At the end of January, all eyes were on Ouarzazate, Morocco.
This desert city—home to the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant—played host to the Climate Investment Funds’ ten-year anniversary event.
From January 28-29, the “Power of 10: Shaping the Future of Climate Action” summit convened partners, changemakers, and leaders from across sectors and geographies to chart bold paths forward for climate action, explore new levels of opportunity, and leave “business as usual” at the door.
The Power of 10 not only honored CIF’s ten years of experience, it also drew on successes and lessons learned from those ten years to help shape climate action going forward. Successes that show a low-carbon world is not only possible, but already underway.
Morocco’s Noor Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Plant is the largest solar complex of its kind in the world—and a stunning symbol of what climate finance can achieve. Reducing costs by around 25 percent, CIF support helped clear a path for the World Bank, African Development Bank, and other partners to invest a combined $2.4 billion in a complex that today provides clean energy to 2 million Moroccans and accounts for one-fourth of Morocco’s solar energy target of 2 GW by 2020.
In Mexico, through approximately $100 million in concessional financing, CIF helped create a now-thriving wind power market. Starting virtually from scratch, this financing directly led to over 1,000 megawatts of new wind capacity and a self-sustaining national industry that today is worth $11.8 billion.
With support from CIF and the World Bank, Jamaica is working to improve capacity for weather and water monitoring and data collection so that decisionmakers can improve preparedness and obtain accurate information in times of crisis. The multimillion-dollar investment is supporting the installation of 35 weather stations across the country, comprising the Caribbean’s first real-time weather reporting system. This is a critical new development in the country and the region: knowing exactly when, where, and how weather patterns are changing helps protect lives, livelihoods, and infrastructure.
During Power of 10, Participants ranged from government ministers to corporate executives, leaders of international organizations to entrepreneurs. Over two days, they discussed hundreds of climate action-related topics across 30 individual sessions, comprising interactive workshops, high-level panel discussions, report launches, and virtual reality experiences.
For example, representatives from Bloomberg New Energy Finance shared findings from a CIF-commissioned report on the pivotal role of concessional finance in accelerating markets for clean energy in developing countries. The analysis unveiled new evidence that finance from institutions like CIF can shave years off the market maturation period for low-carbon technologies like solar, wind, and energy storage in developing countries, making them cost-competitive with fossil fuels faster.
In the case of India, the study showed, concessional finance can trim the market maturation period for wind power plants by as much as four years, lowering costs to the point where it is more economic to build a brand-new clean energy facility than maintain an existing fossil-fueled plant.
“Concessional finance has a proven ability to push the boundaries of clean innovation, “said Mafalda Duarte, head of CIF. “Over the next ten years and beyond, this capital will be essential to fighting climate change and building a more prosperous future for all.”
Here is a more in-depth look at what took place during the Power of 10 event:
Power of 10 kicked off with a high-level stocktaking of achievements in climate finance. The morning featured welcome remarks from Moroccan Energy Minister Aziz Rabbah, Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy President Mustapha Bakkoury, CIF head Mafalda Duarte, and a keynote address from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Secretary Abdalah Mokssit. Mr. Mokssit gave an overview of the expansive history and work of the IPCC, highlighting the scientific implications of a warming world.
Representatives from the World Bank, Germany, and Zambia then took to the stage, where they reflected on progress made over the years towards a low-carbon world. Zambian Environment Minister Al Moustapha Garba warned of the climate change impacts already visible in his country, stressing the importance of balancing mitigation and adaptation efforts in climate action. Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven, Director-General for Global Issues at Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, affirmed Germany’s commitment to accelerating the renewable transition by driving investments in clean innovations such as battery storage. Meanwhile, World Bank Senior Director for Climate Change John Roome concluded that to drive these innovations forward we need to create environments where the private sector can meaningfully participate.
Subsequently, the audience was treated to the world premiere of a documentary that narrated the lives and communities that CIF financing has transformed. Following this in-depth look at CIF investments worldwide, high-level panelists unveiled a number of highly anticipated reports, including an independent evaluation of how CIF’s unique approach to climate finance promotes transformational change and a learning review of the Dedicated Grant Mechanism (DGM) for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.
The day closed with a number of experts weighing in on the future of the climate finance architecture. The panelists included Ghanaian Deputy Minister of Land and Natural Resources Benito Owusu-Bio, UN Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, President and CEO of ACWA Power Paddy Padmanathan, Director for International Climate and Energy UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kate Hughes, Inter-American Development Bank Chief of Climate Change Amal-Lee Amin.
The second day of Power of 10 was no less eventful. All day, the proceedings focused squarely on the future of climate action, including a keynote address from UN Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba. Ambassador de Alba laid out the goals and priorities of the upcoming UN Climate Summit, which will work to spur action within countries, companies, cities, and civil society to make good on the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.
In the spirit of future climate action, one highlight was the surprise announcement of the new Technical Assistance Facility for Clean Energy Investment. Among other things, this Danish-supported facility will work to bolster investments in renewable energy systems integration and energy efficiency in buildings and industry.
At the end of the second day, World Bank Senior Director for Climate Change John Roome joined Fiu Mataese Elisara of the Ole Siosiomaga Society Incorporated and Nigerien Minister Al Moustapha Garba for a discussion on CIF’s unique business model and its role in future climate action.
The Power of 10 event closed on a celebratory note. CIF head Mafalda Duarte delivered closing remarks, and then invited guests to enjoy a special CIF birthday cake against the backdrop of a video compiling CIF birthday wishes from event participants.
This event was not just a milestone in CIF’s history. It was a milestone in climate finance. CIF’s ten years of climate action show that we have the experience to turn the tide against climate change. What we need now is greater ambition to get the job done.