Press Release | Apr 21 2017

"International commitment is essential to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, including by ensuring the availability of the necessary concessional financing." (para 12, pg 3)
 

Power Grid will make an equity contribution of $135 million for the transmission project that entails evacuation of power from the solar power plants to the grid. Photo: AP
In the News | Apr 07 2017

The Asian Development Bank has agreed to give a 20-year loan of $175 million to Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd to finance a proposed $450 million transmission project for transferring power from new solar power parks to the grid.

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Blogs | Mar 15 2017

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When it comes to solar energy, the market looks up to China.  Last year China added 34,000 megawatts (MW) of solar electricity capacity, more than that of the United States, Japan, and Europe combined.  Why then did China send a 30-member delegation last week on a study tour to Morocco to learn about solar energy?

What China is good at is solar photovoltaics (PV) – both at manufacturing PV panels and at building PV power plants.  Morocco has something that China does not have but is eager to learn: a technology called concentrated solar power (CSP).  CSP power plants use mirrors to concentrate sunlight and convert it into heat to drive steam turbines to generate electricity.  One of the advantages of the CSP technology is that the thermal energy concentrated in a CSP plant can be stored and used to produce electricity when the sun does not shine.

Last week Morocco’s Noor Solar Complex near the southern desert town of Ouarzazate hosted more than 100 government officials and utility managers from seven countries from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), industry experts, project developers, multilateral and bilateral development banks, as well as representatives from China, for the inaugural workshop of the MENA CSP Knowledge & Innovation Program (KIP).  Funded by the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) as part of the MENA CSP Investment Pan and implemented by the World Bank, the MENA CSP KIP is designed to support policy makers and practitioners across the region to better understand CSP technologies, markets, and financing and to build national capacities through targeted technical training, knowledge exchange and learning. 

In February 2016, Morocco launched the 160 MW first phase of its 580 MW Noor Solar Complex.  The Noor I plant covers 480 hectares of land with 500,000 cylindrical mirrors called parabolic troughs.  These solar mirrors are 12 meters high, produces 500,000 MWh of solar power a year, and are coupled with three hours of energy storage capacity.  The plant is operating at full capacity and provides electricity at USD 0.18 per kWh.  

As the host of last year’s UN Climate Change Conference (i.e., COP22), the Kingdom of Morocco has been providing the much needed leadership to fight against climate change.  The Royal Government has set ambitious targets of increasing its share of renewable energy to 42 percent by 2020 and to 52 percent by 2030.  To reduce fossil fuel dependence, Morocco launched the Moroccan Solar Plan in 2009, aiming to build 2,000 MW of solar capacity by 2020.  And they have put their plan into action, with remarkable results on the ground.

Noor II and Noor III are currently under construction.  The Noor II plant will use the same technology as Noor I, with an installed capacity of 200 MW and with seven hours of energy storage capability. 

Noor III will have an installed capacity of 150 MW, but it will employ a different CSP technology – a central tower with salt receivers – plus seven to eight hours of energy storage capability. Both Noor II and Noor III are expected to start producing electricity in 2018 and will provide electricity at less than USD 0.16 per kWh.

The Noor Solar Complex does not stop here.  A fourth phase is also under way for a 70 MW PV installation.  When fully completed, the Noor Solar Complex at Ouarzazate will be the world's largest multi-technology solar power plant with 580 MW of installed capacity and an overall investment of more than USD 2 billion.  In addition to providing clean, renewable electricity to more than one million homes, job creation has been valued highly by the Moroccan government and the Moroccan people.  The ongoing construction of Noor II and Noor III, I was told during the site visit, is providing employment opportunities to 4,000 Moroccans.  Aside from Noor Ouarzazate, other solar projects in Morocco are under planning and development, turning the kingdom into a true solar power.

The Clean Technology Fund CTF) has been instrumental in financing the three phases of the Noor CSP plants.  In total, the CTF has provided USD 435 million of highly concessional finance for the three CSP plants, with additional financing provided by the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and other international financial institutions (IFIs).  Due to the involvement of the CTF and IFIs, the cost of capital for developers was significantly reduced, thereby lowering the overall cost of electricity generated.  The economic as well as environmental and social benefits from solar electricity are already benefiting Moroccan residents, businesses, and communities and will continue to do so in many years and decades to come.

 The Noor site visit on March 8 was made all the more meaningful as we paid tribute to women working in the field of sustainable energy on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2017. 

