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AfDB’s Facility for Energy Inclusion attracts $160m in commitments for small-scale renewables

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The African Development Bank, the European Commission, KfW, the Clean Technology Fund, Norfund, and other investors have committed nearly $160 million to the first close of the Facility for Energy Inclusion or FEI.

FEI is a targeted $400 million fund to improve energy access across Africa through small-scale renewable energy and mini-grid projects. Spearheaded by the African Development Bank, FEI serves as a financing platform to catalyze financial support for innovative energy access solutions. The Bank, as the Facility’s anchor sponsor, has put up $90 million in financing. That sum includes $20 million that the Bank is providing in its capacity as the implementing agency of the Clean Technology Fund.

“After three years of hard work, we are pleased to see the second and larger piece of our energy access debt funding platform FEI up and running on the back of very significant commitments from our partners. We look forward to seeing FEI catalyze financing for new energy sector business models and accelerate our efforts to electrify Africa,” said Wale Shonibare, African Development Bank Acting Vice-President of Power, Energy, Climate & Green Growth.

In addition to the Bank’s commitment, the European Commission committed €25 million to the Fund, the Norwegian Investment Fund — also known as Norfund — committed $23 million, and German Development Bank KfW committed €25 million. FEI will also include a $10 million Project Preparation Facility (PPF) from the Global Environment Facility that will provide reimbursable grants for transaction advisory to facilitate financial close.

“Norfund is pleased to participate in this new facility which makes debt financing available to smaller scale renewable power projects in Africa. We anticipate that the facility will be successful in attracting private capital to this segment of the market”, says Mark Davis, Executive Vice President, Clean Energy at Norfund.

“With our investment in this flagship fund, KfW on behalf of the German Government emphasizes its commitment to work with other development finance institutions to improve access to clean energy in Africa. Our junior equity investment aims at mobilizing public equity and private debt investors to scale up the financial means available for innovative renewable energy projects like new mini-grids to electrify Africa” said Babette Stein von Kamienski, Head of Division Infrastructure, Southern Africa at KfW.

The Facility supports small-scale Independent Power Producers (IPPs) delivering power to the grid, mini-grids and captive power projects. Projects in sub-Saharan African countries where electricity access rates are comparatively lower receive priority. Other eligibility criteria include the requirement to use renewable energy technology, to have capital expenditure of less than $30 million and generation capacity below 25MW. Initial pipeline projects have been identified in Burundi, Cape Verde, Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique.

FEI is managed by LHGP Asset Management, part of Lion’s Head Group, a fund manager focused on bringing innovative financial solutions to emerging markets and selected through an international competitive process. “As Fund Manager, we are excited that the limited partners have given us a flexible mandate to provide tailored financing solutions to this exciting industry which has the potential to make green growth a reality in Africa. By focusing on smaller renewable energy producers, FEI will contribute to the electrification of Africa, in particular in more remote and traditionally neglected parts of the continent,” says Clemens Calice, Co-CEO of LHGP Asset Management, the Fund Manager of FEI.

The Facility’s first close was reached on 3 December 2019.

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IEA Clean Energy Transitions Summit

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Ministers from countries representing the vast majority of global GDP, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions will take part in the International Energy Agency’s Clean Energy Transitions Summit on Thursday 9 July, gathering around a virtual table to discuss measures to boost economies, create jobs, reduce global emissions and make energy systems more resilient.

Ministers in attendance will represent almost 80% of global energy consumption and carbon emissions, making the Summit the highest-profile energy and climate discussion since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. They will include representatives of the world’s largest energy users: Minister Zhang Jianhua of China, Secretary Dan Brouillette of the United States, Minister R.K. Singh of India, Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans of the European Commission, and Minister Kajiyama Hiroshi of Japan.

Among the high-level participants will be António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Alok Sharma, Secretary of State of the United Kingdom and President of the upcoming COP26, as well as Ministers representing the countries that held the past two COP meetings. They will be joined by the President of the Asian Development Bank, the President of the World Economic Forum (Davos), CEOs from across the energy sector, major investors, and representatives from civil society.

“The IEA Clean Energy Transitions Summit represents the key moment in 2020 to build momentum towards international energy and climate goals,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “Rather than letting the Covid-19 crisis undermine our clean energy transitions, we need to take advantage of the massive economic recovery plans to achieve a definitive peak in carbon emissions and put the world on path to sustainable recovery.”

In addition to two plenary sessions, the Summit will consist of high-level panels. These will focus on Accelerating Clean Energy Technology Innovation, co-chaired by Tina Bru, Minister of Petroleum and Energy of Norway, and Juan Carlos Jobet, Minister of Energy of Chile; An Inclusive and Equitable Recovery, co-chaired by Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resources of Canada, and Aziz Rabbah, Minister of Energy, Mines and Environment of Morocco; and A Resilient and Sustainable Electricity Sector, co-chaired by Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy, and Sontirat Sontijirawong, Minister of Energy of Thailand.

