UAE pledges Dh150.6 million in clean energy loans to six developing nations
ABU DHABI // Clean-energy projects in Mali, the Maldives, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Ecuador and Samoa have been chosen to receive Dh150 million in loans from the UAE.
The funding will allow the nations’ governments to help their rural communities by building wind, solar, hydro and biomass projects with a total capacity of 35 megawatts.
This is the first round in a seven-year cycle that will see Dh1.3 billion provided to developing countries by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, in cooperation with the International Renewable Energy Agency.
The projects were announced at Irena’s fourth annual assembly, which took place as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and ended yesterday.
The concessionary loans, which cover half the cost of each project, are part of a pledge made by the UAE in 2009 in its successful campaign to become host of Irena’s headquarters.
“We firmly believe as a fund that we should support developing countries in acquiring renewable energy,” said Adel Al Hosani, director of the development fund’s operations.
Ilona Antoniszyn-Klik, under secretary of state at the Polish ministry of economy, and chairwoman of the Irena advisory committee, said: “These projects show the real impact of Irena in the world.”
In the Maldives, a Dh22m loan will help the government to build a waste-to-energy plant that solves three environmental and health problems at the same time.
It will reduce the need for landfills, a serious issue for small island nations where space is limited, generate 2MW of clean energy and produce 62 million litres of potable water a year through desalination.
About 120,000 people are expected to benefit from the scheme.
In Mauritania, a 15MW wind-power network will be built with the help of an Dh18.3m loan. The project will help coastal communities that are isolated from the country’s main grid.
Schools, health centres and desalination plants will be powered, and the project will also give fishermen reliable access to ice for their catches.
In Samoa, a loan of Dh25.7m will help to fund the building of two plants to produce energy and biodiesel from biomass. Three megawatts of energy and 4 million litres of biodiesel will be produced each year.
Also receiving funding are a 3MW hydro energy project in Ecuador to generate electricity for a community of 7,000 people, and solar photovoltaic projects in Mali and Sierra Leone.
In choosing the winning applicants, Irena’s experts assessed the socio-economic impact and technical merits of projects, with the fund making final selections based on the agency’s recommendations.
“The selection criteria used in the project review ensured that these six projects selected are representative of geographic spread of the agency membership and cover a variety of renewable-energy technologies,” said Ms Antoniszyn-Klik.
“This will have a great impact for the development of renewable energy and sustainable development goals.
“The criteria also ensured that the projects were technically sound, they had to be innovative, replicable and improve energy access and security.”
The six projects were chosen from 80 applications filed with Irena. They had a total value of Dh2.9bn, “showing the tremendous need for capital in this area”, said Ms Antoniszyn-Klik.
Dr Adnan Amin, secretary general of Irena, said the impact of the funding would be more significant than just providing finance for the six projects, auguring well for other developing countries.
“There is a large pipeline of renewable-energy projects that are viable and feasible projects today,” Dr Amin said. “The importance of this is the building of a global pipeline of projects that can actually be attractive to other investors.
“We are talking to a number of international financial institutions who are interested in sharing the pipeline of projects with us and looking at it from the perspective of future finance.
Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week will also include the World Future Energy Summit, International Water Summit, and the announcement of winners in the Zayed Future Energy Prize.
Updated: January 19, 2014 04:00 AM