The power of solar is endless, as is our ability to about solar power.  Participants at the MENA CSP KIP workshop may soon forget what the presenters said, but they will always remember what they witnessed at the Noor Solar Complex. 

Press Release | Mar 14 2017

On March 13, the British newspaper ‘The Telegraph’ published an article about the Climate Investment Funds that contained a number of claims with which we strongly disagree:

The CIF Secretariat would like to provide some clarifications in the following areas:

The Purpose of the CIF

The CIF has been a crucial part of the international response to climate change as the largest source of multilateral concessional climate finance available to date.  They have played a pivotal role in helping to increase the volume of climate investment going to developing and emerging economies and have been instrumental in financing projects that would not have happened because of high costs and perceived risks.

The CIF has been addressing the main gaps and barriers to climate investments for many developing countries. These include the lack of access to affordable long-term capital, high commercial risks, and non-financial risks such as capacity gaps.  

The CIFs are a tried, tested, and trusted financing mechanism. Countries are now reaping the benefits from CIF investments in the form of cleaner and more reliable energy, new industries and markets, climate resilience and sustainable forestry. None of this would have happened without CIF involvement.

Results

The CIF is delivering – supporting over 300 projects in 72 developing countries, and mobilizing billions of dollars from development banks and the private sector that have scaled up new renewable technologies at an unprecedented rate.

The CIF’s Clean Technology Fund is reporting greenhouse gas emission reductions equivalent to taking 1.4 million cars off the road and it has supported installed power capacity of 3.3 Gigawatts.

In Morocco, the CTF supported the phased construction of the Noor Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant – the largest of its kind in the world. The first facility of the 3-phase Noor plant became operational in December 2015 and, by 2018, will be on track to generate over 500 megawatts of installed capacity, reduce carbon emissions by 760,000 tons per year, and supply power to 1.1 million Moroccan households. Low-cost debt provided by the CTF helped cut the cost of power production and slashed the Moroccan government’s power subsidy from $60 million to $20 million per year.

In South Africa, in 2014, KaXu Solar One Concentrated Solar Power project, financed by IFC and CTF, became the first private sector utility-scale CSP plant in the developing world. This 100 MW plant supplies enough base-load energy for 80,000 households. And the 100 MW Sere Wind Farm - one of the largest in Africa – is the first commercial utility-scale renewable energy project of the national energy utility Eskom.  It will save nearly 6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions over its 20-year expected operating life.  Average annual energy production is estimated at about 298,000 megawatt hours (MWh), enough to supply about 68,000 standard homes. A total of $100 million in concessional funds from CTF were essential to bridge the cost gap relative to coal power generation and in providing the positive incentives required for Eskom and its lenders to proceed with the investment.

And in Thailand, the CIF’s Clean Technology Fund provided $4 million in debt, blended with $8 million of debt from IFC, to support a dynamic entrepreneur as she attempted to develop some of the country’s first utility-scale solar plants and move this high-potential market off the ground. CTF funds helped reduce long-term project finance risks for lenders and sent positive signals to the local financial markets for utility-scale solar. By late 2011, new solar farms began supplying clean and renewable power to Thailand, and the entrepreneur and her company have attracted over $800 million for their clean energy investments in the country. 

Every Clean Technology Fund dollar leverages a further nine dollars from other sources. As of December 31, 2016 the CTF has approved $4.1bn in projects, which in turn have crowded a total of $46.9 billion in in co-financing, including $12.9 billion in MDB funding and $19.2 billion in commercial finance.

Established in 2010, the Program for Scaling up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP) aims to demonstrate the economic, social and environmental viability of low-carbon development pathways in the energy sector by creating new economic opportunities and increasing energy access through the use of renewable energy.  By design, it aims to tackle a challenging development issue (energy access) in the most challenging countries.

The 18 projects that have been approved to date by SREP and reporting results are at various stages of implementation but even in these challenging markets and for these first-of-its kind investments in low income countries SREP is delivering. In Nepal, for example, the SREP supported project is providing access to electricity and facilitating productive end uses of energy at the “bottom of the pyramid” in rural locations, which are beyond the “last mile” of the grid. About 1,500 households, or 6,600 people are already benefiting from installation of lighting and mobile radio charging systems, displacing expensive diesel and gasoline use in generator sets and kerosene for lighting.

The Pilot Program for Climate Resilience has already supported 2.8 million people – half of them women - to cope with the adverse impacts of climate change, and is on course to support 40 million people through the implementation of 44 of its current 58 projects.

