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UAE launches Caribbean renewable energy fund

by Jody Barhanovich

The United Arab Emirates has launched UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund, according to an announcement made at the General Assembly meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency.

UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund is seeking to raise $50 million for renewable energy projects in Caribbean island countries. Funding for the renewable energy vehicle will be provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs managing the initiative, and Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, leading implementation.

The new fund will seek to conclude project agreements with several countries per year. Designed for flexibility, it can support renewable energy projects as both a minority or full financier, as well as engage with both the public and private sectors. With Masdar as the technical lead, all sources of renewable energy can be considered, including solar, wind, geothermal and waste-to-energy.

“The Caribbean offers one of the most compelling business cases for renewable energy in the world, and a public finance push can be a critical factor in driving action,” says Ali Al Shafar, the UAE’s permanent representative to IRENA. “Renewable energy has been a powerful relationship-builder for the UAE, and we look forward to partnering with Caribbean countries on this common interest that can in turn lead to new opportunities.”

The announcement of the fund launch brings UAE development assistance for renewable energy to almost $1 billion since 2013.

Launched by Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation, the UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund represents one of the largest-ever single investments in the region’s clean energy sector, as well as a significant deepening of bilateral relationships between the UAE and Caribbean countries.

A number of Caribbean countries have appointed ambassadors to the UAE in the last year to develop trade and investment links, as well as prepare for the 2020 World Expo in Dubai. For the first time in the Expo’s history, each country will be enabled to host its own pavilion, allowing Caribbean participants to showcase projects and plans to potential partners from across the globe.

Recent projects implemented by Masdar include eight solar plants in rural Mauritania, which power about 39,000 homes and save 27,850 tons of carbon emissions per year, and the provision of 6.5 megawatts of capacity across 11 Pacific Islands, enabling the saving of 3.2 million liters of diesel fuel annually.

During the Seventh Session of the IRENA Assembly, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, in collaboration with IRENA, announced it will fund four renewable energy projects within the fourth funding cycle. Projects produce about 32 megawatts of renewable energy, worth AED 163.4 million ($44.5 million) in four countries: the Seychelles, Marshall Islands, Niger and the Solomon Islands.

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