduates and their peers will be designated as United Nations Junior Ambassadors upon completion of a minimum of 60 hours of community service educating the general public on the SDGs in the context of the UN SEforALL Initiative and the Paris Agreement. Additionally, Junior Ambassadors will support the Institute’s Sectoral Commitment, the MicroSolar Distance-Learning Programme (MSDLP), under a sister-school program. The MSDLP aims to electrify deep-rural schools throughout the developing world to serve as multi-purposed educational telecenters. COMPONENT #2, Work-Learning-Service: Under the Institute’s Work-College program, high-performing college and university undergraduate and graduate students will attend accredited one- and/or two-semester low-residency and residency Work-Learning-Service programs to: (a) support the delivery of the Institute’s Commitment to Enabling Actions in Energy Planning and Policies, and in Capacity Building and Knowledge Sharing; (b) establish a United States Partnership for Sustainable Development; and (c) develop a technical assistance and human capacity building services center (Project Incubator). Up to 50% of undergraduate and graduate students, designated as UN Junior Fellows are required to work a minimum of 5-hours per week in a paid internship to support the preparation of investment-grade proposals for low- and middle-income SEforALL country members who register as clients of the Institute’s Project Incubator.

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

Under a United States Partnership for Sustainable Development, the Institute will collaborate with Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI-U) members, member institutions of the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and member institutions of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The goal of this collaboration is to establish a distributed Commitment services network based upon a Hub and Spoke model with College Clusters. The Hub and Spoke model, as feasible, will be replicated after and integrated with US Department of Energy (DOE) university-based Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs), an established network of engineering schools throughout the US that trains undergraduate and graduate students for the energy services industry. In the Hub and Spoke model, academic spokes are proposed at host colleges and universities based upon existing academic programs aligned with the Institutes technical assistance and human capacity building delivery services. Hub and Spoke services are identified for education, finance, technology, planning, data services, research and development. The Institute’s Hub and Spoke model will also be established regionally: (a) an Africa Hub in collaboration with the US-Africa Energy Ministerial in Sub-Sahara Africa; (b) a Latin American Hub in collaboration with the Organization of Latin American Departments of Energy (OLADE) in Quito, Ecuador; and (c) an Asia Hub coordinated through a US-China Partnership. The Institute is currently aggregating a financially capable, multi-sector stakeholder consortium with the mission to establish a special purpose vehicle with the objectives to formulate a consortium-based concept proposal for the adaptive reuse of the historic Fort Winfield Scott at The Presidio (San Francisco, California) to develop and operate a National Center for Work-Learning-Service and Leadership in Sustainability & Global Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure

GOVERNANCE: SolarQuest L3C is the Commitment Holder responsible to Global Facilitation Team (GFT) and supervises Commitment services. SolarQuest L3C is managed by its Members in compliance with State of Vermont corporate law. The Global Challenge Award, Inc., (GCA) doing-business-as the Renewable Nations Institute, is the commitment operator. GCA is a non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors in accordance with the Statues of the State of Vermont and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. SolarQuest L3C and GCA will jointly manage Commitment services and deliverables in collaboration with multi-sector affiliates. COORDINATION MECHANISMS: An International Leadership Council (ILC) consisting of current and former government officials from United Nations (UN) member countries, and a Commitment Advisory Board (CAB) consisting of multi-sector stakeholders from SEforALL Initiative targeted member countries, will coordinate Commitment activities in alignment with the goals and objectives of the SEforALL Initiative, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. These coordination mechanisms will support access to key governmental policy makers for targeted delivery of decision support services while insuring transparency through multi-sector stakeholder engagement. The Governance team (SolarQuest L3C and GCA) will consult with SEforALL Global Facilitation Team (GFT), as necessary, to assure effective structural teaming and coordination protocols in compliance with the United Nations fundamental coordination principles of accountability and transparency, and professional standards and ethics. EVALUATING IMPACT: The IAC and CAB shall oversee the evaluation of Commitment services and deliverables under an iterative assessment process in conformity with Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Principals of Impact Evaluation. The OECD Principles for Evaluation of Development Assistance (1991) will provide the framework for evaluation programming, including but not limited to: (1) design and implementation of evaluations; (2) reporting, dissemination and feedback; and (3) application and follow-up. Impact evaluation will assess how interventions across the full spectrum of Commitment services affect outcomes, whether intended or unintended, and will provide a counterfactual assessment of what outcomes would have been based on current policies and practices in the absence of the intervention(s). Systems of National Accounting (SNA) metrics will be utilized to establish benchmarks for integrated SDGs across spheres of economy, society and environment. Systems Dynamic (SD) Modeling will be utilized to conduct predictive modeling for decision support and assess longitudinal impacts of Commitment services.


SolarQuest L3C, The Global Challenge Award, Inc., Vital CleanTech Ventures
Progress reports
Goal 4
Goal 7
Goal 13
Goal 17
August 2017
Summer Institute (2017), Annual Program
August 2018
Institute Work-College, Annual Program
August 2018
Project Accelerator Hub, Annual Program
August 2018
Micro-Solar Distance Learning Programme, Annual Program
September 2017
Online Service-Learning Jr. SEforALL Ambassador, Annual Program
Other, please specify
Annual Revenue from Workstation Lease Agreements: USD 12 million (beginning 2018).
In-kind contribution
Pre-program Development Financing, In-kind, contracts and grants: USD 9 million

Basic information
Time-frame: JANUARY 2017 - December 2030
SolarQuest L3C, The Global Challenge Award, Inc., Vital CleanTech Ventures
Contact information
Allan Baer, President, abaer@solarquest.us
United Nations