While most Forest Investment Program projects only started implementing in the field in 2015 they have already supported 65,000 people in Lao PDR, Mexico and Ghana through livelihood co-benefits. Good progress has also been observed on forest law enforcement, ensuring participation of all key stakeholders in decision making processes and tenure access and rights.  

Value for Money

The article also implicitly argues that helping developing countries tackle climate change is a bad deal for UK taxpayers.  We disagree.  Helping people prepare for the impacts of climate change – including floods, droughts, and natural disasters – and reducing the emissions that cause them, is an investment that will pay back many times over.

Blogs | Mar 08 2017

Thailand is located near to the equator and we have three seasons – hot, hotter and hottest!

Climate change action is the duty of all people living on earth. We can all help deliver a climate-smart future in a number of ways including using less energy, walking or biking instead of driving, growing more trees and saving water

I want to make a better green world for our next generation and I want to bring solar energy to Thailand.  Solar is clean, endless and sustainable. I think in the near future, solar – instead of fossil fuel - will be the main energy for mankind.  This will be the game changer for the world.

Khun Wandee went from retirement to activating Thailand's solar industry 

I think women make effective and special innovators.  We are mothers, we help lead our children, we cook, we clean and we work both in the house and outside to help improve the quality of life in the family.  Women tend to have high patience and work well in high-pressured environments. 

I help and mentor other women and my advice to all women is to believe in themselves.  Know that we can make things better, never stop hoping and keep working until you succeed!

Read Wandee's story here

Blogs | Mar 08 2017

My background in mechanical engineering and product design, along with my family's roots in rural India, led me to spend a year volunteering in rural corners of India prior to graduate school. There I fell in love with micro hydro technology while taking part in an installation in a remote village in the Himalayas.  I witnessed the connection between vibrant watersheds, local ingenuity, and access to clean, sustainable electricity. Since then, my focus has been to promote renewable energy solutions.

I'm inspired by women leaders in my family who have embraced traditional culture but also transcended it, including my great grandmothers and great aunts.  At the start of graduate school, two women environmentalists provided nurturing space to develop my own approach to engaging in my work, namely Dr. Karina Garbesi and Dr. Kamal Kapadia.  In recent years, women leaders of indigenous communities, such as Patta Dei in Kalahandi, and women who courageously offer support, such as Amy Goodman, give me much inspiration.

In the world of micro hydropower, Dr. Hedi Feibel is a beacon of light for me and many others. I've come across so many amazing women in my field, which tends to be male-dominated.  Any woman who works in the rural electrification sector has been a gem, at different levels -- technical, policy, community organizing, and caretaker of local natural environments.

Beyond climate, I try to find ways to reach out to and involve women who do not work in the climate sector.  Women in mainstream culture, who are intensely focused on their career and family-raising, are adept at understanding sustainability.  Yet, they have not yet connected how the well-being of our planet and the most marginalized of our societies impact their families.  But I am convinced that with appropriate exposure, these women can easily see how our lifestyles and consumption patterns impact our one and only planet.  And they have the power to organize, connect, and bring change.

Blogs | Dec 13 2016

I am a Senior Climate Finance Officer at the African Development Bank. We work to contribute to the economic growth and social progress of our African member states. Right now, I want to talk a little about the importance of energy to Africa and how Concentrated Solar Power – or CSP - can help.

Talking about the power of solar at the Connect4Climate Media Zone, #C4CZone

As you may know, Africa’s power sector is significantly underdeveloped.  This is true whether we look at energy access, installed capacity, or overall consumption.

For example, we estimate that around 645 million Africans have no access to electricity: this is more than 50% of the entire African population. And represents nearly half of those living without electricity in the entire world.

Imagine half of you reading this post, living without electricity?

It’s a scary thought isn’t it?

African countries must significantly expand power generation if we are to achieve universal access. And we must do it at a time where the need to respond to climate change offers an immense opportunity to drive the economic transformation that Africa needs.

A transformation that creates jobs, empowers women and above all is climate-resilient and low-carbon.

Africa has enormous renewable energy potential. This potential, if we include solar, is a staggering 10 terawatts. This is ten times more than the actual installed capacity of the US.

Africa must unlock this potential and realize its aspirations, which would represent a win-win situation for developed countries, investors and, above all, the African people.

