US$50m boost for renewable energy projects

By Tichaona Kurewa

HARARE-THE International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) have availed US$50 million for scalable, replicable and transformative renewable energy projects in developing countries.

This tranche becomes the fifth round of funding for renewable energy projects in developing countries. The funding is part of ADFD’s US$350 million commitment offering concessional loans to renewable energy projects endorsed by IRENA.

“Many developing countries are blessed with abundant renewable energy resources, yet access to financing can still hinder development,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin.

“IRENA’s partnership with ADFD helps overcome this challenge by offering concessional loans to quality renewable energy projects in developing countries, which then leverage additional investment. Funding from the facility helps boost renewable energy deployment and trigger economic growth, offering sustainable and affordable energy to people with limited or no access to electricity.”

Since 2012, the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility has enabled US$333 million in loans to 15 renewable energy projects in 14 developing countries. Selected projects thus far have included off-grid, mini-grid and on-grid projects using wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass sources.

Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, the Director-General of ADFD added: “The IRENA/ADFD Project Facility is a pioneering partnership that supports the developing world’s energy needs by tapping into their abundant renewable energy sources. Selected projects have the potential to improve the livelihoods of millions of people by facilitating sustainable economic growth, bolstering energy security and expanding energy access.

“This collaboration with IRENA exemplifies our core business of partnerships and alliances to drive advancements in all key economy sectors, especially the renewable energy sector, which will guarantee a long-term, sustainable and environmentally conscious future.

“At ADFD, our aim is to provide governments with the financial resources and instruments to achieve their desired development goals and ensure a secure future for their citizens.”

Through the Facility, ADFD provides concessional loans ranging from US$5 million to US$15 million per project. Finance is offered at one to two percent lending rates with a 20-year loan period, including a five-year grace period. Only projects located in IRENA Member States, Signatories of the Statute, or States in Accession are eligible to apply.

In Southern Africa, some of IRENA’s members are Zimbabwe, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, South Africa, Botswana and Angola.

IRENA is mandated, as the global hub for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange, by 150 members (149 States and the European Union). Roughly, 26 additional countries are in the accession process and actively engaged. IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.

ADFD is a national organisation owned by the Abu Dhabi government. It was established in 1971 to help emerging countries achieve sustainable development by offering concessionary loans to finance development projects in these countries, adding to other long-term investments and direct contributions.

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