Climate Investment Funds expands to 63 countries

Fourteen developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean have been invited to participate in the Climate Investment Funds’ (CIF) Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries Programme (SREP), plus an additional country to the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), expanding the CIF’s reach to a total of 63 countries.

The decisions came during the June 25 to 29 meetings of the CIF Trust Fund committees and sub-committees, which followed the CIF 2014 Partnership Forum in Jamaica’s second city.

The 14 new SREP countries are Bangladesh, Benin, Cambodia, Ghana, Haiti, Kiribati, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Zambia, while Libya was invited to participate in the CTF’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regional programme.

The SREP countries join 13 pilot countries already working to expand energy access and demonstrate the economic, social, and environmental viability of renewable energy.

According to Zhihong Zhang, SREP programme coordinator, “The growth in the programme shows global recognition of renewable energy potential to provide solutions to energy access.”

Of the 55 countries eligible to participate in the SREP, 40 submitted proposals to elaborate on their interest to receive SREP financing. The SREP is proving valuable as a central platform upon which many pilot countries are consolidating discussions on national renewable energy policy, planning, and enabling environments.

Armenia and Solomon Islands also presented their SREP investment plans, which were endorsed for US$40 million and US$14 million respectively. Armenia considers the plan instrumental in helping to catalyse investments in geothermal and utility-scale solar and in supporting national efforts to reach 21 per cent renewable energy generation by 2020. Currently, 70 per cent of its electricity generation depends on imported fuels.

“The SREP support will help us to have a success story for scaling up identified renewable energy technologies and making Armenia more energy secure,” stated Areg Galstyan, deputy minister of energy and natural resources for Armenia.

According to Colin Beck, ambassador of the Solomon Islands to the US and UN, currently 90 per cent of energy access is in the capital, yet 80 per cent of the population lives in rural areas in hundreds of islands. SREP support will help Solomon Islands strengthen its renewable energy-enabling environment and stimulate investment in 60 renewable energy mini-grids in rural communities, as well as grid extensions and grid-connected and household solar power.

“We hope this [funding from SREP] will open more economic activities, especially in the rural areas, and shift productivity, especially of women, from subsistence agriculture to other economic activities if energy is provided for them,” Ambassador Beck said.

Under the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), Nigeria’s revised US$250- million investment plan was endorsed, ensuring better alignment with national priorities for energy efficiency and renewable energy, particularly solar photovoltaic (PV) power production. Endorsement was also given to revisions to the US$750- million investment plan of the MENA region, which brings in Libya to join Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia in developing close to 1,000 megawatts of installed concentrated solar power capacity.

Also under the CTF, the second phase of the Dedicated Private Sector Programmes was endorsed for US$330 million. The funding will support several innovative financing mechanisms to further engage the private sector on clean energy around the world through de-risking geothermal exploration, promoting mini-grids, and addressing investment barriers to developing solar PV, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

Two concept projects from Bolivia and two from Cambodia were endorsed for a total of US$24 million under the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) private sector set-asides. The projects aim to address climate resilience in agriculture, rainwater harvesting, drip irrigation, and micro financing for small farmers.