With African Development Bank (AfDB) support, Kenya has received approval from the Climate Investment Funds’ Clean Technology Fund (CIF-CTF) for a US $29.65-million concessional loan to co-finance up to two geothermal projects to increase the country’s power capacity, particularly drawing on untapped geothermal resources in the Rift Valley.
Readers of this blog site will know that open data is data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed – it’s legally open and technically open. Readers of this blog may not know that the $8.3 billion Climate Investment Funds (CIF), are providing scaled-up financing through the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to initiate transformational change toward climate-resilient, low-carbon development in 72 countries worldwide. And this month, for the first time, the CIF is publishing open data on the results of our Clean Technology Fund (CTF) and our Scaling up Renewable Energy Program (SREP).
Data on financing and results
At the CIF, we aim to be open about what we know and open about what we do. In 2013, we were the first climate fund to publish our data with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). So this is the second time we’ve been first – as far as we know, no other climate fund has made their financing and results data available in this manner.
As we see it, international development is dynamic, so the data its programs generate should be too.
So what can you do with our data? Anybody can slice and dice our results in a variety of ways – and then share this via social media, track it on their smartphone via a mobile app or print off hard copies. This means all stakeholders – from donor countries to recipient countries to development practitioners to civil society to journalists – will have a ‘one-stop shop’ for data on our Clean Technology Fund and Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program.
Demonstrating the viability of renewables and large-scale projects
The CTF is financing large-scale country-led projects and programs in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable transport. Just last month, in a program partly funded by the CTF, the world’s largest Concentrated Solar Plant (CSP) plant – so big it can be seen from space – was inaugurated. The open data platform will help us keep track of the specific technologies we fund such as wind, solar, and others.
The SREP demonstrates the economic, social, and environmental viability of renewable energy in low-income countries. CIF funding – much of it from SREP – is expected to lead to more than one-quarter of the global installed capacity of geothermal energy, a low-carbon, reliable, renewable energy does not depend on the sun shining, the wind blowing or the capacity of batteries. Our open data will let users see the share among our on-grid, off-grid, mini-grid, and capacity building work.
Open, accessible, and easy to use data
Overall, this new open data resource provides insight into how much co-financing CIF dollars are expected to leverage. And using a variety of visualizations, users can see to what proportion of CIF funds go to which countries, which regions, and through which MDBs.
The tools are simple and user-friendly – there’s no need for any special software to view and filter data, and data can be downloaded in standard formats such as Excel, CSV and PDF for further analysis and use. You can even embed datasets and charts into blogs and web pages.
The phrase “Data Revolution” is much-used in development circles. For the CIF, this particular innovation is at the core of our objectives to be results-driven, open, and accountable.
Morocco has switched on what will be the world's largest concentrated solar power plant.
The new site near the city of Ouarzazate -- famous as a filming location for Hollywood blockbusters like "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Gladiator" -- could produce enough energy to power over one million homes by 2018 and reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 760,000 tons per year, according to the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) finance group.
Concentrated Solar Power, or CSP, holds vast potential due to its ability to provide reliable, large-scale power even when the sun is not shining. Morocco has just launched the first phase of the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in the world, which includes funding from the Climate Investment Funds and the World Bank. When fully operational, the plant will produce enough energy for more than one million Moroccans.
Concentrated Solar Power is the greatest energy technology you have probably never heard of. While it may not be as widely known as other renewable energy sources, there’s no doubting its potential - the International Energy Agency estimates that up to 11 percent of the world’s electricity generation in 2050 could come from CSP.
And this week in Morocco, the King, His Majesty Mohammed VI, is officially opening the first phase of what will eventually be the largest CSP plant in the world – the same size as Morocco’s capital city Rabat. I congratulate Morocco for taking a leadership role that has placed it on the frontlines of a revolution that is bringing low-carbon development to emerging and developing economies worldwide
In collaboration with the World Bank and the African Development Bank, the CIF has already provided US$435 million into this three-phase Noor CSP complex in Morocco.
Once Noor I, Noor II and Noor III are up and running, the facility is projected to supply 1.1 million Moroccans with more than 500 megawatts of power by 2018, while reducing carbon emissions by 760,000 tons per year. The plant could eventually start exporting energy to the European market.
It will increase Morocco’s energy independence, create 200 jobs during the power plan operation and 1,600 jobs during power plant construction, and increase the installed capacity of solar power stations from 22 MW in 2013 to 372 MW in 2018.
And those who’ll gain the most will be the Moroccan population, Moroccan businesses and industries such as transport, agriculture and many others. Not only will they benefit from a better electricity supply, they’ll also benefit from cleaner electricity.
So what makes CSP different from regular solar power? Well, CSP uses mirrors 12-meters high to drive steam turbines or engines with energy from the sun to create electricity. So it can provide reliable, large-scale power even when the sun is not shining.
However, despite its promise CSP’s current global capacity falls well short of its potential. High technology costs and a limited number of CSP demonstration projects deter investors, especially in higher-risk emerging markets. So more successful projects like in Morocco, can show CSP is a viable investment.
In South Africa, in collaboration with IFC, CIF is providing about US$330 million to the country’s first public and private CSP plants, including the KaXu project, the first utility-scale CSP plant to operate in Sub-Saharan Africa. The construction phase has brought over 1,000 jobs to the Northern Cape, an impoverished province in South Africa with a high rate of youth unemployment. The plant is slated to power 80,000 South African households while mitigating around a quarter of a million tons of CO2 emissions per year, which is equivalent to the emissions of close to 53,000 cars a year.
These are just two examples of how concessional funding from the CIF can leverage other sources including from other multilateral development banks such as the World Bank and the IFC and bring down costs of investments in CSP.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), CSP is among the technologies with greatest potential for cost reductions. The costs of solar tower CSP plants could come down significantly as early as 2020 if deployment accelerates, given the current low level of deployment but high potential of the technology.
