Energy

Energy (179)

Innovation Paves Way For Next Stage Of Global Energy Transformation

Countries at the forefront of the energy transformation are getting more than a third of their energy from variable renewables like solar and wind, and they're doing it in a cost-effective manner.

By making use of innovative solutions that allow to integrate a higher share of renewables into power systems, innovation holds the key to a cost-effective global energy transformation.

These findings come from a first-of-a-kind mapping and analysis of innovations that will transform the power sector, launched by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) today in Brussels.

IRENA's Director-General Adnan Z. Amin presented the report in the presence of EU Energy and Climate Action Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete at an official launch event hosted by the European Commission.

The report "Innovation Landscape for a Renewable-Powered Future: solutions to integrate variable renewables" contains the most in-depth assessment of the power sector transformation to date.

It shows how synergies between different innovative solutions in business models, market design, enabling technologies and system operation are lowering the cost of integrating high shares of variable renewable energy (VRE), while making energy production, transmission and consumption more flexible and empowering a new generation of energy consumers.

Decarbonising the global power sector in line with the Paris Agreement objectives will require an 85% share of renewable energy in total electricity generation by 2050, IRENA's 2050 Roadmap estimates.

By then, variable renewables would account for 60% of the total power generated globally. Moving to a new phase where the massive but cost-effective scale-up of renewables power is crucial, the power sector transformation is strongly accelerated by innovation trends in digitalization, decentralization and electrification of the end-use sectors.

Understanding and learning from the experiences from leading countries in VRE integration is crucial to replicate and enhance innovation that can accelerate this transformation.

With close to 15% of VRE share in annual electricity generation today, the EU has the highest levels of variable renewables in power systems globally. "Europe has shown tremendous leadership in initiating the system-wide innovations needed to support the widespread adoption of renewables and

decarbonise the global economy", said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. "The region's success shows us that innovation is creating an energy transformation that is technically feasible and economically attractive. Innovation is the engine powering the energy transition and the global pace of innovation is accelerating.

IRENA's new report will provide a clear, navigable and comprehensive guide on innovations being piloted around the world, aiming to support informed decision-making by all countries to deploy low-cost renewables and accelerate the global energy transition further."

EU Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action Miguel Arias Cañete reiterated the importance of renewable energy in helping the region to meet its climate objectives, "The EU has already started the

modernisation and transformation towards a climate neutral economy. Implementing the EU's Clean Energy package will further boost innovation, and the EU can continue to show leadership and support the rest of the world by exporting innovative solutions in the fight against climate change.

Innovation is central to our efforts, and this report from IRENA is a valuable contribution to become the world's first major economy to go climate neutral by 2050."

The new report identifies 30 key innovations and 11 innovative solutions in development by pioneering companies and backed by far-sighted governments around the world.

By showcasing many examples of projects and pilots for the power sector transformation across the globe, it supports policy makers in adopting innovation frameworks built on the combination and synergies between innovative solutions.

As a unique toolbox it will help decision makers to rethink their power systems and implement solutions that account for specific national circumstances.

ENGIE Starts Operations 100 Mw Kathu Solar Plant

ENGIE announces that commercial operation was achieved on 30 January 2019 for the 100 MW Kathu Solar Park in South Africa. This state of the art plant is a greenfield Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project with parabolic trough technology and equipped with a molten salt storage system that allows for 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage to provide reliable electricity in the absence of solar radiation and during peak demand. The Kathu site covers approximately 4.5 km², with 384,000 mirrors. Kathu is the first CSP development for ENGIE.

The solar park was awarded under Round 3.5 of South Africa's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPP), a competitive tender process that was launched to facilitate private sector investment in renewable energy generation. Kathu Solar Park signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) pursuant to the REIPPP procurement programme with the off-taker/buyer.

Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE : "The completion of Kathu shows our continued commitment to an economic and environmentally friendly development in South Africa. Kathu with its molten salt storage design offers a clean solution to overcome the intermittency of renewable energies. We are proud to contribute to the country's renewable energy goals, and look forward to continuing the projects initiated with local communities making Kathu a genuine driver of regional economic development."

Kathu will provide clean and reliable energy to 179 000 homes in the local community of the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality, the Northern Cape and South Africa as a whole. In addition to this, it is estimated that the Kathu Solar Park will save six million tons of CO2 over 20 years, and will foster further local economic development through several projects, such as the trust for the benefit of the communities situated in the Northern Cape and sourcing of services from local entrepreneurs.