Recently, one of the finest actors and climate activists of our time – his name Leonardo Di Caprio - posted a picture on Instagram of the biggest CSP plant in the world. A project so big it can be seen from space!

Can you believe that? The project in question is Noor CSP in Morocco. Once all phases of the project are completed it will have a total installed capacity of 2000 MW. This is more than the installed capacity of many African countries. 

As a technology, CSP’s main strength is its capacity to store energy without needing inefficient and expensive batteries. Essentially, that means it can be used during periods when there is no sun, which allows the power plant to provide reliable and flexible electricity to the grid during periods of peak demand. That might be during the night or during times of the day when there is no sufficient sunlight.

And CSP is such a promising technology that the International Energy Agency estimates that it could generate up to 11 percent of the world’s electricity generation by 2050.

Unfortunately, high technology costs and a lack of utility-scale demonstration projects are deterring investors.  This is especially the case in emerging markets where perception of risk is still a significant barrier. In order to prove the economic and technological viability of concentrated solar, many more projects are needed across the globe to ensure technology maturity and to drive true competition in an effort to bring down its costs.

Enter the Noor complex, one of the strongest examples of this, which by 2018 will be supplying electricity to 1.1 million Moroccans.   

The project also provides one of the best examples of what risk-taking, long-term concessional financing, paired with other public and private investment can accomplish. About $400 million from the Climate Investment Funds were invested in the project. There is also 200 million euros from the African Development Bank and $3 billion from other private and public sources.

In addition to the flourishing of a local solar industry in Morocco, many lessons are already being drawn from this success story.

For example, the project will help demonstrate the viability of this technology by establishing a track record and help build economies of scale. In the long-run, it will also draw public and private actors to work together on similar projects across the world.

Finding ways to sustainably meet Africa’s and the world’s energy demands is a global imperative.  And Morocco is showing how renewable energy can play a key role in helping emerging economies produce clean power and reduce emissions. 

It is an honor for us at the AfDB, and I am sure for the Climate Investment Funds as well, to be part of this success story. My hope is that this is the first of many more ambitious solar projects to come.

Press Release | Nov 18 2016

At the UN’s global climate conference this week, governments and development partners came together to examine the role of financing in shaping some of Africa’s groundbreaking renewables successes such as Morocco’s Noor Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant. 

Feature Story | Oct 05 2016

When India’s ambassador to the United Nations, Syed Akbaruddin, delivered his country’s signed agreement to the Paris climate change plan last Sunday, the world moved one big step closer to a monumental deal on climate.

That India chose to hold the ceremony on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, Oct. 2, made the occasion all the more poignant, with its nod to the importance of action on climate change in the context of the human impacts caused by a changing climate —from food security to how people earn a living.

India ratified the Paris Agreement on October 2, bringing the number of countries that have signed to 62. (PHOTO: Indian Express)

The journey to this point started in Paris last year, when 188 countries committed to being part of the solution in the urgent effort to mitigate against climate change.

Nine months after Paris and with COP22 in Morocco fast approaching, India’s signature helped to put the Paris agreement on the cusp of being a global and legally binding agreement on climate action.

So why did it matter so much that India signed on the dotted line?

Along with China and the United States – who ratified the treaty last month - India is among the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions levels. The country’s growing energy demand and emissions levels therefore have important consequences for international efforts to combat climate change.

After Paris the race to secure the signatures of the 55 countries that account for 55 percent of global greenhouse emissions was on. Every single country that signed the agreement in Paris matters, but for the agreement to be meaningful and effective, its ratification by countries like India, on a fast development trajectory and big contributors to emissions levels, was critical.

“India is committed to the shared global vision for combating climate change and protecting the most vulnerable citizens from its adverse impacts.

“India is committed to the shared global vision for combating climate change and protecting the most vulnerable citizens from its adverse impacts. Our commitment to a low-carbon path assumes the unhindered availability of cleaner sources of energy and technologies and financial resources from around the world,” said Saurabh Vijay, and Adviser to India’s Executive Director at the World Bank and chair of the Climate Investment Fund's Clean Technology Fund committee.

India has the world’s second largest population and fourth largest economy. To meet the growing energy needs of its commercial and industrial activity, urbanization and rising standards of living, the south Asian nation needs to increase primary energy supply by 300–400% increase its electricity generation capacity by 500–600% over the next two decades.

Coal-based power plants supply over 50% of India’s electricity, but with domestic supply constrained and imports likely to increase, diversifying its energy supply is critical.

