Abu Dhabi: The UAE will fund $31 million (Dh113.87 million) worth of energy projects in three countries with the aim of providing people there with cleaner, more reliable and more affordable energy solutions, it was announced on Saturday.
The funds are part of the sixth cycle of funds being granted by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, as part of its project facility in collaboration with the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena). The funds will be split between Togo, Liberia and Guyana between projects that are set to benefit more than 764,000 people.
“Launched in 2013, this innovative project facility has provided $245 million (Dh899 million) to 24 renewable energy projects in 23 countries. Together, they will bring 157 megawatts of renewable capacity online, and support the efforts of developing countries to overcome the challenge of providing sustainable and cost-effective clean energy,” said Mohammad Al Suwaidi, director general at the Fund.
He was speaking on the second day of the ninth Irena assembly, which concluded in the capital January 12. The two-day assembly was held as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, and saw representatives from 160 countries discussing ways to accelerate the growth of renewable power.
The Fund’s project facility with Irena has been a major source of driving renewable energy deployment. It was announced by the UAE with a total value of $350 million (Dh1.28 billion) to be granted over seven years. Nearly 7.5 million people worldwide are already reaping the benefits of these renewable energy projects. The last cycle is currently accepting applications for projects from developing nations.
“This was an innovative commitment made by the UAE government when it bid to host the Irena headquarter in Abu Dhabi. It really got the ball rolling, and has proved to be remarkably successful [at getting renewable capacity online],” Dr Adnan Ameen, director general at the Irena, told Gulf News.
Most importantly, the Fund’s loans, which cover up to half of each project’s costs, have so far been boosted by $450 million (Dh1,652 million) additional contributions by various governments, banks and private sector entities.
Al Suwaidi added that the Fund will revisit the milestones of the various awarded projects at the conclusion of its seventh cycle.
“We will measure the impacts of the grants, and decide whether the project facility should be extended. At the moment, we are also trying to promote interest in similar initiatives regionally,” he added.
Sixth cycle projects
This year’s projects include a $15 million (Dh55 million) photovoltaic plant in Togo in Western Africa with a capacity of 30 megawatts. The plant is expected to reduce more than 9,000 tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions, while benefiting more than 700,000 households and small businesses.
Another $8 million (Dh29 million) will be loaned to the West African nation of Liberia, which will use the funds to construct a 2.1 megawatt hydropower plant. The energy generated will benefit 30,000 people, and reduce carbon emissions by more than 96,000 tons per year.
Guyana in South America will also receive a $8 million (Dh29 million) loan, with which it will install 5.2 megawatts of grid-connect solar photovoltaic systems. An estimated 35,000 people in six rural residential communities stand to benefit.
Among projects that received grants in past cycles, including in countries as far-flung as Mali, Cuba and Antigua/Barbadua, 16 are already in various stages of implementation, while seven are expected to be constructed by the end of 2019.