The IEA first announced plans to convene the Clean Energy Transitions Summit during its Ministerial Meeting in December – before Covid-19 became a global health emergency. As the pandemic escalated, the IEA led the calls worldwide for governments to put clean energy at the heart of their economic recovery plans in order to avoid the kind of sharp rebound in emissions that followed the 2008-2009 crisis. The IEA quickly refocused its work to analyse the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the energy world, conducting in-depth assessments across fuels, technologies and emissions trends – and developing policy advice for governments to help them respond.

In the lead-up to the Summit, the IEA brought together numerous Ministers and other international decision-makers from industry, the investment community and civil society to address immediate energy issues arising from the crisis. These Ministerial-level meetings included Economic Recovery through Investments in Clean Energy (April); Mobilizing Investments for Secure and Sustainable Power Systems (May); the Fifth Annual Global Energy Efficiency Conference (June); and the Africa Energy Ministerial on Covid-19 Impacts (June). Ministers from Denmark, the United Kingdom and Senegal, who co-chaired these three events with Dr Birol, will each share the main outcomes of these roundtables.

The high-level discussions at the Summit, which the public can watch live online, will draw on key IEA reports, most notably the Sustainable Recovery Plan and the Special Report on Clean Energy Innovation. Together, those two reports provide both near-term and longer-term strategies for improving economic development and meeting energy and climate goals.

You can watch the sessions on our livestreams here, and follow the conversation around the event on social media via the hashtag #IEASummit.

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The Gambia: World Bank to Strengthen Access to Energy and Water

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The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a $43 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA)* for The Gambia’s Electricity Restoration and Modernisation Project (GERMP). The additional financing was made available through reallocation of IDA18 balance, thus augmenting the Banks initial funding envelope for The Gambia by 20 percent.

The people of The Gambia face many challenges in terms of access to electricity and water. Nearly 50% have still no access to electricity, and in urban areas, about 69 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water. Further, the quality of services is weak due to frequent service outages, with some neighbourhoods not receiving water for days, weeks or even months at a time. While the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) has made significant improvements in its operational and financial performance in recent years, the utility has yet to achieve financial viability. Customers still face erratic supply of water and electricity, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This support will build on the ongoing efforts of the government to strengthen the electricity and water sectors, and further boost the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic through communications and targeted investments including hand washing facilities in the Greater Banjul Area,” said Elene Imnadze, World Bank Resident Representative.

The additional financing will further strengthen NAWEC’s transmission and distribution network, provide additional support to transform NAWEC into an efficient and credit-worthy utility, and expand the scope of the project to the water sector. Specifically, more than 1.6 million people will have gained or improved access to electricity; 17 km of transmission lines will be constructed or rehabilitated; 20 grid-connected photovoltaic system with storage will be installed; 20,000 water meters will be installed or replaced; and three water storage tanks will be repaired.

“This additional grant comes at an important moment in the reform process underway. We have already seen significant improvements in NAWEC’s performance. Additional resources will help to solidify these gains,” said Chris Trimble, Task Team Leader and Senior Energy Specialist, World Bank.

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ADB Approves $200 Million Loan to Modernize Power Supply, Distribution System in Nepal

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $200 million concessional loan to improve power supply and distribution systems in Nepal.

Nepal has made significant progress in electricity supply after years of chronic power shortages. However, its power transmission and distribution systems need further strengthening to increase network capacity, improve quality and reliability, and remove delays between generation hubs and load centers.

The project will finance, among others, the reinforcement and modernization of the power supply system in Kathmandu Valley, Bharatpur metropolitan area of Chitwan district in Bagmati Province and Pokhara of Kaski district in Gandaki Province, where supply interruptions are frequent and prolonged. The project also aims to support Province 2, where the quality of electricity supply is poor and about 20% of households are still without access to the national grid.

“The project will help sustain Nepal’s improved electricity supply momentum over the past two years. This will facilitate meeting future demand from commercial and industrial activities as well as from communities, particularly women, who can now benefit from electricity-based enterprises and focus on productive economic and social activities,” said ADB Principal Energy Specialist Jiwan Acharya. “It is also very timely because the project will create employment opportunities for skilled and unskilled labor during the construction phase as the country adopts measures to mitigate the socioeconomic impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.”

Complementing ADB’s loan, the Government of Norway is providing a $35 million cofinancing grant for the installation and upgrading of power distribution networks in Province 2 and various substations to evacuate hydropower in the country. In addition, it is providing a $5 million technical assistance grant for capacity development of the Nepal Electricity Authority to ensure that gender equality and social inclusion are strengthened, and new technologies are used to make electricity infrastructure resilient.

The project is aligned with the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation program on intraregional power trade through cross-border power exchange. The upgrading of substations in Khimti, Barhabise, and Lapsiphedi to 400 kilovolts will facilitate cross-border power exchange with India.

ADB and other development partners have been engaged in Nepal’s power system reform efforts, including the approval of the Nepal Electricity Regulatory Commission Act of 2017, which created the Electricity Regulatory Commission as an independent regulatory body with respect to tariff-setting and consumer protection.

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