Finding ways to sustainably meet 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 electricity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and spur local private investments. And for CSP, the future may be as bright as the gleaming mirrors in the Moroccan desert.
Ouarzazate, February 4, 2016 - Today, Morocco launches the first phase of the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in the world. When fully operational, the plant will produce enough energy for more than one million Moroccan households.
Inaugurated officially today by His Majesty Mohammed VI of Morocco, the solar plant underlines the country’s determination to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, use more renewable energy, and move towards low carbon development.
The three-plant Noor-Ouarzazate CSP complex called NOORo expects to achieve over 500 megawatts (MW) installed capacity, ultimately supplying power to 1.1 million Moroccans by 2018. It is estimated that the plant will reduce the country’s energy dependence by about 2 and half million tons of oil, while also lowering carbon emissions by 760,000 tons per year.
Concentrated solar power is such a promising technology that the International Energy Agency estimates that up to 11 percent of the world’s electricity generation in 2050 could come from CSP. This is especially true in the Middle East and North Africa, a region with abundant solar resources and high hopes of eventually helping to meet the E.U.’s demand for energy.
“With this bold step toward a clean energy future, Morocco is pioneering a greener development and developing a cutting edge solar technology,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for the Maghreb, “the returns on this investment will be significant for the country and its people, by enhancing energy security, creating a cleaner environment, and encouraging new industries and job creation.”
Despite the potential of CSP, relatively high technology costs, when compared to fossil fuel alternatives, deter utilities from investing. Concessional and public financing were key to lift this project off the ground. The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy, the government agency focused on the country’s solar ambitions, secured over $3 billion needed for the Noor-Ouarzazate complex from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), European financing institutions and the World Bank.
“This launch shows that the low-cost, long-term financing provided by the CIF can serve as the spark that attracts the public and private investments needed to build massive CSP production facilities at an attractive cost for countries interested in developing solar energy,” said Mafalda Duarte, Head of the Climate Investment Funds.
Trailblazing projects on the African continent, like the Noor solar plant, are proving the performance of CSP. As well as the environmental benefits, the plant results in new, local jobs, and can lead to a high-performing sustainable energy economic sector for Morocco.
Yacine Fal, AfDB resident representative in Morocco, said: “Noor solar complex is part of the innovative operations of AfDB in the energy sector in terms of financing and technology. It stands to serve as an example for Africa and the world about how to create effective pathways to greener and more inclusive economies through renewable energy”.
The Noor Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) complex is Morocco’s first utility-scale solar energy complex and serves as a critical step of the Moroccan Solar Energy Program. It will be operated as a public-private partnership (PPP.) The private partner is the International Company for Water and Power Projects.
The project seeks to contribute to the commercial viability of CSP and its potential throughout MENA (Middle East and North Africa). Operating with an installed capacity of 160 megawatts (MW), the first phase expects 240,000 tons of CO₂ emissions to be avoided per annum. By 2018, the three-phase project will be the largest of its kind in the world with over 500 MW of installed capacity, and will produce enough clean power to meet the needs of 1.1 million Moroccans.
The plant will reduce carbon emissions by 760,000 tons per year, which could result in an estimated reduction of over 17.5 million tons of carbon emissions over 25 years.
The share of renewable energy in total electricity generation is expected to increase from 4,345 GWh (13%) in 2013 to a target of 5,501 GWh (42%) by 2020.
Energy dependency should be reduced through additional electricity production from the 160 MW Noor I and the 350 MW Noor II and III in 2018.
Reaching Morocco’s true energy efficiency potential will prospectively pave the way for economic growth and ultimately generate employment.
The project site is situated 10 km from Ouarzazate town along National Highway No. 10. The surrounding rural area accommodates a population of approximately 583,000 inhabitants and has a poverty rate of almost 23%. The project beneficiaries will be the Moroccan population, Moroccan businesses, and all productive sectors (industries, transport, agriculture, etc.), which benefit not only from better electricity supply but also from cleaner electricity.
THE CLIMATE INVESTMENT FUNDS’ CONTRIBUTION
The CIF, AfDB and World Bank have jointly supported the 500+MW Noor solar complex, which has been championed by Morocco’s Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN). The CIF channeled $435 million towards the CSP plant, alongside the investment of about $700 million by the AfDB and World Bank, contributing to the $3+ billion total from foreign and multilateral investors. Given the scale of public finance required to subsidize this multi-billion-dollar, three-phase complex, the support of both MDBs and the CIF was critical. Independent analysis concludes that the low-cost debt is already driving down the cost of CSP in Morocco by 25% for Noor I and an additional 10% for Noor II and III (achieved in 2015), thus reducing the government subsidy required to bridge the affordability gap for CSP.
MOROCCO IN ENERGY CONTEXT
Morocco is extremely dependent on energy imports and fossil fuels, which currently provide over 97% of its energy. The country has prioritized the development of renewable energy to achieve its economic and environmental objectives of energy security and environmental sustainability.
Morocco will host the next COP (COP22) in November 2016. The country's ambitious low carbon growth objectives (42% of installed capacity will be covered by renewables by 2020) and progress in adaptation actions to manage its vulnerability (especially in agriculture) contributed to the Parties’ decision to allow Morocco to host the COP.
ABOUT THE CLIMATE INVESTMENT FUNDS (CIF)
The $8.1 billion Climate Investment Funds (CIF) is providing 72 developing countries with urgently needed resources to mitigate and manage the challenges of climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2008, CIF has been leading efforts to empower transformations in energy, transport, and forestry sectors and CIF’s funding has leveraged more than $55 billion from other sources.