The KSP shareholders, which are led by ENGIE (48.5%), include a group of South African investors comprising SIOC Community Development Trust, Investec Bank, Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital Fund, and its co-investors FMO, the Dutch development bank and DEG, the German investment and development company, and the Public Investment Corporation. The main contractor (EPC) is Liciastar– a Spanish consortium of SENER and Acciona in addition to the Kelebogile Trust.

In South Africa, ENGIE has interests in a wind farm (94 MW Aurora), 2 solar photovoltaic parks (21 MW) and 2 thermal power peaking plants (670 MW Avon and 335 MW Dedisa).  ENGIE also owns Thermaire Investments (Pty) Ltd. and Ampair (Pty) Ltd., leaders in the HVAC installation and maintenance segment in the South African market

Eskom Cannot Be Given A New Licence To Kill

Greenpeace Africa has submitted comments to Naledzi Environmental Consultants opposing Eskom's application for postponements and suspensions from complying with South Africa's Minimum Emission Standards (MES).

The MES, which are relatively weak, are designed to improve air quality in the country, but this has been significantly compromised by Eskom's almost complete reliance on coal for electricity production and repeated requests for postponements from complying. 

"Greenpeace Africa is vehemently opposed to Eskom's application for further postponements and/or suspensions from air quality legislation. In the interests of realising our constitutional right to a healthy environment, absolutely no further postponements should be given to Eskom (or, indeed, any other entity).

"Eskom should either comply with the MES or its coal-fired power stations must be retired (at an accelerated pace) because thousands of people's lives are on the line," said Melita Steele, Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager for Greenpeace Africa.

Eskom was granted a five-year postponement from compliance in 2015, and the embattled utility is now applying for yet another set of postponements and, in some cases, complete suspensions from complying.

"While we acknowledge that Eskom is in crisis, we can no longer ignore the deadly impacts of Eskom's dirty fleet of coal-fired power stations. It is unacceptable that in Eskom's application, the utility is significantly downplaying the health impacts and premature deaths from their coal-fired power stations.

"Eskom consistently ignores international research standards and uses outdated research, unacceptable timelines and highly exaggerated cost assumptions for retrofitting pollution abatement technology. According to international best practice, compliance with the MES is absolutely possible ; Eskom is simply choosing instead to seek out a new licence to kill," continued Steele.

Air pollution, with its devastating impacts on human health and well-being, remains a critical problem in South Africa. This is particularly worrying in areas such as the Highveld, where air quality remains poor or has further deteriorated from "potentially poor" to "poor" and is out of compliance with air quality legislation. Mpumalanga province in South Africa is the largest NO2 air pollution hotspot in the World, as new satellite data assessed by Greenpeace showed for the period of 1 June to 31 August 2018.

To date, Eskom's levels of compliance have been abysmal. Between April 2016 and December 2017, Eskom's seventeen coal-fired power stations reported nearly 3,200 exceedances of their daily Atmospheric Emissions Licenses limits for particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and oxides of nitrogen. Eskom's 'Emission Reduction Plan' would allow the company to operate its entire existing fleet without even rudimentary controls for two of the most dangerous pollutants emitted from coal-fired power plants, sulphur dioxide and mercury.

"As far as Greenpeace Africa is concerned, no further postponements or suspensions can legally be granted to the utility by the National Air Quality Officer and Eskom's application should be dismissed. We take this position given the air pollution crisis in Mpumalanga, the length of time that Eskom has had available in which to prepare to comply, the flawed application, and the thousands of premature deaths that will be caused if Eskom does not comply.

"Eskom has presented no evidence in this application or otherwise that indicates its commitment to decommissioning, which makes suspensions from complying an impossible choice. We call on Eskom to abandon its renewed  attempt to avoid complying with air quality legislation that has been put in place to protect people's health," ended Steele.

Hanergy To Set Up Solar Power Industrial Park In Middle East

The world's largest thin-film solar power solution company, Hanergy Thin Film Power Group has signed an MOU investment cooperation agreement with Ajlan & Bros in launching the first solar thin-film industrial park in the Middle East region. The total investment of the project will be over one billion dollars.

The agreement was signed at the launch event of Saudi Arabia National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP), which is one of the 12 programs initiated as part of Saudi Vision 2030, focusing on transforming Saudi Arabia into an industrial powerhouse and a global leader in logistical services by fueling up the growth in four key sectors: Industry, Mining, Energy and Logistics.

