The UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund is already engaged in project evaluations with six Caribbean countries and expects several more applications before June, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) announced at the annual meeting of Caribbean utility CEOs under the CARILEC industry association.
This US$50m grant fund, one of the largest and most pioneering initiatives for the region’s renewable energy sector, was launched in January 2017 in a partnership between MOFAIC, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), and Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company. The UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund operates under the management of MOFAIC, whereas ADFD provides the grant funding, and Masdar leads in implementation.
“The response to the fund has been tremendous, in terms of both the volume and quality of project proposals,” said His Excellency Ali Al Shafar, the UAE’s Permanent Representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). “With Masdar and ADFD’s technical expertise, we are now working with the countries in the Fund to identify critical interventions which, with an extra push, can move to implementation and help to increase commercial viability for future renewable energy projects.”
At the CARILEC CEOs’ meeting, MOFAIC met with utility executives and financiers from across the region to identify promising projects, as well as to present the initial results of the recently concluded first round of site inspections in six countries.
“We aim for the Fund to be a bridge-builder between the UAE and Caribbean countries,” said Adel Al Hosani, Director of Operations at ADFD. “The UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund, is expected to sign about four to six project agreements in its first cycle, and the second cycle talks with additional countries are anticipated by the fall of this year.”
Khaled Ballaith, Director of Special Projects at Masdar, said: “The business case for renewable energy in the countries we have visited is among the strongest in the world. The due diligence process we are following in coordination with government bodies and other local stakeholders is focused on analysing the renewable resources available, in order to recommend the type, structure, and timing of external support.”
UAE development assistance for renewable energy globally is now approaching US$1 billion. ADFD, through its seven-funding cycle – US$350 million ADFD-IRENA Project Facility, successfully approved US$189 million across 19 renewable energy developments. January 2017 marked the completion of the fourth funding cycle, in which four renewable energy projects in four developing countries were identified. The ADFD-IRENA Project Facility, currently generating about 100 megawatts of energy, continues to enhance hundreds of thousands of lives.
Furthermore, Masdar implements bilateral programmes on behalf of the UAE government. Notably, Masdar has recently completed eight solar plants in rural Mauritania, which power about 39,000 homes and save 27,850 tonnes of carbon emissions per year, as well as delivering 6.5 megawatts (MW) of solar and wind capacity across 11 Pacific countries, enabling savings of 3.2 million litres of diesel fuel annually.