As part of the effort to diversify energy sources and address the unmet energy needs of over 200 million people that are unconnected to the electricity grid, India secured a $625 million loan to support the widespread installation of rooftop solar photo-voltaic (PV), in May this year. The loan is complemented by a co-financing loan of $120 million on concessional terms and a $5 million grant from the CIF’s Clean Technology Fund.

In India, nearly 1 in 4 people still don’t have access to electricity. To increase energy access for the poor, India has set unprecedented, ambitious plans to boost solar energy nationwide.

The loan was made possible by the alignment of government policy and declining costs that make rooftop solar an opportunity to transform India’s energy sector and make access to sustainable, affordable and reliable energy a reality for more people. The overall potential demand for rooftop solar in India is estimated at about 124,000 MW.

To date, 72 countries representing about 56.75 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions have ratified the Paris Agreement.

Once in effect, the Agreement will enable concrete global action on climate change, including:

  • The reduction of emission levels and ensuring that the global average temperature stays below 2°C above pre-industrial levels;
  • Countries holding each other accountable through a meeting every five years to set progressively more ambitious targets that are informed by the best science; and
  • The strengthening of the world’s capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change, including through support to developing countries with their national adaptation efforts.

Over the past year, the momentum for ratifying the Agreement grew as the promise of Paris became the new normal in terms of building low-carbon economies. After India, all eyes were on the European Union, which, with its 28-country bloc, grabbed the baton to seal the deal that moved the world over the line by getting the highest greenhouse gas emissions contributors to ratify. 

The deal will officially go into effect on Nov. 4, 2016.

Press Release | Jun 21 2016

Washington, D.C. (June 21, 2016) – The governing body of the $8.3 billion Climate Investment Funds (CIF) last week gave an important signal by asking the CIF to develop options for a financing vehicle to attract private capital investors for renewable energy and clean technology projects in developing economies.
 
The steering committee of the CIF's $5.6 billion Clean Technology Fund (CTF), consisting of donor and recipient countries, gathered in Mexico to discuss new financing modalities which could make CTF's assets attractive for institutional investors.  
 
The CIF's Manager Mafalda Duarte welcomed the decision, which comes at a time when research from Brookings shows investments in sustainable infrastructure of $90 trillion USD are required over the next 15 years: 
 
"This work breaks new ground for climate finance and such innovation is needed if we are to move from billions to trillions and deliver on the ambitious agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Scaling-up investments can be particularly transformational in areas that have lacked funding or for technologies on the threshold of becoming economically viable.  These will be crucial to delivering a low-carbon future."
 
This potential avenue to tap into new and much needed private sector financing would support climate-smart investments in areas such as energy storage, distributed generation, sustainable transport and industrial and residential efficiency.
 
"We have seen time and time again that concessional or de-risking financing is essential to ramp up low carbon investments in emerging markets", Duarte added.  "Institutional investors can be risk averse but they do want to build up a greener portfolio.  The CTF offers a unique opportunity for them and will allow us to provide developing countries the financial support they need to pursue their low-carbon development plans."
 
The green-light came as recipient countries unanimously endorsed the CIF as a key vehicle to deliver on the ambition outlined in the Paris climate agreement.  Members emphasized the importance of tested and proven financing options to support climate actions in developing countries and that those lessons should be shared with all main players in the climate finance architecture. “The appreciation and wide-spread support for the CIF by developing country members need to be acknowledged”, said Zaheer Fakir, Committee member for the South African Department of Environmental Affairs. “Developing countries within the CIF value it as an important instrument for financing, innovating and coordinating with all important actors around national climate investment plans.” 

In this context, trust fund sub-committees decided to support the forest investment plans of Mozambique and Côte D’Ivoire with US$ 48 million in total which will allow the countries to address major drivers of deforestation as well as promoting rural development. Another decision supported the renewable energy investment plan of Cambodia with US$ 30 million enabling the country to develop a solar energy program, including rooftop solar systems and minigrids, as well as a biomass power project.
 


About the Climate Investment Funds: The US$ 8.3 billion Climate Investment Funds provides 72 emerging and developing economies with urgently needed resources to manage the challenges of climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. For more information: http://www.climateinvestmentfunds.org/

Media contact: In Washington D.C – Angela Bekkers, Climate Investment Funds | Tel: +1 202 458 8831; mobile: +1 202 361 3459, Email: abekkers@worldbank.org

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