Under the aegis of the agreement that was signed by Mr. Wei Qiang, President of Hanergy Saudi Arabia Country Company, and Mr. Mohamed Al Ajlan, Deputy Board Chairman of Ajlan & Bros Holding Group Company, the two companies will collaborate to develop renewable energy manufacturing facilities in Saudi Arabia and conjointly seek relevant investment opportunities.

"We are excited to collaborate with Hanergy. Thin-film power is a promising market, especially in Saudi Arabia. The renewable energy facilities are bound to reform the landscape of the country's energy industry and help us achieve our goals in the 2030 vision", said Mr. Mohamed Al Ajlan.

As the only Chinese renewable energy company invited to attend the launch event, Hanergy has anchored its roots in Saudi Arabia market with its cutting-edge technologies and innovative products, while Ajlan & Bros Holding Group Company is one of the leading international companies in the country and Arabian Gulf area, investing in multiple industries like real estate and fashion.

Commenting on the collaboration, Mr. Wei Qiang, says, "At Hanergy we've accorded priority to Saudi Arabia as one of the key strategic markets for our business globally. We realise the potential of renewable energy in Saudi Arabia and have set out an organized and specific road map to diversify our business in the country while supporting the advancement of renewable energy and fulfil the Kingdom's commitments to reducing carbon dioxide emissions."

"The collaboration with Ajlan & Bros could be a turning point for both Hanergy and solar industry of Saudi Arabia," he added.

The collaboration is also welcomed by Mr. Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, who also attended the signing ceremony.

Minister Al-Falih encourages Hanergy to localize its products and production lines in Saudi Arabia, contributing to the country's sustainable new energy plan.

With this collaboration, Hanergy marks yet another breakthrough in the Middle East market. With the great market potential to be explored in Saudi Arabia and Hanergy's accumulated technological advantages, as well as the right partner with mutual interest and rich resources, the collaboration seems well in place to firm Hanergy's foothold in the Middle East Market and transform the landscape of solar industry of Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been endeavoring to reduce its dependence on oil and going through a major transition towards more diversified and sustainable energy resources since the beginning of this decade.

In 2011, oil was the source of over 50% electricity in the country and there was only 0.003 gigawatts of solar power capacity installed nationwide. It was then announced by the government that Saudi Arabia would develop 41 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2032. The launch of National Industrial Development and Logistics Program is to help achieve this goal.

Albertine Graben Should Transit To Clean And Affordable Sustainable Renewable Energy

According to MEMD, less than 20.6% of the rural and 55% of the urban population have electricity services (MEMD, 2015). Thus, majority of households depend on traditional biomass as a fuel source for primary energy demand.

Traditional biomass consists of fuel wood, charcoal, tree leaves, animal dung and agricultural residues burnt for residential use. It is unclean and inefficient and has negative health, gender and environmental consequences.

The high rates of deforestation in Uganda are partly attributed to charcoal burning and wood fuel, since forests supply well over 90 percent of Uganda’s energy requirements in form of fuel wood (MWE, 2016).  With the oil and gas activities within the Albertine region which will adversely affect the environment like on Bugoma forest, Murchison landscape, Kabwoya and Bugungu wildlife reserves thus  the ecosystem and bio diversity must be well protected. 

In the Vision 2040, government targets to increase electricity per capita consumption to 3,668kWh by 2040 by increasing national grid access rate to 80 percent with total installed generation capacity reaching to 41,738MW. 

Whereas, in the National Development Plans II (2015/16 –2019/20) government targets to increase power generation capacity from 825MW in 2012 to 2,500MW by 2020 through investment in renewable energy sources including hydropower and geothermal (Republic of Uganda, 2015). 

Under the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Action Agenda which was launched by the United Nations (UN) Secretary General in September 2010, Uganda targets to double the share of renewable energy in the energy mix by 2030 (Republic of Uganda, 2015). 

To achieve those targets key stakeholders in the country should ensure renewable energy use and investing in solar, geothermal, biogas, efficient biomass systems and other alternatives which are clean and affordable for communities in the Albertine Graben to host oil and gas activities. 

Low demand and high cost of electricity has led to low power consumption and limited capacity of Ugandans to pay for electricity, most people cannot afford the costs of connection to the grid and later on pay for the electricity despite programs such as rural electrification. 

