Abu Dhabi – MENAHerald: Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) will unveil the results of its  third cycle of funding for renewable energy projects in developing countries as part of the  collaboration with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), that runs in the UAE capital from January 16 – 232016.

The third funding cycle is part of an initiative launched by ADFD in 2011 to allocate US$350 million towards the deployment of renewable energy solutions in developing countries across seven loan cycles. As part of the initiative, ADFD is provides concessionary loans worth US$50 million in each cycle to finance renewable energy projects including wind, solar, hybrid, organic materials, thermal and hydropower.

The projects completed to date as part of the initiative have realised significant social and economic benefits including a reliable supply of electricity to rural areas. The projects funded in the first two cycles generated more than 56-MW of renewable energy capacity benefiting 580,000 people. In addition to accelerating economic development, the projects have ensured improved livelihoods for local communities while preserving the environment and reducing carbon emissions.

As part of the first loan cycle, ADFD offered at the end of 2013 US$41 million in concessionary loans for six renewable energy projects in Ecuador, Maldives, Mali, Samoa Islands, Mauritania and Sierra Leone.

In the second loan cycle, five projects valued at US$57 million were selected from Argentina, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba, Mauritania and Iran.

His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), said: “At ADFD, we appreciate the fundamental role that the energy sector plays in driving economic and social development which is why we place such a strong emphasis on this area. By ensuring the provision of necessary funding for these renewable energy development projects we can continue to have a positive impact on our beneficiary countries and I am proud that we are today releasing another tranche of funding which will make such a difference on the ground.”

Over the past three years, ADFD and IRENA have closely collaborated in the selection of projects approved for funding as part of the second and third cycles of the project. The selection followed a thorough assessment against a set of stringent criteria, including technological innovations and variety of technologies deployed in the project, the possibility of replicating the proposed project in several different locations, the provision of sustainable energy, and the anticipated social, economic, technical and commercial benefits of the funded projects.

Funding from the ADFD/IRENA Project Facility boosts renewable energy growth in developing countries and offers sustainable and affordable energy to millions of people with limited or no access to electricity. Renewable energy now outcompetes imported diesel on costs across the Pacific region.

Renewable energy projects are implemented at reasonable costs given their positive impact on the environment. They also help cut costs of importing diesel needed for electricity generation, allowing the beneficiary countries to allocate bigger budgets towards projects that contribute to accelerating economic development and fulfilling economic and social development goals.

First Loan Cycle

As part of the first loan cycle, Ecuador received a US$5 million loan for a 3-MW hydropower station delivering reliable electricity to 7,000 people. Another US$6 million was allocated to the Maldives to back a 2-MW waste-to-energy facility that benefits 120,000 people. In Mali, a US$9 million project for generating 4-MW of hybrid solar-plus-diesel mini-grids project will bring power to 30 villages. Loans were also extended to Mauritania for a 1-MW wind farm that will improve electricity access to remote regions.

Additionally, US$7 million was offered to Samoa for the construction of a 3-MW biomass gasification plant that once implemented will provide the archipelago with reliable energy. In Sierra Leone, the project facility will fund a US$9 million solar park to generate 6-MW electricity to support the national grid in the country’s capital.   

Second Loan Cycle

As part of the second loan cycle, ADFD offered US$57 million in concessional loans for five renewable energy projects in developing countries. The selected renewable energy projects included a US$15 million mini-hydro station in Argentina that can generate 4-MW and supply electricity and drinking and irrigation water for 22,500 inhabitants. It also offered US$15 million for a 10-MW solar energy plant in Cuba that will benefit more than 5,000 people, US$6 million for a 5-MW geothermal facility producing electricity and heat for 150,000 people in Iran and US$6 million for a 1-MW hybrid solar and hydropower project in Mauritania that will serve the needs of thousands living in rural areas. US$15 million was also allocated to a 10-15 MW geothermal project in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to meet the demand of 22,000 people.