Nigeria, others invited to bid in $50m renewable energy fund

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Nigeria and other developing countries have been invited by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) to put in request for funding of renewable energy projects that could improve access to electricity of their citizens.

IRENA and ADFD said the fifth round of funding for renewable energy projects in developing countries under ADFD’s $350 million (AED 1.285 billion) financial commitment to renewable energy projects in developing countries has officially opened and application window will last until 15 February, 2017 while successful bidders will be announced in January 2018.

Both agencies said the fifth funding round will give out approximately $50 million concessional loans to execute renewable energy projects that are endorsed by IRENA.

A statement in this regard said since 2012, the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility has enabled $333 million in loans to 15 renewable energy projects in 14 developing countries.

Selected projects, it noted have included off-grid, mini-grid and on-grid projects using wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal and biomass sources. It added that more than 68 megawatts of renewable energy capacity will be brought online from the first three cycles, improving the livelihoods of 760,000 people.

“Many developing countries are blessed with abundant renewable energy resources, yet access to financing can still hinder development,” said IRENA Director-General, Adnan Amin.

He further explained: “IRENA’s partnership with ADFD helps overcome this challenge by offering concessional loans to quality renewable energy projects in developing countries, which then leverage additional investment.

“Funding from the Facility helps boost renewable energy deployment and trigger economic growth, offering sustainable and affordable energy to people with limited or no access to electricity.”

The statement also quoted the Director-General of ADFD, Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi to have said that: “The IRENA/ADFD Project Facility is a pioneering partnership that supports the developing world’s energy needs by tapping into their abundant renewable energy sources.”

He explained that: “Selected projects have the potential to improve the livelihoods of millions of people by facilitating sustainable economic growth, bolstering energy security and expanding energy access.”

According to him: “This collaboration with IRENA exemplifies our core business of partnerships and alliances to drive advancements in all key economy sectors, especially the renewable energy sector, which will guarantee a long-term, sustainable and environmentally conscious future.

“At ADFD, our aim is to provide governments with the financial resources and instruments to achieve their desired development goals and ensure a secure future for their citizens.”

Through the Facility, ADFD provides concessional loans ranging from $5 to $25 million per project at 1 to 2 per cent lending rates with a 20-year loan period, including a 5-year grace period.

Also, loans for each project cover up to half of the estimated project cost so additional co-financing must be acquired from other sources.

To help facilitate additional sources of funding, project developers can also register and seek financing sources from IRENA’s Sustainable Energy Marketplace.

However, only projects located in IRENA Member States, Signatories of the Statute, or States in Accession are eligible to apply.

Applications are also evaluated by an international panel of experts who review the projects based on technical feasibility, economic/commercial viability and socio-economic and environmental benefits.

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