MEMD should develop and implement off-grid policy to facilitate the mainstreaming of off-grid systems and institutional solutions in the National Energy Policy and also invest in action research, targeted awareness and policy dialogues.

CSO’s and other key stakeholders should advocate more for sustainable, clean and affordable renewable energy to the benefit of women, men and youth through adopting effective strategies and practices that support renewable energy access in Albertine Graben.

Financial institutions providing of soft loans to customers and other local income sources such as energy cooperatives & village savings loans associations to financing clean energy products will help transiting to clean energy. With this our communities will be well protected from other adverse effects of oil exploration as well as aiming at achieving sustainable development goal 7 and 15.

Compiled by Sandra Atusinguza

AFIEGO field officer.

Renewable Energy Most Competitive Source of New Power Generation

Renewable energy is the most competitive form of power generation in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, according to a new report published today by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Abundant resources, together with strong enabling frameworks have led to solar PV prices of below 3 cents per kilowatt hour and dispatchable concentrated solar power (CSP) of 7.3 cents per kilowatt hour, which is less than some utilities in the region pay for natural gas. 

IRENA's new 'Renewable Energy Market Analysis: GCC 2019' launched during Abu Dhabi Sustainabilty Week, says achieving stated 2030 targets can bring significant economic benefits to the region including the creation of more than 220 000 new jobs whilst saving over 354 million barrels of oil equivalent (MBOE) in regional power sectors.

The targets could reduce the power sector's carbon dioxide emissions by 136 million tonnes (22 per cent reduction), while cutting water withdrawals in the power sector by 11.5 trillion litres (17 per cent reduction) in 2020. 

The findings come as GCC economies seek to diversify their economies against the backdrop of fast-growing domestic energy demand and a desire to safeguard hydrocarbon export revenues for the future. 

"The GCC is among the most attractive regions in the world to develop large-scale solar and wind energy projects as a result of resource abundance and a favourable policy environment, a fact that is backed up by record low prices," said IRENA Director-General, Adnan Z. Amin.

"As a fossil-fuel exporting region, the GCC's decisive move towards a renewable energy future is a signal to global investors and to the energy community that we are experiencing a step-change in global energy dynamics and a true energy transformation."  

"The UAE's commitment to diversifying the energy mix is central to our long-term economic growth and sustainable development objectives," said H.E. Suhail Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy. "IRENA's GCC analysis provides further evidence of the strong socio-economic case for renewable energy deployment, from job creation to emission reductions.

As we look to add generation capacity to serve growing populations and expanding economies, renewables will increasingly serve as central pillar of low-carbon development." 

At the end of 2017, the region had some 146 GW of installed power capacity, of which renewable energy accounted for 867 megawatts. Around 68 per cent this capacity was in the UAE. This represents a four-fold increase on capacity in 2014. Following the UAE are Saudi Arabia with 16 per cent and Kuwait with nine per cent of regional capacity.  

With renewable energy targets now in place across the region, the GCC is poised for a significant acceleration in renewables deployment as countries pursue national goals. Under current plans, the region  will install a total of almost 7 gigawatts (GW) new power generation capacity from renewable sources by the early 2020s. 

Solar PV dominates the region's renewables outlook, accounting for three-quarters of the regional project pipeline, CSP and wind accout for 10 per cent and nine per cent respectively. Solar-assisted enhanced oil recovery in Oman is also expected to contribute about 1 gigawatt-thermal (GWth) in 2019. 

Proactive policies are central to accelerating renewable energy deployment, per the report, suggesting that lessons can be drawn from the GCC countries where substantial inroads have been made thanks to firm government commitments and credible, time-bound targets with a clear focus on a supportive business environment for investments.

 

Francesco La Camera Appointed As New IRENA Director-General

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly selected Francesco La Camera to be the next Director-General of IRENA. The appointment took place during the 9th Assembly of IRENA, the ultimate decision-making body of the agency. Mr. La Camera will take office on 4 April 2019, succeeding Adnan Z. Amin, who has been IRENA Director-General since 2011.

Francesco La Camera currently serves as the Director General for Sustainable Development, Energy and Climate at the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land & Sea. Mr. La Camera led the EU and Italian negotiation teams at the climate COP 20 in Lima and was the head of the Italian delegation to the three previous COPs.

He has represented Italy in many international forums including at the EU, UNECE, UNCSD, UN Environment, and the OECD. From 2003 to 2010 he was also Professor of Environmental and Land Economics at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Rome Tre. Mr. La Camera has a degree in political science from the University of Messina.

