x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Abu Dhabi’s Dh55m loan to St Vincent for geothermal power

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development will loan St Vincent and the Grenadines Dh55 million to set up a geothermal power station in the volcanic island country.

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development will loan St Vincent and the Grenadines Dh55 million to set up a geothermal power station in the volcanic island country.

Working with the International Renewable Energy Agency, the project is being funded as part of the Dh1.285 billion project facility, set up in 2012 to provide finance for renewable energy projects in developing Irena member countries.

As one of the five projects selected for funding, the power plant aims to use naturally occurring geothermal energy to provide energy solutions for the islands.

St Vincent prime minister, Ralph Gonsalves, said: “The proposed geothermal power plant will give a strong boost to the energy sector in our country, supporting its economic growth and development programmes.”

As a volcanic island, geothermal energy is in abundance in the Caribbean country and the project will help drive the wider energy sector and help support sustainable economic development across the country’s 32 islands.

“ADFD plays an active role in financing development projects that translate into significant economic and social impact in beneficiary countries,” said Mr Gonsalves. “My government is keen to leverage our collaboration with the fund to push ahead with more development projects that deliver key sustainable development goals and benefit the overall economy.”

The geothermal power plant is planned to generate 15 megawatts an hour. When finished, the plant will cut the cost of electricity generation by 25 per cent and make the grid more resilient to power cuts.

“ADFD has paid particular attention to the renewable energy sector, given the essential role of the sustainable energy in meeting the growing needs of developing countries, and supporting their social and economic development,” said Mohammed Al Suwaidi, director general of ADFD.

He said that despite the potential of renewable energy in sustainable development across the world, funding for costly sustainable projects remains one of the biggest barriers to enabling universal energy access.

The construction and maintenance of the plant itself along with its 40km of electricity lines that need to be installed will create job opportunities for the local population.

“The renewable energy projects financed by the fund since 1974 have contributed to delivering clean energy for millions of people in more than 24 developing countries around the globe. “These projects have generated thousands of megawatts of renewable energy, and stimulated economic growth in the receiving countries,” Mr Al Suwaidi said.

Last month Antigua and Barbuda, Cabo Verde, Senegal and Burkina Faso launched renewable energy projects with nearly Dh170m in low-cost loans from the UAE and Irena.

nalwasmi@thenational.ae