ABU DHABI // Four countries will launch renewable energy projects with nearly Dh170 million in low-cost loans from the UAE and Irena, the International Renewable Energy Agency.
The projects will produce nearly 12 megawatts of renewable energy, and create jobs as well as power.
The loans to Antigua and Barbuda, Cabo Verde, Senegal and Burkina Faso are the first major financial commitments since last month’s COP21 Paris Agreement on climate change.
The money was raised by the Abu Dhabi Fund For Development and Irena, which has its headquarters in Abu Dhabi.
Antigua and Barbuda, the twin-island state in the Caribbean, will receive Dh55m for a 4-megawatt wind and solar project that will desalinate water, increase climate resilience and cut CO2 emissions by 8,275 tonnes a year
“We suffered for many years from severe droughts and in 2015 we experienced the lowest rainfall,” said Molwyn Joseph, the islands’ minister of health and environment. “During that time we had severe losses and severe interruption in services.”
More than half of the islands’ 90,000 citizens depend on tourism to earn a living. Drought and water scarcity in recent years have disrupted business for restaurants, hotels and tourist sites.
The islands consumed all their available surface water over the past decade and have become reliant on outmoded and energy-intensive desalination plants. “We are reliant on fossil fuels, and this project will assist us in using renewable energies to drive desalination,” Mr Joseph said.
“This is critical if we are to meet our INDCs in the Paris Agreement and to reduce our carbon footprint,” the minister said.
The INDCs, or intended nationally determined contributions, are targets from COP21 set by every country for cuts in carbon emissions in the next five years.
One of the successes of COP21 was placing the responsibility for achieving INDCs on each country while encouraging more developed states to lend a hand in funding renewable projects overseas with an eye on cleaner and cheaper infrastructure.
“I think this is a good example of the benefits of COP21, and our country is fortunate to have this start,” Mr Joseph said.
Burkina Faso in west Africa will receive Dh37m for a 3.6 megawatt solar PV mini-grid project that will supply energy to more than 12,000 families and cut CO2 production by 2,500 tonnes a year.
A Dh48m 2-megawatt solar PV mini-grid project in Senegal, also in west Africa, will supply electricity to villages and cut CO2 emissions by 3,200 tonnes a year.
Cabo Verde, the Atlantic island archipelago off the coast of west Africa, will receive Dh30m for a 2-megawatt hybrid grid-connected solar PV and wind project to provide 100 per cent renewable energy for the island of Brava. It will cut CO2 production by 4,665 tonnes a year.
Although the UAE, technically a developing nation, is not obliged to provide financial assistance, it has done so with concessional loans at a 1 to 2 per cent interest rate.
“Accelerating the energy transition to renewables requires all countries to take action to develop their own local renewable energy sources,” said Irena director general Adnan Amin.
“While renewable energy resources are abundant in many developing countries, adequate finance can still be a barrier to deployment.”
Mohammed Al Suwaidi, director general of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, said: “Increased availability of clean, affordable and reliable energy is an important priority for the fund to drive sustainable development and positive societal changes across developing countries.
“Through this collaboration, we have ensured the availability of necessary financial resources.”
Applications for the next round of project funding will be accepted until February 15.
“Renewable energy plays a major role in sustainable development and, for many developing countries, is the most economically viable energy source,” said Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, director of energy and climate change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Source: uae news