Mr. La Camera is elected for a term of four years. After assuming office as Director-General, he will lead the IRENA Secretariat and the implementation of the Agency's work programme and budget.

With a membership approaching near-universality, IRENA serves as the principal platform for international cooperation on renewable energy, providing a centre of excellence for knowledge and innovation which supports countries world-wide in their transition to a sustainable energy future.

Abu Dhabi Fund Approves Projects Worth $31m Through IRENA/ADFD Project Facility

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) today announced the selection of renewable energy projects in Guyana, Liberia and Togo for funding by ADFD,  as part of the sixth cycle of the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility.

With ADFD committing US$350 million over seven funding cycles to the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility since 2013, today's announcement, during the Ninth Session of the IRENA Assembly, brings cumulative funding to date to US$245 million. The Facility helps developing countries access low-cost capital for renewable energy projects to increase energy access, improve livelihoods and advance sustainable development.

"The projects selected this year will contribute towards meeting national energy access targets and will transform lives for the better," said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. "They will take advantage of cost-effective renewable energy to help reduce poverty, enable income-generating activities, and provide electricity to healthcare facilities and educational institutions, which will create jobs, empower women, and strengthen local communities."

For his part, His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, said: "We are proud of our result-oriented Facility that has supported replicable, scalable and potentially transformative renewable energy projects set to benefit communities and improve their living conditions.

Today, at the Ninth Session of the IRENA Assembly, we are pleased to have selected truly impactful projects valued at US$31 million for the sixth cycle of financing awarded by the Facility. Taking into account this cycle's recipients, our cumulative expenditure to date is US$245 million, and we look forward to allocating the remaining US$105 million to awardees of the seventh cycle."

In Guyana, a project will receive a loan of US$8 million to install 5.2 megawatt (MW) grid-connected solar PV systems in the hinterland regions to reduce fossil fuel consumption and increase the reliability of electricity supply. An estimated 34,700 people in the target areas will benefit and around 120 direct and indirect jobs are set to be created throughout the project lifecycle.

In Liberia, the loan of US$8 million will contribute to the construction of a 2.1 MW run-of-river hydropower plant on the Gee River. The project will benefit over 30,000 people through providing a clean, reliable and affordable source of energy to households, schools, health facilities and small businesses, enhancing living conditions and helping to reduce poverty.

In Togo, a 30 MW grid-connected solar PV plant will be constructed with the investment of a US$15 million loan. The project aims to bring clean, reliable power to around 700,000 households and small businesses and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 9,242 tonnes/year. Local communities will benefit from greater access to drinking water, education and healthcare as well as job creation that prioritises women.

Since the first cycle selection of projects in 2014, ADFD funding has been allocated to 24 renewable energy projects across the world, covering up to 50 per cent of the total project costs. They will bring more than 157 megawatts of renewable energy capacity online and create electricity access for over seven million people, significantly improving their livelihoods. Spanning Asia, Africa, Latin America and Small Island Developing States, the projects encompass a broad spectrum of renewable energy sources – wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass – and technologies.

Funding is available for sustainable development projects that are backed by a government guarantee. The seventh cycle is open for summary applications until 17:00 GST on 14 February, 2019.

IRENA Launches Geopolitics Of Energy Transformation Report

By Malise Otoo, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

A blueprint report about the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation has been launched by the International Renewable Energy Agency at the sidelines of the 9th Assembly Meeting in Abu Dhabi.

Speaking during the report launch, Mr. Olafur Grimsson, former President of Iceland observed that with the situation regarding the geopolitics of Energy with the US for example, the situation may be different. He said,” with respect to the US, it is more complicated and balance situation.”

And rightly so this can be expected partly because of the position of US President Donald Trump, especially on Climate change. Therefore this report couldn’t have been launched at a more better time than IRENAs Assembly meeting especially looking at the complexities of the issues and the fact the world now more than ever is looking for cheaper, alternative and sustainable source of power which is clearly becoming Renewable Energy.

The UN SDG7 states emphatically that by 2030, the world must ensure access to affordable, reliable and modern energy for all. This IRENA is championing in almost 180 countries around the world.

Again, Mr. Grimsson explains that the report re-ensures that the emergence of the new world is a reality. ”Everything we have been hearing about energy security has been talked a lot about people who talk about the price of oil”, he says.

“What’s happening in Singapore, how is OPEC going to respond, what are the producers going to do. Well, we believe that discussion is going to change fundamentally as Energy begins to evolve rapidly in the direction driven by technology, not by resources, it’s going to alter. Now there are a number of possibilities sketched out by the commission but I think that’s a fundamental issue that we are going to look at is how we must act.”

”Second is that we going to see new leaders emerge. At the moment we have energy leaders who are able to combine natural resources endowment with technology and able to infuse oil and gas, coal for mining.” He stressed.

He thinks there will be a diffusion of power from a period of resource-scarce, to a period of resource abundance.

Mr. Adnan Amin, Director-General, IRENA sets the question of political risk that could come up by saying, ”unless you have the responsibility for the change you have before you, you going to be in trouble”. He restated that the world is not facing an industrial risk.

Carlos Lopez, former Head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), thinks that in his view there will be a lot of energy in energy independence. There is a reform appetite in Africa right now and renewable energy is going to produce a lot of independence.

The Global Commission on the Geopolitics in of the Energy Transformation was established as an independent initiative by IRENA in January 2018 during its 8th Assembly.  

Huge Desert Solar Initiative To Make Africa A Renewables Power-House

The details of the "Desert to Power Initiative" have been outlined as part of the Paris Agreement climate change talks at COP24 in Katowice, Poland this week. Energy poverty in Africa is estimated to cost the continent 2-4 % GDP annually, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is leading the project.

The Initiative aims to develop and provide 10 GW of solar energy by 2025 and supply 250 million people with green electricity including in some of the world's poorest countries. At least 90 million people will be connected to electricity for the first time, lifting them out of energy poverty.

Currently, 64% of the Sahel's population - covering Senegal, Nigeria, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Sudan, and Eritrea - lives without electricity, a major barrier to development, with consequences for education, health and business.

By harnessing the exceptional solar resource in the region, AfDB and its partners hope to transform the region.

Magdalena J. Seol in the AfDB's Desert to Power Initiative said: "Energy is the foundation of human living - our entire system depends on it. For Africa right now, providing and securing sustainable energy is in the backbone of its economic growth."  "A lack of energy remains as a significant impediment to Africa's economic and social development."

The project will provide many benefits to local people, said Ms Seol: It will improve the affordability of electricity for low income households and enable people to transition away from unsafe and hazardous energy sources, such as kerosene, which carry health risks.

Construction of the  project will also create jobs and help attract private sector involvement in renewable energy in the region.  Many women-led businesses currently face bigger barriers than men-led enterprises to accessing grid electricity - so the project has the potential to increase female participation in economic activities and decision-making processes.

The project has been launched in collaboration with the Green Climate Fund, a global pot of money created by the 194 countries who are party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to support developing countries adapt to and mitigate climate change. The program is designed to combine private sector capital with blended finance.

"If you look at the countries that this initiative supports, they're the ones who are very much affected by the climate change and carbon emissions from other parts of the world," said Ms Seol.

"Given this, the investments will have a greater effect in these regions, which have a greater demand and market opportunity in the energy sector."

"Women are usually disproportionately negatively affected by energy access issues. Providing a secure and sustainable electricity creates positive impact on gender issue as well."

The African continent holds 15% of the world's population, yet is poised to shoulder nearly 50% of the estimated global climate change adaptation costs, according to the Bank.

These costs are expected to cut across health, water supply, agriculture, and forestry, despite the continent's minimal contribution to global emissions.

However, the International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that Africa's renewable energy potential could put it at the forefront of green energy production globally.

It is estimated to have an almost unlimited potential of solar capacity (10 TW), abundant hydro (350 GW), wind (110 GW), and geothermal energy sources (15 GW) - and a potential overall renewable energy capacity of 310 GW by 2030.

Other renewables projects in Africa include The Ouarzazate solar complex in Morocco, which is one of the largest concentrated solar plants in the world.

It has produced over 814 GWh of clean energy since 2016 and last year, the solar plant prevented 217,000 tons of CO2 being emitted. Until recently, Morocco sourced 95% of its energy needs from external sources

In South Africa, the Bank and its partner, the Climate Investment Fund, have helped fund the Sere Wind Farm -  46 turbines supplying 100 MW to the national power grid and expected to save 6 million tonnes of greenhouse gases over its 20 year expected life span. It is supplying 124,000 homes.

COP24 is the 24th conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This year countries are preparing to implement the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit the world's global warming to no more than 2C.

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